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Trout Angling To Hook A Whopper In Cotto



To the less-than-fully-informed boxing fan, “Austin Trout” sounds like something a fisherman has reeled in from a lake in close proximity to Texas’ capital city.

Oh, sure, Austin “No Doubt” Trout has been the holder of the WBA’s “regular” super welterweight championship for nearly two years, and he has a distinctive and easily remembered name, in the manner of, say, former Major League Baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry. But, his bejeweled belt notwithstanding, the 27-year-old southpaw from Las Cruces, N.M., still hasn’t made the breakthrough from intriguing curiosity item to full-fledged star, a situation that could be remedied on Dec. 1, when Trout angles to land one of boxing’s legitimate whoppers, Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto.

The Showtime-televised main event in Madison Square Garden marks the eighth appearance in Madison Square Garden (and the 10th in New York, including one bout each in the Hammerstein Ballroom and Yankee Stadium) for the hugely popular Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs), who will be bidding for his fifth world title. As was noted in the premiere episode of Showtime’s “All Access” presentations that have been airing in advance of the event, Cotto, 32, has actually sold more tickets in boxing’s Mecca than did the great Muhammad Ali in a like number of turns in the Garden.

But venturing into a veritable lion’s den is nothing new for road warrior Trout, who actually believes that fighting before unfriendly audiences gives him something of a mental edge. He has beaten a Panamanian in Panama, a Canadian in Canada, a Mexican in Mexico. He looks forward to stilling the cheers of a pro-Cotto crowd in much the same manner that he did on those other successful excursions onto the other guy’s turf.

“This is not my first time being in a hostile environment,” Trout said of what awaits him at the opening bell, and until such time that he is able to seize control of the bout and thus turn down the crowd volume. “I know how to use it to my advantage. Just another walk in the park.

“My goal is to make the Garden go silent, except for maybe 20 New Mexicans who are coming to cheer for me. The funny thing is, I have a lot of family in New York. Actually, most of my family comes from New York. I have two sets of grandparents who live there (in Brooklyn and in Harlem). So it will be kind of a homecoming for me, although not nearly as big as the one for Cotto. Obviously, there are a bunch of Puerto Ricans living in New York. Those are Cotto’s people.”

Anyone who tuned in to the Oct. 20 rematch between WBA/WBC super lightweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia and Mexican legend Erik Morales, the first boxing show in Brooklyn’s spanking-new Barclays Center, already knows that Trout at the very least talks a good fight. He was part of the Showtime commentary team for Garcia’s fourth-round knockout victory, along with Mauro Ranallo, Al Bernstein and Joe Cortez. He earned generally high marks for his glibness and the quality of his analysis, suggesting a bright future in the broadcasting business.

Trout is quick to point out that boxing for the most part is a young man’s game, with aging and familiar names eventually obliged to yield to fresh and lesser-known ones, as was the case in Garcia’s pummeling of Morales into likely retirement.

“I told Danny Garcia after his fight that I’m trying to keep that same trend going that he is a part of,” Trout said. “Out with the old and in with the new. I don’t believe Cotto is a shot fighter like Erik Morales. Cotto is still hungry. But, man, I’m starving.

“Miguel Cotto is a warrior who’s never backed away from any challenge, and I’ve always had the utmost respect for him as one of the best representatives of our sport. I am very grateful for the opportunity to fight him. But that said … he messed up. I honestly don’t see how I can lose.

“I just feel that I will be the faster, stronger, taller and better technical fighter on that night. I know he is a very good puncher and a smart fighter with a lot of experience, but he’s also 5’7” with a short reach. I didn’t know he was short as he is until we stood next to each other at the press conference to announce the fight. (Trout is 5’9½”.) I just have to believe the size difference is going to be a factor.”

Trout and his longtime trainer, Louie Burke, have the confidence that might be expected of a collaborative unit that has yet to taste defeat together. They also should have reason to be leery. Although Cotto has more than a few miles on his pugilistic odometer, and admits to imagining the end of an almost certain Hall of Fame career, in his last fight he gave boxing’s finest pound-for-pound practitioner, Floyd Mayweather Jr., one of his tougher tests in dropping a 12-round, unanimous decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 5, bloodying “Money’s” lip in the process. A number of boxing experts continue to rate Cotto as one of the top 10 fighters regardless of weight class.

He is, in other words, just the sort of trophy catch Trout needs if he, too, is to attain whopper status.

“I’ve been under the radar,” Trout acknowledged. “This is what Louie and I have been working for, this magnitude of fight. When they asked me if I wanted to fight Cotto, I didn’t believe it. And since we’re fantasizing, I wish I there was some way could fight Sugar Ray Leonard, too. It’s always been a dream of mine to beat up the legends. That’s how you become a legend.”

Trout admits to being just a bit irked when the news leaked that Cotto, provided he got won on Dec. 1, was looking to make his first defense of his newly won title against another young stud, WBC super welter champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez during Cinco de Mayo weekend in 2013.

If Canelo is hot to fight on that date, Trout reasons, why not against him? After all, he already is 1-0 against the Alvarez family, having captured the vacant WBA 154-pound crown on a unanimous decision over Rigoberto Alvarez in the Alvarezes’ hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, on Feb. 5, 2011.

“If Cotto and is team are going to overlook me, that’s their problem. They’re going to be unpleasantly surprised,” Trout said. “When next May rolls around, I’m very confident it’s going to be my name that’s in the running to face Canelo, if he chooses to take the fight.

“I remember being in Mexico fighting Rigoberto Alvarez for the WBA title. That’s Canelo’s big brother. In fact, Canelo was in the other corner, biting his nails the whole time.”

Beating Rigoberto Alvarez is not the same as beating Canelo Alvarez, however, just as beating the fighters Trout did in his first three championship defenses – David Lopez, Frank LoPorto and Delvin Rodriguez – isn’t the same as notching a win over someone with as big a rep as Cotto.

“Cotto’s got the name, he’s got the recognition,” Trout said. “I have the title. I got the title so I could get the name and the recognition. I’ve been champion going on two years now, but it seemed like I wasn’t getting those names that I was looking for. But this fight, this is why I wanted to be champion. Used to be, you needed the name to get the title. Now, you got to get the title to get the name.”

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans



Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th



UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.



Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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