Despite a four-fight stoppage streak, WBC 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo says he's in 'dog shape' and ready to go the full 12 rounds if necessary when he faces former titleholder Austin Trout tomorrow night in Los Angeles.
For professional boxers, a major element to long-term success is one’s ability to make adjustments at certain times in his career. The ability to implement a different fight strategy or fine-tune the delivery of a punch will often determine a bout’s outcome.
There are also the issues of physical and mental adaptations. The elite fighters seem aware of physical changes their bodies go through and adjust appropriately. It’s during this process that mental maturation plays a prominent role.
These are just some of the adjustments WBC super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo and former champion Austin Trout will depend upon when they meet tomorrow night at Staples Center in Los Angeles on a Showtime-televised card (10 p.m. ET/PT). The fighter who’s adapted best to these changes at this point in his career has a better chance of leaving the ring victorious.
Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) is certain he will be the guy whose arm is raised when this fight concludes. Adjusting to his mental/physical growth inside and outside has been a smooth process for Charlo, thus far.
“I’m growing. I just turned 28 and I look at things a little bit differently,” said Charlo. “The only thing that’s on my mind is getting in there to see what [my] body does and what this mindset that I got now does.”
What’s not on Charlo’s mind these days are the impressive knockouts he’s registered in recent bouts. If Charlo can end this fight early, great, he’ll take it, but winning by KO isn’t his primary goal. He’s prepared to go the distance against Trout.
Charlo is mentally, emotionally and physically comfortable where he is at this point in his career. And while talk among fight fans of a unification bout with WBA/IBF 154-pound champ Jarrett Hurd intensify, Charlo feels no need to perform more spectacularly against Trout than his fellow division champ. Hurd forced Trout to retire in the 10th round during their title fight in October 2017.
“I’m not in competition with [Hurd],” Charlo said. “I don’t know what Trout is going to bring out. If he brings out the best in me, then who knows what the end result could be.
“But I’m looking to go 12 [rounds]. I’m looking to fight all the way to the end. I’m in dog shape.”
“ If he brings out the best in me, then who knows what the end result could be. But I’m looking to go 12 [rounds]. I’m looking to fight all the way to the end. I’m in dog shape. ” WBC 154-pound World Champ Jermell Charlo
Charlo will not be the only man in the ring on fight night who’s vowing to be 100 percent prepared to walk away victorious.
Trout (31-4-0, 17 KOs) is also going through an adjustment phase in his career. As a 32-year-old and having lost two of his three most recent bouts, Trout is in great need of a win.
To improve his chances of pulling off an upset, Trout’s most significant adjustment in preparing for this fight has been reuniting with trainer Barry Hunter. The reunion, Trout believes, is mandatory as he seeks to again become a world champion.
Reuniting with Hunter was an easy decision for Trout, who had to look no further than his loss to Hurd.
“The only reason I stopped going to Barry … was that Hurd trained in the same area,” Trout said. “That’s where I actually met Hurd … in Barry’s gym. So, I stayed home for that [fight].”
Trout admits he made a mistake not retaining Hunter for the Hurd fight. But with Hunter back in his corner, Trout feels at his best physically and mentally to face Charlo.
“[Hunter] makes you give your best and accepts nothing less,” Trout said.
Charlo expects to face the very best Trout has to offer - adjustments and all - but he vows it won’t be enough to beat him. He’s convinced that the Hunter/Trout fight strategy has its limits.
“Trout is a veteran fighter but I don’t believe he’s going to stand in the pocket and try to fight me,” Charlo said. “There’s [not] a single fighter in this weight division that would try to do that. If Trout does try that, the night will end fast.
“I’m definitely growing as a fighter and growing as a man. If Trout wants to bang, let’s bang. I don’t care what Barry Hunter has or what he does. It’s not going to be able to beat me and [my trainer] Derrick James. I don’t necessarily think Trout is as tough as me so if he can’t put up the skills and match my ability, he won’t beat me.”
For a closer look at Charlo vs Trout, check out our fight page.