Canelo-Trout: Styles make fights and no guarantees in boxing
By Gilbert Leal: First of all, this isn’t really an article. its just some guys opinion and prediction. Anyway, I’ll start by saying that this is boxing so nothing is for certain. Take Manny Pacquiao being knocked out in emphatic fashion by Juan Manuel Marquez for example. So all this certainty I have heard regarding this fight is kind of shocking and just leads me to believe that we have a lot of inexperienced fight fans here.
Now about the fighters; we all know WBC junior middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KO’s) is very young and is still just a rising star who has only proven that, as of late, he does pretty well at beating decent, but still hand picked opponents as well as a couple crafty and experienced veterans one of which is definitely a future hall of famer. But he is strong with good fundamentals for boxing and a good eye for counter-punching since I would classify him as a boxer-puncher with an emphasis on puncher.
Now, looking at WBC junior middleweight champion Austin Trout (26-0, 14 KO’s), we seem to be forgetting that he’s not some extremely experienced fighter himself. Looking at the numbers alone we see that Canelo has almost double the amount of fights than Trout. Be that as it may, for the purpose of my comment we will acknowledge the fact that trout has had to make his way up the ranks the hard way fighting anyone who would accept. But the same point applies to Trout that applied to Canelo. He has proven that he can beat some pretty decent opposition as well as an old veteran or two, most recently his decision victory over Miguel Cotto in a fight he wasn’t really expected to win, so props to Trout for that. As far as styles go though, let’s categorize Trout as a tall, crafty boxer with good speed and reach. A role he performs well from his southpaw stance.
So now we have a rangy south paw boxer in Trout versus a shorter powerful, more puncher than boxer in Canelo. A match up that seems to date back to the beginning of boxing history where, lets face it, the outcomes have always been crap shoots. And the decisions and calls involved were often controversial. Focusing more on boxer versus puncher, take the Julio Cesar Chavez – Meldrick Taylor fight for instance. There couldn’t have been a more hotly debated fight in that time and using that fight as a blueprint, we can see where both styles can be effective.
Now focusing on the April 20th bout between Canelo and Trout we have an idea of how the fight may go. Round 1, the obvious feel out round, generally goes to the safer style of the boxer unless something dramatic happens, and for the sake of my argument, I will stay away from what ifs though. After the feel out round 1 we can see the fight settle into a slower paced fight with a lot of right jabs and lead right hooks form Trout which Canelo will either be trying to slip or parry with limited success early on due to the odd angles from a south paw fighter. That pattern will continue only broken up by the occasional follow up “power” left hands from from Trout, but due to his limited power Canelo will be able to close distance if Trout remains flat footed for any stretch giving Canelo a chance to showcase his power body and head shots. Trout will most likely try to match Canelo in numbers during these exchanges and most likely succeed. The early rounds will go to Trout though the exchanges will serve Canelo well going into the later rounds.
Trout will have built up a commanding lead due to his boxers hit and move style. But by the 7th or 8th round we could easily see these exchanges occurring more frequently as Trout’s speed and movement slow down and as Canelo’s timing and adjustments improve. Though boxing will still most likely be the dominating theme, Canelo will begin to win rounds due to effective and clean power punching from the middle rounds to later and championship rounds.
Now these last rounds are where both fighters can win or lose the fight. If Trout begins to settle in on the ropes like he did against Cotto, who was smaller with less power at the higher weights, then he could be easily giving away a win by K.O. or by points if Canelo can earn back points by dropping Trout once or twice. Canelo losing would be a lot more subtle and less dramatic than him coming back for a win. Trout would just need to keep boxing without allowing Canelo work his way in or counter over lazy punches by maintaining constant movement and fast hands. Canelo just needs to put in the work during training camp and hope he can slow trout down and overcome the speed.
All that being said, I see Canelo pulling out a late stoppage win through genuinely hard and methodical work, given that he can maintain the pace. Now if Trout wants to press the action because he doesn’t think Canelo has developed his man strength yet, like I heard about is true, then I believe he will experience a rude and even earlier awakening than he was bargaining for.