The year 2013 was bittersweet for Austin Trout, who experienced a pair of losses around the death of his grandmother during his wedding.
Trout was floored that December during the 11th round of a unanimous decision loss to Erislandy Lara at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It came after his grandmother, Ann Johnson, died of a heart attack during his marriage to Taylor Trout on May 26.
Those incidents exacerbated a 154-pound title unification loss by disputed unanimous decision to Canelo Alvarez in April 2013.
Trout (30-3, 17 KOs), of Las Cruces, New Mexico, returns to Barclay Center for the first time since the Lara fight when he takes on unbeaten champion Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) of Accokeek, Maryland on Oct. 14.
“No Doubt” looks to regain past glory on a card featuring title defenses by Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) against 2012 Olympian Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) and champion Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) against Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs).
Trout, 32, discussed the meaning of his clash with Hurd, among other things, during a break from training recently.
Who and where are you sparring?
Right now, we’re here in Las Cruces with [trainer] Louie Burke, sparring with Joey Alday and Keith Hunter. It’s going well. Fortunately, during the layoff (15 months), I’ve been in the gym and staying sharp.
I get to come back for a title shot against an undefeated dude. They may think that ring rust is going to affect me. I hope that they’re sleeping on me, but either way, I feel like they messed up.
Luckily, for me, I take care of myself outside of the ring, I’m in great condition, physically, and we still have a month of training left to go.
Can you re-live the crowning achievement of your career – the victory over Miguel Cotto, doing it in his partisan New York with relatives a ringside?
That’s definitely the highlight of my career and my life, but at the same time, it’s sort of bittersweet because that was five years ago. I’m focused on creating a new moment.
I need to give the boxing world something more recent to talk about in the form of another career defining win, and that’s what they’re gonna get on October 14.
I’m looking back at that time, not necessarily to hold on to, but to motivate me because I feel like if I hang on to it too much, that can become a distraction and the only moment that you have.
Your thoughts on losing to Canelo Alvarez, and the disadvantages you feel you faced before his partisan fans in San Antonio?
As far as the conditions, from the ring to the judges to the location, they were stacked up against me. They wanted it in Texas.
The open scoring was another thing. I figured I was winning after four rounds, but they announced that he was winning.
At the same time, it was a damn good fight. There are still some things we could have done, but you never train for that type of an atmosphere.
Returning to New York to face Erilandy Lara at Barclays, was the passing of your grandmother a factor, emotionally?
That was the low point of my career. My grandmother passed away on my wedding day. To return to Brooklyn, where she was born and raised, that was hard.
I wasn’t over the Canelo loss, yet. But for me, I wanted to jump right back in and show that I was one of the baddest guys in the game against Lara.
He was a slick, dangerous boxer and the guy nobody wanted to fight. I wanted to come back strong, but maybe I was a bit too ambitious.
“ I need to give the boxing world something more recent to talk about in the form of another career defining win, and that’s what they’re gonna get on October 14. ” Austin Trout, on his upcoming fight against 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd
Can you discuss your loss to Jermall Charlo, his abilities, and what separated you from victory in the end?
I feel like in the minds of the judges, it was the Charlo show from the jump. It was all about his making history, so it seems like the stage was set.
But as far as my performance goes, I guess I should have come on earlier, because I know I dominated the second half of the fight.
It was a good, close fight, and I thought I did enough to win, but at least Charlo didn’t have a bunch of things stacked in his favor, so it’s a bit easier to take than losing to Canelo.
It wasn’t like Charlo had open scoring. It was a fight that happened in Las Vegas, so the conditions were more neutral.
What are your thoughts on the skills of Jarrett Hurd, and how does he compare to those you have faced?
You can’t underestimate a guy like Hurd, who is an undefeated champion and wants to stay that way. I’m looking at this as if I’m fighting Charlo again.
But I’ve been here before, fighting tough junior middleweights in the past. But this time, I’m going to be more decisive. Jarrett Hurd is going to fail the Austin Trout test.
What does a victory do for your career, and, conversely, a loss?
A win puts me right there with any of the other champions, and Jermell Charlo would be an immediate target. But there’s also big-fight potential with Miguel Cotto since he’s got a title, also.
Either way, beating one of them makes me a unified world champion, and I’d be back to running (things) in the division. As far as losing, I don’t know what that means.
Do you have a boxing hero or fighter whom you admire?
I have so many heroes, from Muhammad Ali, to Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whittaker, to Marvin Hagler. Hagler’s mind-set intrigues me. He put it down like, “You’re my enemy and we’re going to war.”
Tactically, physically, he was just phenomenal. Similar to me, he was a southpaw and nobody gave him anything. He had to make it mostly on his own.
Sweet Pea is another southpaw and one of my favorite fighters. Defensively, he was amazing, and if only he had just a little more pop. But Marvin Hagler, right now, he’s my spirit animal.
Of all the boxers in history, who do you wish you could’ve fought, and how would the fight have played out?
I think if I could have fought Jake LaMotta, the Raging Bull, his style compliments mine and I think that would make for a great fight.
Of course, he lost to the Greatest of All Time, Sugar Ray Robinson. I’d like that fight just to see how that would pan out.
Finish this sentence: If not for boxing, I would be …
I would be a drug dealer, in jail or broke. Boxing has given me structure, and if I didn’t have that, then I would just do whatever I wanted. If it hadn’t been for boxing, I’d be undisciplined.
What’s the hardest you’ve ever been hit, and how did you deal with it?
That would be against Canelo. That’s the hardest I’ve ever been hit. I got up, shook it off and tried to beat his ass for the rest of the round. I think I actually won the round, if not, the fight.
What about a favorite punch to throw?
I would say the jab, which I landed basically at will against Cotto and Alvarez. I can set up whatever I want with the jab, and I think I did that well against Cotto.
It’s after the fourth round against Canelo when I got aggressive that I was in trouble. I don’t think the judges, with their scoring, really appreciated my jab.
Do you have a favorite boxing movie?
Rocky was the movie that got me hyped.
If Hollywood were to make a movie about the life of Austin Trout, what actor would you choose to portray you?
I would choose Mahershala Ali, the guy who plays the bad guy, Cotton Mouth, in the Luke Cage series. He also won Best Supporting Actor in that movie, Moonlight.
If you could have dinner with any four people in history, living or dead, who would they be?
I would say Bob Marley, Malcolm X, [Black Panther chairman] Fred Hampton and Marcus Garvey. They could teach me more about my ancestors.