Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
American 26-year-old junior middleweight Austin Trout successfully defended his WBA title in the 154lb weight class as he outpointed a languid Delvin Rodriguez on Saturday, June 2 at the Home Depot Center in Carson. Rodriguez won only two rounds as he could not get his game going against the southpaw titlist. Following his win, Trout acknowledged he was boxing to a sub-par standard for national television but insisted he’d raise his game for a shot at Saul Alvarez.
Official verdict: Trout wins by way of unanimous decision (117-111, 118-110, 120-108).
“I’d give myself a 6.5 or a 7,” said Trout in a self-assessment when being interviewed by Showtime inside the ring following his third defence of his WBA belt. “I do what I have to do and will do that to any opponent. I couldn’t find rhythm, shout out to Delvin, he did his thing. I did a 6.5 because he was fighting right tonight but if I was fighting Canelo it would be a ten.”
The fight was cagey throughout but any tentative jousting that ensued in round one was slightly edged by Trout due to his confidence in his southpaw jab, together with his ability to duck under Rodriguez’s shots, however, Trout’s port-side posturing worked against him in the second round as he – on a number of occasions – succumbed to what a number of lefties do when lining up against an orthodox fighter and that is leaking right hands through the middle.
Trout regained the momentum in round three as he found the range necessary to score with his power shots and, in the fourth, he fought at his own pace – a comfortable and controlled (albeit slow) tempo – whilst still doing more than Rodriguez, who had seemingly retreated into a shell.
When the contest reached the midway stage, it was clear it was not going to erupt into the fan-friendly encounter that both fighters had vowed to produce during the event’s promotion. The blood and guts epic Rodriguez enjoyed with Pawel Wolak last summer, seemed a far cry for the challenger who could not load up on the trigger against a Trout who was edging him in work-rate, accuracy and in terms of taking the initiative. Trout was not yard-stones ahead of Rodriguez but was doing just enough to outpoint him in the majority of the sessions.
Bossing the fight in rounds six through nine, Trout threw left hands into the body, jabs to the nose, southpaw leads into the chest while Rodriguez remained somewhat reactive rather than proactive. He was the challenger and was not living up to that status… not doing enough to make a statement of intent in taking Trout’s belt. In the tenth round, Trout sparked into action, flurrying, shaking Rodriguez up with power shots, using the full space of the ring and playing the role of a Pied Piper.
Rodriguez began to make things happen in the penultimate stanza, landing a notable uppercut, some straight right hands and finally taking the lead… making the forward steps and looking to pressure the champion. While there was a stress on slickness on Trout’s part, he was still able to load up on power in the final round and landed a significant three punch combination whilst also finding the target with single fire shots. That intent, though, was lacking too often in the contest.
With the win, Trout rose to 25-0-0, 14ko while Rodriguez fell to 26-6-3, 14ko.