At this point, Austin Trout is no longer one of the elite fighters in the world at 154 pounds. At 32, he might be past his prime. But Saturday night in El Paso he will fight an eight-round bout against journeyman Juan De Angel, far down on a card where Devon Alexander vs. Victor Ortiz is the main event. He deserves better. He is, by far, the most relevant fighter who will grace the ring in the Don Haskins Convention Center this weekend.
Trout will come into this fight on a two-fight losing streak. But consider who has defeated him. Jermall Charlo topped him in a relatively competitive fight in May 2016. Charlo is a top-five fighter in middleweight division. I’d give Charlo a decent shot against Gennady Golovkin, a wide-spread choice as the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
Trout’s last fight came this past October, against Jarret Hurd. It was another competitive fight, although Trout ended up getting stopped in the corner following Round 10.
Trout was heroic in defeat, but it was clear that the 27-year-old Hurd is part of the sport’s future and Trout is not. He is still better than the overwhelming majority of super welterweights on the planet and deserves better than to be on Victor Ortiz’s undercard.
Trout’s other two losses were against Erislandy Lara, a nightmare for any fighter, and Canelo Alvarez, who is easily a pound-for-pound top-five fighter at this point. The loss to Alvarez was highly competitive. I know plenty of people who had Trout winning that fight.
In the conventional wisdom of boxing, Trout has two strikes against him–he’s a southpaw and he’s good. He’s not good enough to be the very best in the world, but he’s more than good enough to embarrass the majority of the sport’s wannabes.
That leaves him in a tough spot for getting the fights he deserves.