Austin Trout’s long wait for boxing relevance is over

Three 154-pound championships will be at stake on Oct. 14 at Barclays Center and Austin “No Doubt” Trout wants one of them.

Trout, the former WBA junior middleweight champion, will challenge Jarrett Hurd for the IBF championship. In other bouts, WBC champion Jermell Charlo defends against Erickson Lubin and WBA champ Erislandy Lara takes on challenger Terrell Gausha. Showtime will televise and tickets priced from $50 to $400 remain available.

Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) has been waiting 17 months for a suitable opponent to be matched against. But he feels more than ready for his latest title shot against Hurd.

“I’m not happy about it, but it is what it is,” he said about the layoff. “But I thank God I’ve been in the gym and keeping in shape. Call it vanity or not, trying not to get fat and trying to keep this beach bod so I’m still sharp.”

The idea behind the championship triple-header at Barclays Center is to match the winners at some point. If nothing else it should make for a competitive night of boxing.

“There are plenty of guys out there to create matchups,” promoter Lou DiBella said. “I think the three (winners) here will factor in a further narrowing down of the division. This isn’t like an official tournament but basically what Showtime boxing has done is pay a lot of attention to the 154-pound fighters in an effort to make great matchups and great fights and narrow down the division to the very best.”

Trout wants to be in that group. He defended his WBA title four times, including a win over Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden, before losing his first fight to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez before 40,000 fans in San Antonio in 2013. Trout also lost to Lara in 2013 and lost a decision to Charlo in May 2016. Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) won his first world title by defeating Tony Harrison in February.

“We’ve knocked all the ring rust out in camp,” said Trout who is training in his hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico. “I’m peaking at the right time and I’m more than excited to be go out there and show everybody that not only am I a live dog but I’m championship material.”

Hurd, meanwhile, is looking to validate his title.

“I’ve accomplished something that all fighters dream of and that’s to win a world title,” said Hurd of Accokeek, Maryland. “I don’t feel like this is where my legacy ends. This is only the beginning. I set one goal and accomplished it and now it’s time to become legendary.”

Hurd, 27, has won his last six fights by stoppage, while Trout, 31, has never been stopped.

“I feel like I have the superior footwork,” Trout said. “I like my mental capacity as far as being able to adapt and figure him out. But besides experience, I can fight, too. No just box. I think he feels he’s the stronger guy. But I’m going to go ahead and test that and see if he truly is.”

Hurd is certain he is.

“I feel I have the youth and I feel like I have the size and the length,” he said, adding, “We know what’s on the line with this fight with Austin Trout. We know this fight is going to be tough, especially for a first defense.”

Trout thinks his experience will prevail.

“We see holes in his game,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s just going to end up being me and him and we have to punch through those holes.”


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