Bobby Benton recalls the night Austin Trout beat Miguel Cotto in The Garden

Austin Trout shocked the world when he defeated Miguel Cotto.

Boxing coach Bobby Benton was there that night and while, at the time, Benton was not the lead voice, his presence was still felt. 

Trout retired from boxing, but last Friday, February 2, became the BKFC welterweight champion defeating Luis Palomino. BKFC is the most widely-known bare-knuckle combat league in the world. 

But Friday’s win will not be remembered as much as his win over the Puerto Rican legend. 

Trout went into Madison Square Garden one cold December night in New York City only to defy the odds. He beat Cotto, a Puerto Rican boxing legend. Trout entered as the WBA junior-middleweight world champion, but had a whole arena against him.

“I remember everything about that night,” Benton told ProBox TV. “They picked Austin because he took the least amount of money. Look, Cotto had just given [Floyd] Mayweather a tough fight right before that. It was just a bounce-back win for them.

“Then we spoiled the show. It was quiet. When Cotto fought in [that era] halfway through the fight I looked over at Louie Burk, who was Trout’s trainer, and I said ‘it is quiet in here’. He said, ‘Yeah, it is.’ I said, ‘That means we are winning.’”

It was the night Trout became a star. Hall of Fame fighters often have many legendary nights, but that doesn’t belittle the ones who have just one. Trout might not have replicated the magic again of the Cotto performance, but he never made the most of the opportunity when they got it.

The 12-round decision led Trout to a fight against rising star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on Showtime, just before Canelo went on to fight Mayweather.

“I went and watched Cotto wrap [his] hands,” Benton recalled. 

“Pedro [Diaz] was wrapping his hands. In New York, they allow a strip of tape on the knuckles, and I told them no they can’t do it. We were battling in there. You are not putting tape on the knuckles. It is not going to happen. The inspector was arguing with me.

“I was like, ‘Look, we are the WBA champion. You can’t put tape on the knuckles’, and then Cotto was the one who said, ‘Hey, take it off, we won’t do it, it is fine.’ The inspector was going to allow it, but I didn’t care. We weren’t going to fight then. If you are going to allow them to put tape on the knuckles, we will bail.”

More recently Benton was involved in a similar incident, when his fighter O’Shaquie Foster was recently crowned WBC super-featherweight world champion and he boxed Miguel Roman. Benton objected to the gloves then, too. 

“As soon as I see something I go, ‘Okay, we are doing this now, huh?’ I am always going to protect my fighter. [O’Shaquie Foster] when he was getting ready to fight Mickey Roman. Literally I grabbed the gloves, and there is zero padding in the gloves at all, and the inspector had already signed off on it. So I grab the gloves, and say, ‘they are not using these gloves.’”

“I told them I am not disputing anything, he is not fighting in these gloves right here. So, they went up and got Andy [Foster] and he grabbed the gloves and said ‘Nope, get some other gloves…’ They were like, ‘We don’t have any more Reyes’. I was like, ‘I don’t care what you use, but you are not using those’.”