Austin Trout admits that Mexican icon Canelo Alvarez went on to improve after they fought in 2013.
The New Mexican southpaw defeated Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto, then 37-3, in his previous fight, but then was outpointed by Canelo just four months later.
The Mexican was undefeated in 42 fights and was one fight away from challenging Floyd Mayweather, but he beat Trout in the Alamodome in San Antonio to unify belts at super-welterweight.
Trout is 37 and wants to fight on, while Canelo boxes Jermell Charlo in one of the boxing events of the year in Las Vegas on September 30.
“He was good,” Trout recalled of fighting Canelo in April 2013. “When he fought me, he wasn’t as good as he became. He definitely got better since he fought me. He was very explosive. He had some explosiveness to him. It felt like footwork was where I was stronger than him but I feel I wasn’t able to use it because the judges didn’t respect the footwork.”
Trout lost on the cards 118-109, 115-112 and 116-111, and he was put down in the seventh. Trout had been caught between wanting a victory lap after beating Cotto or capitalising on the momentum from his career-best win against Cotti in his previous bout.
“Instead of taking a victory lap of taking on contenders I went and fought Canelo next,” Trout explained. “That was the next fight. That’s one of the regrets I had, I should have taken a victory lap, taken on somebody maybe a step down or so, but I was surprised I got the Cotto fight, and it wasn’t because necessary [for Cotto] because of me and my following – because I’m a black kid from New Mexico, and so my demograph was horrible. What Cotto thought was I had a belt, he’d try and take my belt and it was easy money. But I knew with that leverage of the Cotto fight, I had to go and get what I can and the best fight I could, financially, to use that momentum. Even though I had all the confidence I could beat Canelo, it wasn’t as though I was, ‘Ah, it’s an easy fight.’ But I’m a very rhythmic fighter and I’m better when I have activity, so I fought Cotto in December, I didn’t fight Canelo until April of next year, I should have taken a fight in February. Stayed sharp. Keep up the hype. Who knows? Enjoy that longer victory lap and gain more fans and make more pressure on that fight with Canelo.”
Instead, it was not to be. But it was no mean feat facing two generational greats back-to-back, within four months. And in Trout’s 42 pro fights, it never got better than the night he beat Cotto in Madison Square Garden.
“The best win, of course, was against Miguel Cotto in 2012, being the underdog, story of my whole career, even after giving great performances, I still was the underdog but I’ve always embraced it because it means no pressure,” Trout continued.
“Cotto was real good, but I was just in my prime and I was ready. I think he maybe overlooked me in a sense that in my first Showtime fight, I really pooped the bed. It was a really bad performance. I won, but it was a bad performance against Delvin Rodriguez, and I think he looked at that and thought he could take my belt easily from that performance, but it was one of my worst and I really turned up on Cotto.”