In most facets of society, 32 is hardly considered old. But when it comes to professional sports, an athlete of 32 is certainly no kid. In a brutal sport like boxing, it can be down-right long in the tooth.
Austin Trout turned 32 last month. Coming into his showdown with Jarrett Hurd last weekend in Brooklyn, Trout was the veteran of 34 professional bouts. He had been in the ring with some of the best 154-pound fighters of the past five years. He was, and probably remains, one of the top 10 super welterweights in the world.
But in Hurd, he was confronted by a younger, stronger fighter. And while Trout waged a game battle, he was ultimately overmatched, and forced to quit in his corner after 10 rounds. For the first time in his career, he failed to go the distance.
While it lasted, Trout was giving close to as good as he was getting. He fought like a warrior. He simply couldn’t keep pace with the bigger, younger man.
Although it was a much different type of fight, it was still hard not to think about Trout’s signature victory five years ago over future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto. It was a fight that Trout won with shocking ease. At the time, he was 27 and Cotto 32. This time it was Trout who was 32. Hurd is 27.
Just as that win over Cotto established Trout as one of the division’s very top stars, Saturday night’s performance does the same thing for Hurd. Trout might not be what he was five years ago, but he is still a terrific fighter. He fought a competitive bout with the hard-slugging Jermall Charlo as recently as April 2016. He looked good enough to beat almost anybody else in the world Saturday night against Hurd.
Hurd had already looked sensational in stopping Ionut Dan Ion and Tony Harrison in his previous two fights. But when you stop a fighter like Trout, it makes you a special.
Hopefully Hurd will return to action against another one of the division’s top stars. Fellow Young Lions Jermell Charlo and Demetrius Andrade would be at the top of my own wish list.