When Austin "No Doubt" Trout faces Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in a light middleweight championship unification bout on Saturday night, it will be a fight between two of boxing's rising stars. When it's all said and done, though, Trout will be the last one standing.
There aren't many "super fights" in boxing these days, as star power and popularity have waned, but Trout vs. Alvarez is as good as it gets. It offers a glimpse into the potentially bright future of boxing, particularly in the light middleweight division.
Trout is coming off the biggest victory of his career as he outlasted Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision back in December, and he is obviously looking to build upon that. Trout's body of work is extremely impressive as he holds a perfect 26-0 record, but he will be dealing with an opponent who is also unblemished.
The 22-year-old Alvarez is five years younger than Trout, but he has a much longer professional record with a mark of 41-0-1. Alvarez is considered by many to be the best prospect in boxing, although the Mexican phenom doesn't have a signature win that measures up to Trout's triumph against Cotto.
With that said, Alvarez is favored and expected to come out on top, but Trout certainly shouldn't be dismissed. Very few people thought that Trout would beat Cotto; however, he was able to use his deadly left hand and superior strength to batter Cotto throughout the fight. Cotto obviously isn't the same fighter he once was, but he gave Floyd Mayweather a run for his money recently.
Trout will definitely have his hands full with Alvarez as he is an extremely experienced and polished fighter for his age, but Trout has shown a great deal of toughness and has a definite will to win. That isn't to say that Alvarez hasn't shown something similar, but Trout is a noted grinder who is able to manufacture decision victories at will.
Alvarez usually depends upon overpowering and outclassing his opponents, but he won't be able to do that against Trout. They are essentially on equal footing, and this is clearly Alvarez's greatest challenge to date. Even though Trout is coming off a huge win, the pressure appears to be firmly on Canelo's shoulders, so Trout can enter the fight loose.
Also, Alvarez is potentially dealing with a very distracting situation. According to Miguel Rivera of BoxingScene.com, a warrant for Alvarez's arrest is out in Mexico stemming from an alleged altercation with boxer Ulises "Archie" Solis in 2011.
Canelo has reportedly denied any involvement, but this news has ballooned over the past couple days and is well-known within the boxing media. Alvarez clearly knows about it as well, and it's certainly possible that he could have a lot of things on his mind during his fight with Trout.
Trout already has an advantage in several areas, but this news has to give him the mental edge as well. Trout has never lacked confidence, and it's likely that he is more confident now than ever. Trout enters the fight with a clear head and little to lose compared to Alvarez, so he can go out there and execute his game plan freely.
It certainly wouldn't be a shock if Alvarez overcame the controversy and won the fight, but Trout is simply in a much better position and should be able to pull off the upset.
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