Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Felix's boxing column

Trout gets plenty of experience in Big Bear
By Felix Chavez
Las Cruces Sun-News
Austin Trout hasn’t been as active as he’d like to be in recent months, in fact his last fight came Dec. 21 in Las Cruces.
But the 22-year-old unbeaten junior middleweight caught a break last month when he was invited to work with veteran welterweight Shane Mosley in preparation for Mosley’s May 31 fight with Zab Judah in Las Vegas, Nev.
The sparring with the 44-5 Mosley is better in some ways than Trout fighting a six or eight-round fight that he would win easily.
Trout is in Big Bear, Calif., where he has been since last month and where he will be for most of the next six weeks, except for a few days in May. Trout is slated to fight May 2 in El Paso.
“The training camp with Shane has gone great,” Trout said. “I’ve learned a great deal from being in the ring with him and I’ve also gotten some other sparring as well. I feel like I’m using my jab more, I’m improving on my footwork and head movement. Working with Shane is great for my education as a pro. He’s been in a lot of big fights and he’s been willing to sit down and share his stories with me and I’m taking it all in.”
Last summer, Trout spent several weeks helping Antonio Margarito get ready for his fight with Paul Williams and that seemed to help him in many ways grow as a fighter.
The time he is currently spending with Mosley is sure to help Trout as well. So far in his career, Trout has fought a couple of fighters that had good records, but their styles were suited for Trout.
In Margarito, he saw a big puncher. In Mosley, he gets a fighter who is quick and forces him to work on his jab to slow him down.
The Margarito/Mosley camps will leave an impression on the quick-learning Trout, who when he steps up in competition will be ready for the different scenarios presented.
But Trout said Wednesday he wants more fights and he hopes the latter half of 2008 proves fruitful in that venture.
Trout is a talented fighter, who has the skills to fight guys with good records and make a push toward the top.
However, being a black fighter isn’t always these days. The market is geared toward latino fighters, so Trout must be patient and remain positive as must his management team.
His skill level and hard work will pay off and at 22, he has plenty of years left in the game. The key for him will be to remain busy and to take advantage of spending time with fighters such as Mosley and Margarito because if he does well, he’ll have to get rewarded sometime.
Las Cruces amateur fighter Siju Shabazz will have a busy next few weeks. The 178-pounder looks to repeat as the light heavyweight champion at the National Golden Gloves May 5-10 in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Shabazz earned a return trip to the Golden Gloves with wins at the state and regional tournaments.
But before the Golden Gloves event, Shabazz will represent the United States in a dual vs. Puerto Rico on April 26 in Philadelphia.
Fight fans should be happy this summer if negotiations for a Miguel Cotto/Margarito welterweight fight happens.
Both fighters won impressively last weekend in separate bouts, Cotto destroyed Alfonso Gomez and Margarito manhandled Kermit Cintron.
Cotto is a very popular unbeaten Puerto Rican fighter, who is known for his rugged infighting and improved boxing skills. Margarito hails from Mexico, boasts a big punch and will push Cotto to the limit.
This fight has the makings of a Fight of the Year candidate because both fighters love to engage and this could be another classic matchup of Puerto Rican and Mexican fighters.

Felix Chavez can be reached at