Austin Trout has aspirations to become a ringside analyst once his fighting days are over. Judging by the way things are going for him in the ring right now, that second career will have to wait for quite some time.
Trout overcame a bit of a slow start—and a bizarre body slam to the canvas—to dominate Joey Hernandez en route to a sixth-round knockout in a 156-pound catchweight clash Tuesday night at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles.
It marked the Las Cruces, New Mexico, native’s fourth consecutive victory—third straight by knockout—putting the former champ right back in the thick of things in the competitive 154-pound division.
“We got a good win with a knockout,” Austin Trout said after the nationally televised Premier Boxing Champions fight on Fox Sports 1. “I’m trying to be the best in my class. I think it’s me, and if people don’t believe it, they will.”
Hernandez certainly wouldn’t argue otherwise.
In dropping his third consecutive fight and his fourth in his last five outings, Hernandez (24-4-1, 14 KOs) came out aggressive but never landed anything of consequence that hurt Trout. Perhaps frustrated by his inability to execute, Hernandez completely lost his cool early in the fourth round when he channeled his inner Hulk Hogan, picking up Trout and body-slamming him to the canvas.
Trout acknowledged it was the first time he’s ever been body-slammed in his career, and he admitted the incident affected him—in a most positive way.
“It just made my confidence soar!” he said. “I was thinking, ‘He’s getting desperate.’ Maybe he was hoping I’d get hurt, so he’d have an excuse to get out of there, but that wasn’t the case.
“It takes more than a little body slam [to hurt me]—I used to play WWF all the time.”
After a brief delay in which referee Jack Reiss scolded Hernandez and ordered a one-point deduction, Trout picked up the pace and began breaking down his opponent, mostly by attacking him to the body. By the fifth round, Trout not only was landing at will, but he was slipping virtually every punch Hernandez threw.
Then as the sixth round came to a close, Trout unleashed a three-punch assault to the midsection, the final one a left hook to the ribs that sent Hernandez crumbling to the canvas. Hernandez failed to beat the 10 count as the round expired.
“You look at his body language, and it looked like he was ready to be done,” said Trout, who won every round on all three judges’ scorecards. “After the third round, there was no confidence left in his eyes.”
That’s probably because Hernandez knew he was a beaten man long before he set foot in the ring. A day earlier, the 30-year-old Miami native struggled to make weight, needing to shed more than a pound in the span of two hours to get down to 156 and avoid a fine.
After the fight, Hernandez claimed he actually lost nine pounds Monday, then put 20 pounds back on after finally making weight.
“Since the first round, I had no legs,” Hernandez said. “I felt like I had ankle weights on. … My mind wanted to do it but my body couldn’t get it done.”
Following three straight losses, Hernandez acknowledged that his career is in a bit of a tailspin. However, he flatly insisted that he’s not about to venture into journeyman land. “I’m too good of a fighter just to be come a full-blown opponent.”
Maybe so, maybe not, but this much is certain: On Tuesday night in front of a nationally televised audience, Austin Trout proved his career is once again right where he wants it. At the same time, he put the rest of the contenders in the 154-pound division on notice.
“Truly my best is yet to come,” he said. “At the age of 29, I am a better fighter than I’ve been [in the past], and I will continue to be a better fighter than I was tonight.”
For complete coverage of Trout vs Hernandez, visit our fight page.
Jorge Lara and Jesus Rojas fight to a technical draw
For two rounds on Tuesday night, Jorge Lara looked like he was well on his way to yet another victory, this time against once-beaten Jesus Rojas.
From the opening bell of the 126-pound battle at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, Lara pressed the action, landed clean shots to the head and body, and easily absorbed what little punishment his opponent dished out.
Then, with one clash of heads midway through the third round, everything turned.
Cut over his right eye by a headbutt that referee Jack Reiss ruled accidental, Lara suddenly struggled to find his target. In turn, Rojas became the aggressor, repeatedly attacking Lara’s eye with his stinging jab. Then in the fifth round, another headbutt opened a gash next to Lara’s left eye.
At the end of the sixth round, with Jorge Lara unable to continue because of impaired vision in his left eye, Reiss called an end to the bout. The scheduled 10-rounder went to the scorecards, with all three judges scoring the fight 57-57 for a technical draw.
Lara (27-0-2, 19 KOs) was still comfortably ahead after the fourth round, but as his vision worsened, momentum clearly shifted to Rojas (21-1-2, 15 KOs), who won the final two rounds on all three scorecards
After the fight was halted and before the decision was announced, Lara had to be restrained a couple of times as he barked at Rojas and Rojas’ corner, believing the headbutts were anything but accidental.
“I’m very upset with the way this went,” said Lara, who had won seven of his previous eight fights by knockout. “Rojas is a dirty fighter. I came to fight and show people what this sport is all about. My eye kept getting worse and worse as the fight went on, and there was no way I could continue.”
For complete coverage on Lara vs Rojas, visit our fight page.