Boxing has lacked true marquee bouts of late, but there has been no shortage of big fights in April. Canelo Alvarez and Austin Trout provided us with the latest exciting fight—one that will open new doors for the sport.
The fighters entered Saturday’s matchup undefeated, and what followed was mostly expected. While Alvarez was the favorite to remain undefeated, Trout put up a fight worthy of the billing and showcased two boxers with incredibly bright futures.
The bout also proved how badly boxing fans want to see the best going toe to toe.
We got a taste of that April 13 when Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux squared off at Radio City Music Hall. The outcomes were very different in the two fights, but the big picture has come into focus as a result. Fans want to see the best fighters in the biggest fights, and boxing has delivered.
Despite wildly inconsistent scoring (115-112, 116-111, 118-109), Alvarez and Trout put on a show Saturday worthy of the hype. Alvarez with his striking volume and Trout with his calculated attacks, the pair of undefeated boxers left it all in the ring.
Trout’s willingness to put his 26-0 record on the line also highlights the attitude boxing needs from its budding superstars. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have never been willing to step up to the plate (for various reasons), but there’s a new game in town. The younger generation is creating a revival.
This fight wasn’t all about the money (as we have seen from so many top-ranked fighters). There was more to it than pay-per-view subscriptions and the size of the purse—exactly what boxing needs to sustain both.
Alvarez’s brother Rigoberto lost the WBA title to Trout in 2011, and the 22-year-old was as motivated to avenge that loss as he was to improve on his 41-0-1 record (as quoted by USA Today):
“My brother was a big motivation for this. I did this for him. He beat my brother, and that's my blood.”
There were bigger fights to be made, but not by much. Alvarez and Trout are two of the most promising young fighters in the sport, and the exciting bout (paired with the motivations behind it) opens the door for boxing to give fans the fights they want to see.
As long as the new faces of the sport are willing to take on the biggest fights, the money will be there. Boxing no longer needs Pacquiao vs. Mayweather to sell seats and pay-per-view subscriptions.
It’s too early to predict the long-term effects of a fight like we saw Saturday night, but all indications point to a boost in future marquee bouts. As long as the best fighters are willing to fight and promoters are willing to make it happen, the money will be there.
Trout may not have come away with a victory Saturday, but everyone won.