The last time Austin Trout faced a fellow southpaw, it was Erislandy Lara, the Cuban technician who made for a long, frustrating night for the New Mexico native.
Joey Hernandez will be just the fifth lefty former 154-pound world champion Austin Trout will have faced in 32 career fights when the two of them tangle Tuesday night (Fox Sports 1, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) in a scheduled 10-round bout at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles.
Not that the 29-year-old Trout expects it to be a major strategic wrinkle.
“I’m out here sparring with some good southpaws,” he said. “It’s not my favorite, but it’s definitely something I can handle.
“He believes he’s a power puncher, so I’m going to expect him to come and throw a good shot, big bombs. His only losses other than [a 2009 draw and a 2010 loss to Ed] Paredes have been to top fighters. We don’t look at him as a slouch.”
At Monday's weigh-in for their contracted 156-pound bout, Trout hit the scale at 156 pounds, while Hernandez initially came in at 157.2. Hernandez was given two hours to shed the necessary 1.2 pounds and avoid being fined, and he did so, also officially weighing in at 156.
Besides Paredes, the only other fighters to defeat Hernandez have been 154-pound world champ Cornelius Bundrage and undefeated Julian Williams. Both fighters will be in action within two weeks of Trout’s fight, as Bundrage defends his world title against Jermall Charlo on September 12 and Williams takes on Luciano Cuello on September 22.
Add those to some of the other big-name bouts coming up soon, and you’ve got a stacked couple of months for the division.
So what happens when the dust settles? Options. That’s what. And plenty of them.
“The winners can match up for an end-of-the-year fight. It’s perfect,” Trout said. “We all will have options at the end of September. I think a win [over Hernandez] is going to set up a good big-money fight with one of these contenders. A loss means we’re going to be back behind the curve struggling to get back to relevance.
“So we’re not looking too far ahead, but this is definitely going to get me to the next level where I belong. I want to make myself the guy to beat at this class. After Hernandez, then I’ll get a top guy, and when I beat him, I feel like I’ll be the guy to beat.”
For complete coverage of Trout vs Hernandez, visit our fight page.