Before Taking on Canelo Alvarez April 20th, Austin Trout Recalls the Toughest Fight of his Career
Austin Trout calls it the toughest fight of his career. It was 2009 and he was squaring off against Nilson Tapia in front 16,000 screaming boxing fans at the Robert Duran Arena in Panama City, Panama. In Tapia’s corner was none other than the greatest latino boxer of all-time, the country’s hero, the man whose name the building carried, Roberto Duran. It made no difference to the crowd who cheered enthusiastically, that Tapia was Colombian by birth, he was of course Panamanian-bred and facing a fighter from the United States.
“He’s American. He’s got bitch in him,” Trout recalls Duran telling Tapia, in the corner in between rounds.
The fight, Trout admits, was a tough one where he would have to become the aggressor, a style completely opposite of the slick counter-punching fighter we have grown accustomed to.
“I actually had to stalk him down and walk him down. He was trying to box after he felt the left hand,” Trout boasts. “That was one of those fights that I had to change up my style to come out of my comfort zone to bang out a victory.”
“I thought the fight was close,” says Trout. “In any other situation where I wasn’t fighting the home fighter, I would easily be winning.” His uneasiness could have possibly been put on the fact that it was Trout’s first time fighting outside of North America and despite being a 19 win and 0 loss record, he was a relatively unknown fighter outside of the state of New Mexico. He was also vying for the opportunity to be ranked in the top three of the WBA light middleweight rankings.
To add to Trout’s concern, that evening was the first and only time the WBA whom Trout now holds a light middleweight title with, had ever instituted a 1/2 point scoring system and scheduled the fight for only eleven rounds. The scoring that evening along with the odd numbered rounds, was a test that the WBA, hoped would help avoid draws.
The final result read as follows: Panamanian judge Guillermo Perez Pineda had the fight even with a score of 105-105 while Puerto Rican judges Nelson Vazquez had it 106½ to 102½ and Raul Nieves scored the bout 106-102 respectively in favor of Trout.
After the fight Trout said he went up to Duran, one of his idols and told him that he himself was part Panamanian. “I didn’t know! Yo no sabia!” Trout says Duran told him. Trout is a quarter Panamanian from his paternal grandfather’s side and speaks some Spanish.
The contest Trout feels has helped prepare him for last fight against Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto in New York City and will help him in his April 20th title unification bout against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in what will be a pro-Alvarez Mexican crowd in San Antonio, Texas.
“I’ve been in front of hostile crowds before,” says Trout. “I know Canelo will have the Mexican support but I’ve been in this situation. It’s nothing new.”