Las Crucen Trout takes on Cotto Showdown in NY
Dec 01, 2012 (Menafn - El Paso Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Tonight they make that walk, that adrenaline-flooded walk toward glory or failure ... walking the walk toward center ring in that grandest of arenas, Madison Square Garden ... Miguel Cotto walking toward what he hopes will be a fifth world championship belt ... Austin Trout walking toward what he hopes will leave his footprints in the sands of boxing history.
Technically, the 12-round duel between the aggressive Cotto and the slick, quick Trout will be for Trout's WBA 154-pound title belt. But, in reality, it is for that opportunity to step into boxing's mega-spotlight -- a place where Cotto hopes to remain, a place Trout hopes to gain.
"Everything is good," Trout said Friday after making the 154-pound weight limit right on the button. "The game plan is set in stone. The only thing left to do now is to execute it."
The Las Cruces world champion has had to fight his way to this point -- operating in the shadows for so long, making his way to the edge of the limelight and now, finally getting that special moment in time when he can walk the walk to that special spotlight. Trout is 25-0 with 14 knockouts. He is taller and longer than Cotto, who is 37-3 with 30 knockouts. He is a southpaw, which is sometimes a puzzle for fighters.
Of course, Cotto (who weighed in at 153.8 poounds Friday) is a legend already, a veteran who has seen every style. He is in his element, fighting in Madison Square Garden for the eighth time, having won all seven with the
electricity generated by the Puerto Rican crowd.
Cotto said, "Austin's team mentioned that he went to Panama and beat a Panamanian guy and they were in Guadalajara to fight Rigoberto Alvarez (for the world title).EHe doesn't have any of them in front of him.EHe's in New York and he is going to have Miguel Cotto in front of him.EIt's going to be a great fight. Saturday night is going to be a great night for Puerto Rico and for New York."
But then Cotto seemed to backpedal a bit from his own belief in the Garden and his fans.
"At the end of the road, only Austin, myself and the referee will be in the ring," he said. "You have to do whatever you have to do to be the boxer you want to be."
Trout knows where he wants to be -- in that mega-spotlight, not just a world champion. Friday, he got a taste of that experience when he walked into the Affinia Manhattan Hotel for the weigh-in.
"Austin was just mobbed," said Trout's trainer Louie Burke. "It was surreal. It really was. There were media, there were fans looking for autographs, there were fans wanting pictures. We literally could not move. Like I said, it really was surreal."
When asked if he was a rock star, Trout laughed and said, "Working on it."
Moments later, the Las Cruces fighter said, "It's really fun. Somebody asked me if I was going to be ready for all this. I told them I was born for this. If I'm not ready for all this by now, I'm never going to be. It's fun."
Reflecting on the moment, Trout said, "You have to be mature to handle all this. God has a plan. I've had to make a long journey to get to this point -- fighting people all over the world in their backyards. I probably wasn't ready for all this when I was younger. My whole career has brought me to this point. I'm a very visual person. It did get frustrating at times, waiting and waiting for fights, waiting for a moment like this. I felt I fought everybody on the list, Marvin Hagler style. But it's all on God's time. Looking back, I see the plan you laid out for me."
Trout, though, knows he is in yet another fighter's backyard.
"I know I have to put a lot of leather on him (Cotto) to get a decision in Madison Square Garden," Trout said. "I can't spend too much energy worrying about judges and officials. All I can do is focus on what I can do. If they quote-unquote steal it from me, that's between them and God."
Burke said his fighter is ready for this moment.
"Austin's in great shape," Burke said. "He stays in good shape. But we spent a month at altitude in Ruidoso. The sparring was good, the work was good, the altitude has him ready to go. We know this is a moment that could change Austin's life. This is what he's been working for. And he's ready for it all."
And so the sand funnels through the hour glass, erasing itself as the moment draws near for Austin Trout and Miguel Cotto to walk that walk -- a walk toward glory or failure ... a walk toward etching one's footprints into the sands of boxing history.
Bill Knight may be reached at email@example.com; 546-6171. Follow him on Twitter @BillKnightept.
-- What: Austin Trout vs. Miguel Cotto in a WBA world junior middleweight title fight.
-- When: Today; TV coverage begins at 7 p.m.
-- Where: Madison Square Garden in New York City.
-- Records: Trout is 25-0 with 14 knockouts; Cotto is 37-3 with 30 knockouts.
-- TV: Showtime.
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