Trout aiming for more title memories
Nothing would please Austin Trout (30-2, 17 KOs) more than winning his second world title at super welterweight.
What would make him even happier is to be able to recall tonight’s fight against unbeaten IBF World Champion Jermall Charlo (23-0, 18 KOs) in the years to come. Something to tell his children and grandchildren; stories about the night he schooled Miguel Cotto in the Puerto Rican’s Garden and, he hopes, taming a young lion in Las Vegas almost three and a half years later.
Trout, like all fighters, wants to have all his faculties intact when he hangs up his gloves and that’s why he and some of the biggest names in boxing and mixed martial arts joined Sen. John McCain (R) at a news conference last month on Capitol Hill to talk about The Cleveland Clinic and brain research in combat sports.
“It was really wonderful to go and see that the government is getting behind the brain health of combat sports,” Trout told Boxing Monthly.
The Cleveland Clinic (Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health) are leading the way for competitors to have annual testing to ensure that any brain anomaly is discovered sooner rather than later, potentially saving their life before it could be too late.
“Here in American Football there’s a lot of guys who died or did something horrendous to themselves or someone else,” said Trout.
“They looked into the brain to find out if these concussions they suffered are faltering them or just their life in general. The Cleveland Clinic is a place that has over 200 fighters [who] come in and do these tests. They show you your reactions and they gauge your balance. They gauge your memory and you go in once a year.”
The tests carried out will determine if the man or woman is, as Trout described, “slowing down” making them more at risk to sustaining further damage that could hinder them further down the line.
Trout knows the risk every time he steps through the ropes for another fight. The ultimate price has been paid in the past by others, and in Hamzah Aljahmi’s case his first professional bout. Aljahmi was just 19 when he died in Youngstown, Ohio last year after collapsing at the end of the fourth round of a flyweight contest. A young man who’s goal in life was to be the next Muhammad Ali.
Thankfully, deaths in boxing are not a regular occurrence but it’s still always one too many which is why Trout is so passionate and supportive of what The Cleveland Clinic are doing.
“Hopefully after you’ve come through a tough fight you feel good when you’re healed up, but you still might have effects years later. So they’re taking preventative measures to try to stop things happening in the aftermath,” said Trout.
“It’s all about preventative measures because after boxing I want to be able to give recounts of my life and career, tell my story, enjoy my kids, enjoy my grandkids and so on and so forth.”
Attending the news conference at The Senate in Washington and working his way through a tough camp have put Trout in the best place possible, both mentally and physically, ahead of his fight with Charlo.
Trout is fully aware of the strengths and threat posed by Charlo. The champion was dominant in picking up the IBF super welterweight title against the veteran Cornelius Bundrage before a showcase fight against ‘Silky’ Wilky Campfort last time out in Dallas. A night where Charlo’s quick, stiff jab found the target more often than not with his dangerous right hand never far behind.
“He’s a strong cat,” said Trout.
“We do have our hands full but it’s not anything I can’t handle. I’m ready to take my plate and eat it up, I’m ready to eat May 21.”
“I think it’s a big step up for him,” he continued.
“He fought Bundrage but Bundrage is old. I feel like I’m in my prime. I’m a skilful fighter, I’m a strong fighter. It is a step up but at the same time it’s a step up for me too. Forget who I fought in the past, this right here is the most important fight of my life.”
Should Trout be victorious against Charlo then the new champion’s first objective will be to unify the division. Whoever has a belt is on his hit-list, and that includes the WBO champion Liam Smith. A man who was linked to a title defence against Trout not so long ago and a trip to Britain is something Trout would relish after fighting here in his amateur days.
“The people really enjoy their boxing and they really love the boxers so I’m all for going back,” Trout told BM.
“I love travelling, travelling is one of my favourite things to do so I would not be opposed to go to England to fight Liam Smith or wherever in the UK. That’s not a problem for me at all. As a matter of fact I would enjoy that very much.”
The World Boxing Organisation is not exactly on Trout’s Christmas card list at the moment. After Demetrius Andrade had been stripped of his title Trout was the top contender for the vacant WBO 154lb belt before he was inexplicably thrown out of the ratings allowing Smith and John Thompson to contest the strap last October. The WBO described the mistake as an “oversight”.
“We have issues with the WBO for that,” said Trout.
“None of this has nothing to do with Smith, he doesn’t pick who he fights and he didn’t make that happen. That’s the WBO’s fault.”
One look into any recent story associated with Austin Trout and the name Julian ‘J Rock’ Williams can be found somewhere from beginning to end. The unbeaten IBF super welterweight number one contender has been a constant verbal thorn in the side of Trout after the pair began exchanging words last year. Williams and his team claim that they were asked about a fight with the former world champion back in 2014 and 2015.
Trout told Boxing Monthly that if he beats Charlo he will gladly take on what would be his mandatory challenger.
“I’ve never ducked anybody,” said Trout.
“The fact that he keeps saying I’m ducking him is funny because really he hasn’t done anything in boxing except cry on Twitter. If you are in my way we will make that fight but he hasn’t been in my way.
“The fact he got the mandatory spot from the IBF means he’s in my way, and since he’s in my way I will gladly get his ass out the way. Then he can finally shut up and tell someone else they’re ducking him. I appreciate his hunger, I understand his hunger but the disrespect has got to stop.”