Not many people outside the boxing community knew the name Austin Trout before Saturday night. But with his decisive unanimous-decision victory over Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto in front of over 13,000 hostile fans, that's about to change.
Trout dominated Cotto and became the first man to beat him at MSG, winning in stunningly lopsided fashion by utilizing his jab and forcing Cotto to fight from the outside where he was never able to get his offensive attack working.
With the win Trout successfully defended his WBA super welterweight championship and left his foe battered, bruised and beaten in a fight few expected him to win.
One of the few who felt he would win was Austin Trout himself, who said he was treating this match as his one and only shot at boxing glory.
He knew how hard it was to get to this stage. He took the long road here, often traveling the globe, not just for big fights, but for any fights at all.
Even with the WBA championship, which he had to fight for and win in Mexico, nobody was in a rush to face him.
And perhaps now we know why.
Trout is a tremendous boxer. He's a southpaw with a long reach, stiff jab and a confidence about him that says he can beat anybody if he just gets a chance.
He now has reason to be hopeful that more chances will come his way.
In speaking with me earlier in the week, Austin Trout described boxing as a house, and said he was forced to climb through the window to get inside.
Now that he's beaten Miguel Cotto, he's not only in the house, he's got his own set of keys. And the view from inside is much nicer than looking through that window.
"It looks good. I'm happy that I can sit on the couch and kick my feet up. But that doesn't mean in no way that I'm gonna get comfortable. This is where the hard work starts," Trout told me at the post-fight press conference.
"I understand staying on top is harder than getting to the top. In some eyes I might not even be on the top yet. I'm just gonna keep working, keep climbing."
The next logical mountain to climb for Trout could be the man that would in all likelihood have faced Miguel Cotto in May had he won tonight—Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
Like Trout, Alvarez also holds a belt at 154 pounds, and was at ringside for the fight, presumably to scout Cotto.
Trout was as decisive in describing who he wants next as he was in defeating Cotto in the ring. In one word—Canelo.
"Canelo should be next. That would be my dream scenario. He wants to fight May 5 and I think that's perfect timing," said Trout.
He also didn't hesitate, in somewhat uncharacteristic fashion, to take a little shot at his potential future opponent.
"To me logically in my mind he should be wanting to fight me. Not to mention I have a belt. Why would you not want to unify? There's nothing left for him to do besides fight a real junior middleweight."
In calling out Canelo Alvarez, Trout also pointed out what has become a frequent criticism of the rising Mexican star—that he has yet to face a true junior middleweight challenger.
He would certainly get that in Austin Trout, who after tonight could force people to ask the question—is Canelo Alvarez ready for Austin Trout—and not the other way around.
The product of Las Cruces, New Mexico has now proved that he's a legitimate champion and force to be reckoned with at 154 pounds. A fight with Alvarez would be another great stylistic matchup between a boxer and a banger.
While he is certainly ready, it wouldn't be a surprise at all if the people at Golden Boy Promotions find a way to keep this fight from happening.
It's another in that long line of high-risk, low-reward matchups, and with the emphasis on big-money, get-rich-quick type fights it may never happen.
But it should. The best fight the best.
And Miguel Cotto deserves a ton of credit for taking on a challenge that nobody else wanted. They must've known something the rest of us did not.
If there was any doubt, there is "no doubt" now. Austin Trout is for real.
And he might just be the best fighter not named Mayweather in the 154-pound division.
Kevin McRae is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report who covers all things boxing. Unless otherwise noted all quotes were obtained by the writer personally.
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