Austin Trout has called this weekend’s Las Vegas showpiece between David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade “a pick ‘em fight”.
Former world super-welterweight champion Trout, now 38, boxed Andrade in the amateurs, losing a close decision in the 2005 US Championships, but Trout rates the former Olympian highly.
That said, the New Mexico southpaw anticipates Benavidez, 27-0, coming through the fight with his unbeaten record intact.
“It is a tough fight for both and as much as I like Benavidez, it’s hard to sleep on Andrade,” Trout said. “He finds a way to win, whether you like the way he does it or not, he finds a way to win. My biggest concern for him [Andrade] is lack of activity. Fighting once every one two or so years… It’s not like this is his fifth, sixth, seventh big fight. This could potentially be described as the first big fight he’s been a part of. Benavidez, it’s probably his second or third, but he’s been more active, too.”
That is sound reasoning, but style-wise, Trout appreciates that Benavidez might have his hands full with the southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island.
“It's hard to see Benavidez losing; but it’s hard to see Andrade losing,” Trout surmised. “It’s a pick ‘em. I’m slightly leading towards Benavidez.”
Although it has been 18 years since Trout fought Andrade – now 32-0 – in the unpaid code, losing their four-rounder (two-minute rounds), Trout could see the skill and potential in Andrade back then.
“He’s just slick,” Trout recalled. “It was more timing. He had good timing over everything. He was sneaky. He’d sneak little shots in, off rhythm. I only fought him once, then maybe sparred him once.”
Did he think Andrade could go on to be a world champion in the pros?
“Yeah,” Trout stated. “He ended up getting a lot of good experience when he was on Team USA. I think he was robbed in his Olympic run, many would say that. I definitely expected him to go on and do what he’s done [in the professional ranks]. When he had that long layoff, when he was dealing with promotional issues, I thought it was over for his career, but he came back. He’s been resurrected a couple of times.”
Andrade can be divisive in the ring. Some appreciate his technical skills and movement but others are bored by how he fights. Style-wise, he and Benavidez have predicted a good clash. That is of no surprise, but Trout agrees, too.
“I think so, because Benavidez is coming,” warned Trout. “He’s got good speed and good combination punching which is going to force Andrade to get active, if he wants to survive, anyway.”
The fight is at the Michelob Arena in Las Vegas, and pits a Hispanic star against and American who has yet to breakthrough into the mainstream.
This week, in an exclusive interview with ProBox TV, Andre Ward said it was hard for Black fighters to get attention unless they were willing to play a Floyd Mayweather-type role.
“Absolutely, I remember when I was turning pro back in around 2004 and 2005 when I was shopping around and we went to a top promoter and I couldn’t get signed because they said they were only signing Hispanic fighters and Eastern Europeans,” Trout remembered. “The Polish had a good following, some Russian people had a good following… I was saying I’m New Mexican! That really puts me in a tough predicament! I believe the African American support was key to making boxing as big as it was in the Golden Era, of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, then Sugar Ray Leonard… They’re the reason Muhammad Ali got his first million-dollar purse, in my opinion.
“[But now] they want the Adrien Broners. They want the ignorance. If you can say something ignorant and flashy, and be a detriment to the culture, they’ll boost you up. I don’t have anything positive or negative to say about that. I want to try to be more of a black James Bond; cool, calm, collected. But I didn’t want to fake it. I didn’t want to put on a front. But I can look at myself still without too much regret.”