After giving Floyd Mayweather all he could handle back in May, Miguel Cotto (37-3) could have had his pick of the litter and rolled into another massive fight. He could have fought Pacquiao for a second time in his weight class, entertained a rematch with Mayweather or looked towards the likes of Canelo Alvarez. Instead, the stoic Cotto opted for Austin Trout.
But that’s exactly how Cotto rolls. As impressive and exciting as he’s been inside of the ring, he’s been just as puzzling outside of it. Why choose a young, undefeated fighter in Trout (25-0) who is coming off a relatively unexciting victory over Delvin Rodriguez? Cotto thrives against opponents who like to slug it out; Trout’s style is more about movement and being elusive. It really doesn’t make much sense to anyone, except Cotto.
“Everybody who knows Miguel Cotto knows that I don’t pick easy fights,” the Puerto Rican said on Monday’s conference call. “He was the next in line and I’m ready for him. We’re going to see what happens on Saturday.”
The fight, which airs on Showtime from Cotto’s backyard at Madison Square Garden in New York, lacks the buzz of a fighter that nearly dethroned boxing’s pound for pound king. Sure, the Garden will be rocking with a bevy of Puerto Rican flags waving in the air, but casual boxing fans have no idea who Austin Trout is.
That’s too bad, because Trout is an articulate fighter who possesses the magnetic personality that Cotto lacks. If Trout were the headliner, he could sell the hell out of this fight. But he’s not and he’s looking to use Cotto as a stepping stone to greener pastures and bigger checks.
“It’s reality now. This must be part of God’s plan,” Trout said as he’s finally shaken the disbelief that Cotto selected him over Pacquiao. Nevertheless, Trout is looking to make a name for himself and not waste this golden opportunity. “Since I’m not so well known the only thing I can think of is God made this happen and it’s my destiny to be on this stage. I don’t doubt my skills and ability.”
What can Trout can doubt is that he’ll have anybody aside from his close family rooting for him inside of the Garden on Saturday night. Although he’s no stranger to hostile territory, Cotto figures that Trout will not have seen anything like what he’s about to experience in New York City.
“He’s fought in Panama and in Mexico but next Saturday he’s going to be in New York with me at Madison Square Garden,” Cotto said as he expects his rabid base to come out in full force. “It’s my home and there is nothing that is going to be equal to that. Madison Square Garden is a special venue and he’ll figure that out when he gets in there.”
Trout’s not concerned about the fans calling for his demise. At this point in his career, he’s used to it.
“My whole goal is to shut the crowd up,” Trout explains. “It’s me against the world and I’m going to show them. I respect the fan base and their passion. But I’m not going to let them intimidate me.”
Saturday night will be interesting considering that one fighter yearns for the spotlight while the other shuns it. One fighter is all action in the ring while the other opts for surgery over savagery. When they meet, nobody is quite sure what to expect. Cotto says that the only thing fans can expect is an entertaining fight.
“Everyone will see the best Miguel Cotto ever on Saturday,” he said.
Meanwhile Trout has everything to prove and almost nothing to lose.
“I’m trying to be established, I don’t want to be anonymous anymore,” Trout says. “I’m praying for a satisfying performance. I don’t want to lose my undefeated records. The powers that be may not want me in the game because I’m a thorn in the side. They didn’t let me in; I had to climb through the window.”