WBA junior middleweight contender Austin Trout is doing more of everything in advance of his clash with Miguel Cotto, whom he will face in a Showtime-televised bout on Dec. 1 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
A 27-year-old resident of of Las Cruces, New Mexico, Trout (25-0, 14 knockouts) is training in the high elevation of Ruidoso, N.M.
“I haven’t changed anything, it’s just a more intense camp. I’m expecting a hard 12 rounds in an intense fight. Cardio is very important, because I’ve never known him to show up unprepared,” said Trout, in a prepared statement.
“He’s still a very hungry fighter, and I’m flattered he chose me as his opponent. That shows how hungry he still is, so I’m upping everything that I normally do. We had to acclimate to the high altitude, but now we’re continuing to work harder than ever.”
A resident of Cuagas, Puerto Rico, who turned 32 last month, three-division titlewinner Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) is coming off a unanimous-decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., who added Cotto’s WBA junior middleweight to his WBC welterweight title in May.
The loss to Mayweather ended a winning streak of three straight knockouts by Cotto, whose previous loss had by 12th-round stoppage against Manny Pacquiao in November of 2009.
Rather than take a rematch with Pacquiao, Cotto elected to challenge Trout, who is coming off a unanimous decision over Delvin Rodriguez in June that followed a Showtime-televised sixth-round stoppage of Frank LoPorto last November.
Cotto is 7-0 with four knockouts at Madison Square Garden, where he knocked out Antonio Margarito in the 10th round in December of last year to avenge the first loss of his career, an 11th-round knockout in July of 2008.
He is also 9-0 with five stoppage wins overall in New York, and has decisioned former world titleholders Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey and Paulie Malignaggi, and knocked out Zab Judah, all at The Garden.
“I’ve got a pretty good bead on how he fights, and I know my jab will be a problem for him,” said Trout of Cotto, who will be in his third fight under trainer Pedro Diaz. “But I will have to put a lot of leather on him. He’s a warrior that comes to fight, but I’ve seen fighters like him before.”
“I know what I have to do. I’m looking at this as my golden opportunity. He’s had his time and done great things with it, but it’s my time now. I’ll be damned if I let this opportunity slip away from me. This is part of the job. It all comes with the territory. I was born for this.”
20TH ANNIVERSARY OF RIDDICK BOWE-EVANDER HOLYFIELD I
The nearly 6-foot-3 Holyfield was out-weighed, 235-to-205, by the 6-5 Bowe in their initial clash of unbeatens, after which Holyfield won their rematch by majority decision in November of ’93, with Bowe scoring an eighth-round stoppage in their third bout in November of ’95.
PURSES FOR ERISLANDY LARA-VANES MARTIROSYAN CARD
Junior middleweight Erislandy Lara pocketed $202,500, compared to $177,500 for undefeated rival Vanes Martirosyan, as payment for Saturday night’s HBO-televised, WBC eliminator draw, and unbeaten featherweight contender Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia earned $155,000 for his eighth-round knockout of Jonathan Victor Barros, who made $25,000.
ALEX BARBOSA RETURNS TO HIS COLLEGIATE ALMA MATER AS A BOXER
Philadelphia junior featherweight Alex Barbosa will pursue his fifth straight win without a loss in a four-rounder against New Jersey’s Joshua Arocho (2-6-2, 2 KOs) on Dec. 8 at the Pearson-McGonigle Halls of Temple University, the college from which the 26-year-old has earned dual Bachelor of Arts and Political Science and Criminal Justice degrees in 2006.
Doing things out of the ordinary is nothing new for Barbosa, who was Commanding Officer of his Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at William Allen High School in Allentown, Pa. Barbosa had planned to attend either West Point or the Naval Academy before settling on Temple.
“I chose Temple because I wanted to keep my options open. The ROTC program at the college seemed like the natural course of progression and I wanted to go into the military as an officer,” said Barbosa, whose fight with Arocho will be part of the NBC Sports Network Fight Night show.
“My dad wasn’t too happy about it [professional boxing,] and he wanted nothing to do with it. Later, he came around. My mom just wanted me to be happy, so she was fine with it.”
The main event of the eight-fight card features Philadelphia heavyweight Bryant “Bye Bye” Jennings (15-0, 7 KOs) opposite Bowie Tupou (22-2, 16 KOs), of Tonga, with the live card beginning at 7 p.m., and the NBCSN broadcast starting at 9 p.m. ET.
Barbosa was also a two-sport athlete in high school. As a 122-pound amateur boxer, Barbosa won the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Novice Championship, and was runner-up in the open division of the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves that same year.
“I wrestled for four years in high school, and I also was on the tennis team,” said Barbosa. “I was born in the Bronx, N.Y., but we moved to Allentown just before I went to high school. My brother, Jesus, was a professional boxer, and he got me interested in the sport.”
When he is not training at West Philadelphia’s James Shuler Memorial Gym, Barbosa is a boxing instructor at LA Boxing in Cherry Hill, NJ.
“You must do what you love, and be willing to sacrifice everything to get where you want to be,” said Barbosa. “And that’s how I feel about boxing. We’ll see how it turns out.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]