Austin Trout out to prove he’s still championship material

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Former super welterweight titleholder confident he will regain 154-pound belt Saturday night when he faces Jermell Charlo on Showtime.

Boxing fans have always loved fighters who face the best opposition. Many say they’re willing to fight the best, but often, business concerns become roadblocks.

Austin “No Doubt” Trout (31-4, 17 KOs) is a rare modern boxer who has consistently walked the walk by fighting the best fighters in his division. He has faced the likes of Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo, Saul Alvarez, and Jarrett Hurd. He defeated future Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cotto in a lopsided decision at Madison Square Garden. Win or lose, the 32-year-old has consistently turned out superb performances against some of the best and trickiest boxers in the sport.

On Saturday, June 9, Austin continues that tradition when he challenges WBC super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) from Staples Center in Los Angeles. The bout will be the co-feature to Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares II on a Showtime-televised broadcast at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Trout does not underestimate the champion.

“I need to use my footwork and my ability to adapt,” he said. “The footwork is gonna keep him off balance, keep him from throwing those big bombs.

“We’re gonna change up depending on what he’s showing. We’ve had different sparring partners: we have a guy who has speed, a guy who’s tall and has a strong, quick right hand, and then we have guys who come and try to bulldog us. We’re making sure we’re ready for whatever he throws at us.”

Despite his experience, Trout still studies the sport to continue growing. That and his conditioning contribute to his career success.

“I’m a student of the game, so I watch and stay around boxing. I try to stay in the gym. Especially when I turned like 26, 27, I noticed I wasn’t able to snap back into shape as fast as I used to.”

Several years ago, as a contender, Austin had the opportunity to spar with world class fighters, including long-reigning middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez. That experience undoubtedly helped Trout progress to the next level of his craft.

I hope they continue to sleep on me. I’m gonna wake ‘em up abruptly June 9. I can’t wait. It’s all been written. I just have to finish the mission. Former 154-pound Champ Austin Trout

“The first time I sparred with Sergio Martinez, I was [also] sparring with Margarito. He was about to fight Pacquaio. I’d spar with Margarito in the morning, come home and take a nap, and spar with Martinez in the afternoon. I remember Sergio told me, ‘You’re a maquina.’ You’re a machine.

“And I sparred with Lucas Matthysse when he was about to fight Zab Judah. I got a lot of rounds with some great dudes—not just holding my own, but putting up some damn good fights. It was a great experience and showed me I had championship material early on.”

Like all top fighters, Trout values the most fundamental of all punches: the jab. A multi-faceted southpaw, he knows how to use it to good effect.

“Southpaws, they think you’ve gotta go left hand crazy. But in all honesty the jab is still just as important and even more dangerous because it’s closer: when you’re southpaw against a right hander, your jab is right there,” Trout said.

“If I can touch ‘em with the right hand jab, I for sure can touch ‘em with the left hand. It’s a good measuring stick. I like to go jab crazy—my best fights are when I constantly have my jab pumping. It’s usually the difference in the fight: one person is jabbing more than the other.”

For this bout, Trout has returned to training with world-class coach Barry Hunter.

“The thing with him is he doesn’t settle for nothing less than the best. When you’re dog tired and you feel like you can’t give no more, he’ll straight up tell you, ‘You’re sharper than that! Come on, give it to me!’ That reassurance makes you dig deep to give your best. If you’re giving your best in training, you make a threshold for later.”

But there’s a challenge in getting the balance right while preparing for a fight.

“It’s a fine line between giving your all in training and leaving [everything] in the gym. I feel like [Hunter] has made a lot of adjustments over the years where he may have over-trained some fighters, but he learned. That’s reassuring that you have a coach that’s still learning and doesn’t know it all like a lot of coaches pretend.”

Trout had one final message for the naysayers who may be overlooking him.

“I hope they continue to sleep on me. I’m gonna wake ‘em up abruptly June 9. They’ll announce me, ‘And the new WBC champion of the world.’ I can’t wait. It’s all been written. I just have to finish the mission.”

For a closer look at Charlo vs Trout, check out our fight page.

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