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“No Doubt” Trout leaves no doubt:

trout72By Donald Crisp: Less than one day after the fight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Austin “No Doubt” Trout left Trout with his first defeat, the internet waves are buzzing with controversy from the few, yet persistent naysayers who refuse to accept defeat, despite a poised concession to that effect by Trout himself.

There is no doubt. Mr. “No Doubt” himself spelled it out quite clearly, even for those who are hard of hearing or plainly, “special.”

I have watched the fight three times now. Each time, the fight appears to be less and less close. First, let’s discuss the factors that are involved in scoring a boxing match: knockdowns, ring generalship, clean and effective punching, defense (!), and impact of punches landed.

In terms of knockdowns, this one is easy: Canelo introduced Trout to the canvass. Trout had not been knocked previously in his professional career. This factor clearly weighs in favor of Canelo.

Next, let’s look at ring generalship. Ring generalship refers to a number of different things: controlling the pace of the fight (knowing when to let the gloves go, when to hold back, etc.), making the other fighter adjust to your style (making him fight your fight), adjusting to the other fighter (not allowing the fighter to neutralize you), etc. Canelo was more efficient with his total punches; he landed 29% of his punches versus Trout’s 20%. Canelo landed 43% of his power shots, versus Trout’s 27%. Canelo fought in spurts. Trout threw over 300 more punches than Canelo, but because he was considerably less efficient, all he really did was tire himself out. He certainly wasn’t tagging Canelo, much less causing any damage to speak of.

Many have opined that because Trout was busier, he should have been awarded more rounds.  Being “busy” does not mean much if all you’re doing is hitting hair or gloves.  Trout definitely had his moments. However, when you look at the fight in its totality, it appears that Canelo had more command of the tempo. He attacked at his leisure (which is completely different than saying he was “lazy”), thwarted 80% of Trout’s punches, and controlled Trout’s offense. Therefore, this factor weighs in favor of Canelo.

The most interesting and [typically] undervalued factor is defense. If there is one factor that I hope is undisputed from last night, it is that Canelo displayed a defensive prowess that we previously did not see in him. He was dodging and weaving like some of the greats. When you are watching the fight for the first time, it is difficult to appreciate all the different skills that are being put to use in real time. However, when you get to go back and look for certain skills, like defense, you get to really appreciate the skill level that Canelo demonstrated. Some rounds were nothing short of a boxing clinic in terms of defense. Trout is no joke. Yet, Canelo dodged 80% of his punches. How is that NOT impressive? Numbers talk. In this case, the numbers left “No Doubt”: Canelo’s defense was superb. Therefore, this factor weighs in favor of Canelo.

In terms of clean and effective punches, Canelo threw less punches (both jabs and power shots), but landed at a much higher percentage. In addition, the punches that he landed carried much more power than Trout’s punches, most of which consisted of jobs. We didn’t see much of Trout’s left hook, and that’s a credit to Canelo’s command of the fight and ring generalship. Therefore, this factor weighs in favor of Canelo.

Lastly, the impact of the punches landed was visible. Trout was sent to the canvas for the first time in his professional career 13 seconds into the 7th round when he was caught with a crushing straight right hand. Trout was able to splice together a few combinations here and there, but beyond that, Canelo was the more effective aggressor.

When you analyze the fight using the appropriate criteria, it becomes clear that Canelo is the deserving victor. There isn’t much meaningful dissent as to that point. Yet still, the persistent naysayer have thrown out excuses like weight, home court advantage, open scoring, red hair, 4/20, etc. Let’s briefly address each:

Weight: They both weighed above 170: Trout weighed 171, Canelo weighed 172. Consider this excuse “dispensed.”

Home Court Advantage: I said it before: Canelo is a rockstar. He single-handedly packed nearly 40,000 people into the Aladome. He could have fought in the Antarctica and had “home court advantage” because the reality is that he is a pretty popular kid and many more people would have traveled to see Canelo in Antarctica than Trout. Excuse dispensed.

Open Scoring: The scoring applied to both fighters. To the extent that it served as a disadvantage to Trout, that is only because he was losing the fight. Had he been winning the fight, there would have been no “disadvantage.” Now, whether open scoring is right for boxing is an entirely different question. I think it is not. I hate it. It sucks the life out of the drama that attracts us to boxing. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is that the open scoring could have negatively affected both fighters. It will always negatively affect the losing fighter. In this case, the losing fighter was Trout. It could have been Canelo, but it wasn’t. Excuse dispensed.

The point is that there is no controversy as to who won. Say what you will about the scorecards. Take that up with the powers that be. Write your Congressman, phone the Senator, go on a hunger strike, whatever. But don’t pin that on Canelo because he did not judge the fight. The kid filled the Aladome. He made a top fighter look mediocre. He showed us a different set of boxing skills that we did not previously know he possessed (defense). Let’s face it: the dust settled and there is NO DOUBT.

On to the next.

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