The Biggest Questions Austin Trout Faces Heading into Canelo Alvarez Bout

Ray Markarian@raymarkarianFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2013

The Biggest Questions Austin Trout Faces Heading into Canelo Alvarez Bout

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    Life could not have been better for Austin Trout after he beat Miguel Cotto last December. The native of New Mexico put himself on the map with an impressive boxing display that made Cotto dizzy and fight fans frisky for a Trout fight against Canelo Alvarez. 

    On April 20th Trout enters the biggest fight of his life against Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez. Will Trout ride the momentum of his beating of Miguel Cotto? Or will he be another causality taken by the power of Canelo Alvarez?

5. Can Trout Handle the Limelight?

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    Austin Trout has the look and personality of a crossover star, but can he handle the pressure that comes with it? The lights were bright in New York last winter when Trout out-boxed Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto. The lights will shine brighter on April 20th.

    The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas is expected house of over 40,000 people for the event. But most fans in attendance will favor Canelo.

    Meanwhile Golden Boy Promotions are not holding any punches in their efforts to build the fight. With Floyd Mayweather on the tail end of his career, Canelo Alvarez is Golden Boy's next big thing. A victory over Trout will catapult Canelo to another level of popularity. Will the anxiety of the show be too much for Trout? 

4. How Will Trout Handle Canelo’s Pressure Attack?

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    This really depends on which Canelo Alvarez will show up. Alvarez has matured a great deal over his last two fights against Shane Mosley and Josesito Lopez. He surprisingly out-boxed Shane Mosley last May and then overpowered Lopez four months later.

    Most southpaws like Trout, with advantages in height and reach, are used to fighters coming towards them. Trout dictated the pace against Miguel Cotto. He didn’t shy from combat—he embraced it and never lost his cool. Cotto brought pressure and Trout used movement and a straight left hand to earn Cotto’s respect, and more importantly to make Cotto retreat. 

    No one has forced Canelo to fight going backwards yet. Let’s see how well Trout handles Canelo’s attack on Saturday night. 

3. The Miguel Cotto Mystery

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    Miguel Cotto is one of the most decorated fighters in the 21st century, and arguably the most exciting Puerto Rican fighter since the late 1990’s when Tito Trinidad made fight fans crazy. The 32-year-old Cotto was near his peak before he lost a unanimous decision to Austin Trout. He won a revenge bout against Antonio Margarito in December 2011 and followed it with a valiant losing effort to Floyd Mayweather in May 2012.

    No one truly knows why Cotto pulled a stinker against Trout. Three things could have happened. He could have gotten old overnight (common in boxing); he might have been emotionally drained after the Mayweather fight; or he was just simply outclassed. We might find some answers this Saturday when Trout fights Canelo Alvarez. We know Miguel Cotto wasn't the same in December. Will we see the same Austin Trout?

    We won’t know how impressive Trout’s victory was over Cotto until Saturday night. 

2. Is Trout the Real Deal at 154?

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    Young boxing stars like Canelo Alvarez don’t get thrown to the wolves often, especially when they are the face of Golden Boy Promotions.

    Canelo didn’t have to accept the Trout fight with a potential Floyd Mayweather bout hanging in the balance. There were preliminary talks between the Canelo and Cotto camps before Canelo agreed to terms. To the naked eye this is a dangerous fight for Canelo Alvarez because Austin Trout is a tough undefeated southpaw that handled Miguel Cotto.

    But other than Cotto, it would be hard to recognize Trout’s list of beaten opponents. Devlin Rodriguez and Canelo’s brother Rigoberto Alvarez are the only names the common boxing fan might have heard of.

1. Can Trout Close the Show?

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    Sometimes to beat a popular champion in boxing, you have to do it with conviction. Just ask Timothy Bradley and Ike Quartey. Last week, Oscar de la Hoya compared the Alvarez-Trout fight to his 1999 classic against the Ghanian fighter Quartey. “It reminds me of when I fought Quartey,” Oscar de la Hoya told Miguel Maravilla of “Not because of his (Trout’s) style, but in terms of how he (Canelo) has his doubters. I had my doubters going into the Quartey fight.” 

    Austin Trout may need a knockout to beat Canelo Alvarez because boxing in Texas has a bad reputation for controversial decisions, including Pernell Whitaker vs. Julio Cesar Chavez in 1994 and the first Paulie Malignaggi vs. Juan Diaz fight in 2009. 

    There is no suspicion of foul play in this fight. But let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself in Texas.