Austin Trout's arrival as A Fighter To Be Taken Seriously followed his impressive decision win over Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden last December. That earned him Saturday's Showtime-televised shot against Canelo Alvarez, and the fact that he is considered to have something close to a 50-50 shot to score another upset win says a lot about both his style and that of his opponent.
Like Cotto, Alvarez is known for the deliberate but forceful pressure he applies during the course of a fight. Neither man is renowned for his pace, for fancy footwork or flashy combinations. Instead, they generally walk their foes down, in the process slowing them with heavy-handed punches, and looking to soften them up for a late stoppage.
Except for a couple of rounds when Cotto's pressure appeared as if it might tell, Trout was able to neutralize him by utilizing his superior reach, lateral movement and footwork. Cotto was never able to get set to throw his punches, and by the time he closed the distance between himself and Trout, the American had long since slid sideways to launch his own blows from a different position.
So does Trout think that facing and beating Cotto gives him an advantage going into Saturday's contest?
"It was good practice," he said with a smile, speaking to ESPN.com following a public workout on Wednesday. "I've fought [Canelo's] style of fight my whole life, being from Las Cruces, N.M., and fighting in this area. I'm not sure he's fought my style."
Although there are similarities between Cotto and Alvarez, Trout acknowledges that Canelo is a younger, bigger, fresher fighter than the Puerto Rican icon.
"The formula is the same. But we know they're not the same," he said. "Canelo's in his prime, he's undefeated, he's not battle-worn, he's still got a lot of pop and life left him. Although the formula is the same, we had to up the intensity. We're not treating it as the same fight."