Why a Move Down in Weight May Be Too Little, Too Late for Austin Trout
One of the ugly truths of this sport are boxers going on longer than they should. That is particularly true for older fighters who were once world champions. They look at the landscape and their younger contemporaries. Often the belief is that they can return to former glory if you just put it all together for one last run. The latest case of the sport’s old heads feeling this way is former two-time world junior middleweight champion Austin Trout (32-5-1, 18 KOs).
On February 6, the 35-year-old from Las Cruces, New Mexico dominated Juan Garcia (21-7-2, 12 KOs) over ten rounds at Polideportivo Sur in Chihuahua, Mexico. It was his first time in the ring in a year. What may perk the interest of some is that Trout has decided to continue with his career as a welterweight. After spending his entire career as a junior middleweight, the grizzled vet will now campaign as a welterweight.
The seeds were rooted in 2020, when he challenged former two-division world champion Amir Khan to a fight at 147-pounds. In February of that year, Trout weighed 149 ¼ during a second-round TKO win over Rosbel Montoya.
Leading up to the fight with Garcia, Trout stated that his goal was to become more active. The goal is to put himself in a position to fight for a world welterweight title.
IS THIS WISHFUL THINKING?
Here are the issues. The human body is a tricky thing. More than most athletes, boxers must be responsible regarding their weight. Given his age and punishment over a 14+ years professional career, is it wise to move down in weight now? Trout’s body is comfortable training and fighting at a certain weight. Any adjustment can result in a fighter competing in a weakened state. Late in his career, former heavyweight champion Chris Byrd decided to move down to light heavyweight. The additional weight loss resulted in a loss of strength. Additionally, his punch resistance decreased. It was a disaster for Byrd.
Further inspection reveals a decline in skills. At one time in his career, he was someone that elite fighters at 154 pounds were not too anxious to fight. That is no longer the case. Trout struggled to a ten-round draw against Terrell Gausha in 2019. No disrespect, but Gausha is far from an elite fighter. If they would have fought ten years ago, Trout would win going away. Sadly, this looks to be another case of reaching for past heights only to come up with thin air.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.