Canelo Alvarez is the favorite to defeat Austin Trout in Saturday night's light middleweight unification bout, per Oddsshark.com.
But not only do I believe he can pull the upset, I predicted he would.
He must stick to a strict game plan, especially early in the fight. If he does, he will score his second consecutive upset victory after earning a unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto in December 2012.
Here are Trout's keys to victory.
Alvarez is a very good puncher when opponents stand right in front of him.
Most of the fighters he's faced have been either too old to move and create angles (Shane Mosley), or it simply wasn't their style (Matthew Hatton).
When facing a banger with a deliberate style like Alvarez, it is very important to change angles. Trout has the boxing acumen to do this. His southpaw stance will also be a benefit.
Alvarez has faced very few southpaws in his career. The last one was Ryan Rhodes in June 2011. He pales in comparison to Trout from a talent perspective, though
Rhodes is tough, but he isn't as slick or naturally as big as Trout. He tried to employ movement, but he wound up running and surviving because he couldn't offer enough offense to keep Alvarez honest.
This is a video of the entire fight, but you only need to see a few moments to get the gist of the night for Rhodes.
Trout isn't an explosive puncher, but as Cotto found out in their bout, he has enough power to make an opponent take notice.
If he balances side-to-side movement with the use of his underrated jab and combinations, he will find success.
Pick His Spots to Roughhouse on the Inside
At times, Alvarez will try to get physical on the inside. It is an effective intimidation tactic.
Trout must initiate these sequences at some point during the fight to gain his respect. He was able to do this to Cotto and it was a major turning point in the fight.
Most thought Cotto would have the significant advantage inside, but Trout proved he could hold his own. Check out some of these highlights:
Alvarez hasn't been in the ring with an opponent he couldn't physically bully or overcome. Trout is the first talented fighter he's faced who has been fighting at 154 pounds for an extended period—sans a washed up Kermit Cintron.
The difference will be apparent in the ring.
The fight takes place in the Alamodome, where the crowd will be firmly behind the young Mexican fighter.
Quiet rounds are dangerous for an underdog, especially when they happen late.
Without being careless, Trout needs to close the fight strong.
Alvarez usually starts slow and I expect Trout to take advantage of that. He should have a lead on the scorecards and Alvarez will look to turn up the pressure around the fourth round or so.
Trout has to take control, but he can't coast late. He needs to make it nearly impossible for the judges to take the fight away from him.
As the challenger, that's essentially the way it should be.
I predict he gets it done.
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