It's the phrase that makes fans of the sport cringe; "Boxing is dead."
Well if the sport is dead, it sure has a funny way of showing it, because boxing has already had its fair share of memorable moments in 2013. Take the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado rematch for the WBO light-welterweight title, for example. Or Timothy Bradley regaining respect in boxing circles everywhere by winning a hard-fought 12-round seesaw affair against Ruslan Provodnikov. And at 48-years-old, Bernard Hopkins putting on a boxing clinic in shocking Tavoris Cloud for the IBF light-heavyweight crown.
However, the fight that could eclipse them all is this Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, when Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (41-0-1) takes on Austin "No Doubt" Trout (26-0) for the unification of the WBC/WBA light-middleweight titles.
|Photo by: Getty Images|
So let's break down some of Alvarez and Trout's biggest moments, and why each fighter can win on Saturday.
Biggest Alvarez Win: Round 5 TKO over Kermit Cintron - November 11th, 2011
Alvarez has beaten bigger names, but his most impressive win was against the former IBF welterweight titlist. He dominated the slower Cintron, consistently backing him up against the ropes and fighting extremely well on the inside. "Canelo" also did an excellent job of cutting of the ring when Cintron was in trouble. Alvarez may not have a great resume, but this was a very important win in the development of the 22-year-old.
Biggest Trout Win: Unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto - December 1st, 2012
Before the Cotto win, Trout was relatively unknown on the boxing scene despite his perfect record. Trout went into Madison Square Garden (where Cotto had won all seven of his previous fights) and surprisingly had an easy night against the former world champion. "No Doubt" showed superior boxing skills and movement in outpointing the favored Cotto.
How Alvarez Can Win:
Alvarez's body work at age 22 is already some of the best in boxing, and that will be the foundation for a win on Saturday night. Cutting of the ring is a common tactic for a puncher trying to catch a boxer who is quicker on his feet, and Alvarez will have to constantly pin Trout against the ropes and deliver body shots and short uppercuts. Alvarez has started slow in his last few fights, and he may not have the chance to catch up if Trout outboxes him in the first half of the contest. "Canelo" will also have to throw more combinations than he has in the past and not look for the one-punch knockout
How Trout Can Win:
Trout must use his jab early and often to keep the hard-pressing Alvarez off balance. "No Doubt" must also use constant movement to confuse Alvarez. When both men are fighting on the inside, Trout will have to throw the uppercut and then quickly move from side-to-side. Trout threw 150 more punches than Cotto did when the two faced off, and he will have to have a similar work rate to beat Alvarez, especially if he wants to win a decision.
Over the years, fans have been weary of bogus decisions in the state of Texas, and for good reason (see Pernell Whitaker vs. Julio Cesar Chavez in 1993). Many people feel that Trout will have to fully dominate if he wants to win by the scorecards. Trout is the better boxer at this point in his career and is more equipped to go the full length of the fight, so if it's judged correctly, he has the advantage. I believe Alvarez could have trouble with the lateral movement of Trout and the constant jabs he'll throw. Most of the guys that Alvarez recently fought (Shane Mosley, Josesito Lopez and Kermit Cintron) all stood right in front of him and made for fairly easy targets. Trout has the quickness and defense to frustrate, so I expect him to win a spilt-decision.