Trout In Deep Waters Heading Into Cotto's Hometown
Corey Erdman / November 27, 2012 - 11:22am
Not just in the literal sense, having never fought at Madison Square Garden, but in the figurative as well. 27-year old junior middleweight Austin Trout has spent the majority of his career toiling in obscurity, blowing out opponents in areas of the world where casual North American fans don't pay attention.
This weekend, he'll take his first step onto this big stage against Miguel Cotto in a Showtime-televised main event from MSG.
According Trout though, his travels abroad have him plenty prepared for the massive task on Saturday night.
"This is not my first time doing this, so I feel like I'm going to be pretty comfortable being in hostile territory. Really, the crowd can only do one thing, and that's to make noise. They can't help him get up, they can't help him to punch harder, and they can't help to punch faster," said Trout (25-0, 14 knockouts) during a media conference call on Monday. "I'm preparing for Miguel to be at his absolute best, anyway, so it's not that I don't expect him to be at his best. My preparation now, the only thing that I'm focused on, is Miguel Cotto in that ring. When I walk into the ring, my whole thing is to shut the crowd up."
It's a tough proposition, considering the Big Apple has been Cotto territory for the past decade. The Puerto Rican has become one of the sport's few domestic draws in the United States, thanks to the abundance of fans of his descent living in the New York area. In all, he has fought nine times in the big city and has never lost.
"I know what Trout says. He says that he's been in Panama fighting with a Panamanian guy, and was in Mexico, fighting with a Mexican guy. But next Saturday, he's going to be in New York, and in Madison Square Garden, fighting with Miguel Cotto. This is my home and I know that nothing is going to be equal or the same as anything that he's pass through before. This is going to be special. It's a special venue, and it's going to be a special night for me," said Cotto.
Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) is coming off a loss to Floyd Mayweather in May, in a surprisingly competitive affair. While the scorecards were strongly in favor of "Money," Cotto made most of the rounds reasonably competitive, which wasn't thought to be a possibility heading into the night.
Despite the loss, it's being viewed as another step in the re-invigoration of Cotto following a controversial 2008 loss to Antonio Margarito, and a 12th round TKO at the hands of Manny Pacquiao in 2009.
Since then, he has avenged the loss to Margarito and scooped up wins over Ricardo Mayorga and Yuri Foreman.
"Floyd Mayweather was an excellent fight. That was a good fight. I didn't win, but sometimes, when you lose, you win. That was the case for me in this fight. I felt rejuvenated after that fight, and everybody wants to see me fight again next Saturday. We didn't win the fight against Mayweather, but I won a lot of other things, you know, especially within myself. If felt better with myself than if I would have won. No matter that I lost," said Cotto.
The 32-year old is listed as a 3-1 favorite on most sportsbooks, but Trout views the recent losses to Mayweather and Pacquiao as clues, rather than badges of honor for his opponent.
In both cases, Manny and Floyd stood their ground and let their hands go en route to victory. So while many believe the key for Trout is to be evasive and rangy, he doesn't think that will do the job on the road against a fighter of Cotto's calibre.
"We've definitely been watching tapes of those two losses, and we've also gone back and watched tapes of Miguel Cotto when he was fighting at around 140 and at 147. We plan on executing a game plan that is similar. We're not going to necessarily run, but movement is going to be a big deal as far as our game plan goes, without getting into too much detail. I do understand and I am willing to stand and fight," said Trout, the WBA light middleweight titlist. "I know that I'm going to have to put a lot of leather on him in order to get a decisive win in Madison Square Garden. So a totally defensive fight is not going to necessarily be the key to victory for me."
Fans of Trout—though there may not be too many in New York—are hoping that Cotto is finally on the downswing of a Hall of Fame career, and that the years of fierce battles will finally take their toll.
Cotto is expecting the stark opposite.
"That's what happens in this game. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be the new champion of the world. Everybody will see, on Saturday, the best Miguel Cotto ever," he said.
The question is, can the best version of Austin Trout defeat even a diminished version of Cotto?