LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - After a monumental victory over Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden in New York, WBA junior middlweight champion of the world Austin "No Doubt" Trout continues to gain fight fans on both sides of the border -even outside of his home base in the Las Cruces, NM / El Paso, TX area.
Unlike his most recent bout against Cotto, where Trout was the underdog, (despite coming in as the unbeaten defending champ), a large group of boxing die-hards have "No Doubt" as the favorite to beat Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on April 20th, and take his WBC world championship belt. (Although many Las Vegas sites have Trout as a 2-1 underdog).
"I'm full of confidence," said Trout just before leaving Las Cruces for San Antonio, "I'm tip-toeing on that cocky line. I'm ready to go."
Trout is 26-0 and holds the WBA title. Canelo is 41-0-1. Both fighters are undefeated, and one man has to walk away from the Alamodome in San Antonio on Saturday night with the first setback of his career. Austin Trout tells KVIA ABC-7, it -won't- be him stepping foot out of the ring with a loss.
"The only prediction that I know I can fulfill is that I know that I'm going to win," said Trout, "My hands will be raised at the end of the night. If he's going to fall before the 12th round, that's up to him if he can take it. If not, then it's just going to be a long night for him."
ABC-7 Sports Director Paul Cicala recently took the 2.5 hour drive from the El Paso/Juarez/Las Cruces area to Trout's training camp in Ruidoso, New Mexico -- over 7 thousand feet above sea level. Trout told him, the high-elevation-training has him in even better shape, and the former Mayfield High School standout is ready to battle for 12 rounds against Canelo.
Canelo has knocked out 30 of his 42 opponents as a professional with a relentless, in-your-face-pace. However, Trout tells ABC-7 he's not worried.
"I grew up fighting that Mexican style. (Canelo) throws good and fast combinations but, I'm a slick guy and I'm usually able to neutralize all that with the footwork. But I'm going to come back with my own fast combinations. We've been trying very hard to match, if not -up- the intensity. I'm more than confident that we'll be able to neutralize things his way."
Trout was born in El Paso, TX, just a few miles from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He was raised in Las Cruces, a half an hour drive from El Paso. It's a borderland region with plenty of Hispanic fighters with similar styles to Canelo, who was born in Jalisco, Mexico.
"He's a bit of a banger. He's strong. He's fast. He's young, but, I've been fighting his style my whole life. I'm from New Mexico. It shouldn't be hard to figure out how he's going to come, and how he's going to bring it."
Despite having a big Mexican-American fan base from the El Paso/Juarez/Las Cruces area, Trout still goes into the match knowing most of the Latino fans from the San Antonio-area will be cheering for Canelo. Also, a big contingent from Monterrey and other parts of Northern Mexico are expected to pack the Alamodome to cheer for their countryman.
"They can boo outside of the ring, it still won't help him," says Trout. "I have a feeling that Trout-Nation will be in full force. I know a lot of Las Cruces and borderland folks are going to come out. We might have a little crowd of our own."
When ABC-7 asked Trout if he has anything to say to his die-hard aficionados along the border before heading to San Antonio for fight week, he proudly said, "Las Cruces, I'm coming back as a unified champion. I'm bringing two belts (Saul Canelo Alvarez's WBC belt and Trout's current WBC belt) back to title town. I'm going to show them why they call (Las Cruces) title town. "