By David Finger at ringside
Boxing fans have known for some time that Austin “No Doubt” Trout is an elite junior middleweight. But at 34-years-old and having lost his last bid for a world title back in 2018 there were questions as to where he could go from there. Well, he had an answer to that question: welterweight.
And on Saturday night at the Inn at the Mountain Gods in Mescalero, New Mexico, Austin Trout dipped his toe into the welterweight pool as he easily dispatched 34-year old Mexican brawler Rosbel Montoya in two lopsided rounds.
Make no mistake, having lost seven of his last eight fights nobody was picking Montoya to pull off the upset. Trout was expected to win and win impressively. But having never fought as a professional below 153 pounds there were still those who wondered what Trout would look like at this lower weight. Would he be able to retain the speed and slickness that defined his career at 154-pounds?
The answer, at least right now, appears to be yes.
Trout, 149.1, made a statement after he dominated Montoya, 153.6, stalking his foe intelligently before dropping him in the opening round with a counter right hand. Montoya rose quick but clearly had no answer for the surprisingly aggressive New Mexican. Trout attacked his wounded opponent, backing him up in the corner. Montoya slipped to the canvas in the final minute of the round, closing out a disastrous round for the Mexican native.
It would only get worse in the second. Montoya showed signs of visible damage from the body attack of Trout and seemed ready to fall after a vicious body attack had him doubled over. A short right cross a minute into the round sent Montoya to the canvas a second time and referee Robert Velez elected for wave the fight off at 1:09.
“It was good,” Trout said about his performance. “I won, I got the knockout. It was the first time I came in at 149. So far so good!”
With the win Trout improves 32-5-1, 18 KOs while Montoya falls to 17-10-1, 13 KOs.
In the co-main event 24-year old Abel Mendoza, 129.7, won a hard fought unanimous decision over 36-year old Las Cruces native Juan Carlos “Johnny” Guillen, 127.4. Guillen was coming into the fight the loser of six of his last seven fights but promised to shock the boxing world despite being on a downswing. And although he came up short against the slick boxing prospect he nonetheless saw his stock move up a few notches based on his gritty and tough performance.
Mendoza dominated early, capitalizing on his advantage in speed and boxing ability. This, coupled with a hard overhand right that he used effectively, solidified a solid opening round.
But by round two an interesting trend was emerging: Guillen was simply not taking a backward step. Despite Mendoza boxing beautifully he seemed unable to discourage the underdog. By round four Mendoza began to show the first signs of fatigue and by round five many Mendoza fans at ringside began to get a little nervous as the visibly tired Mendoza slowed down considerably. Despite his comfortable lead on the scorecards, the prospect appeared to have hit a wall in round five as the gritty Guillen pressured him relentlessly. Round six also seemed to be a difficult round for Mendoza, who did well when he was jabbing and moving but was clearly not able to maintain the punch output he had in the early rounds. After another close round in the seventh, with Mendoza struggling with the relentless aggression of Guillen, it looked like the eighth would be a critical round for both men.
Although Guillen hard turned the tide of the fight in the second half it was also clear that he dug himself a deep hole in the early rounds. He didn’t just need to win the final round: he needed to win it big. For Mendoza he needed to close out the show in impressive fashion. Both men fought accordingly, but it was Mendoza who was able to dig deep and end the momentum of the underdog. Mendoza made the most of his times on the ropes, firing off flurries to out-hustle his aggressive foe in the final round. All three judges scored the fight 79-73 for Mendoza, who improved to 22-0, 16 KOs. Fightnews.com had the fight a little closer, at 77-75. Guillen sees his record fall to 8-7-1, 3 KOs.
In the opening fight of the Impact Network televised card from Mescalero, New Mexico heavyweight Alonzo Butler, 295.6, made quick work of Jesus Martinez, 292.4, stopping him at 2:22 of the first after scoring a pair of knockdowns. Butler’s name has been making the rounds after rumors of a possible matchup with Riddick Bowe hit the internet last month. Although few expected Butler to be derailed by Martinez, there were questions as to how well the 40-year old could cope with a layoff of nearly three years. Well, fans didn’t get the answer to that question but did get the answer to another one: Alonzo Butler can still punch. Butler was content to stalk and look for his shots, but he dropped Martinez with a hard shot halfway through the round and scored a second knockdown moments later when he fired a hard left to the body followed by a right to the temple. Referee Stan Saavedra widely waved off the fight at 2:22. With the win Butler improves to 32-3-2, 25 KOs while Martinez falls to 23-14-1, 13 KOs.
Much to the relief of boxing fans, Butler dismissed talk of a Riddick Bowe fight when interviewed at ringside.
“I ain’t going to fight his old ass,” Butler said. “I think he’s senile.” Butler also made it clear he wanted to make a serious push for a world ranking and had a particular contender in mind.
“I want Dillian Whyte!” Butler said after the fight. “I’ve been chasing him for five years!”
Undefeated 18-year old junior middleweight Robert Garcia, 151, of Austin, Texas was forced to go the distance for the first time against 38-year old journeyman Rey Trujillo, 155.3, of Houston. Early on Garcia showed signs of brilliance as he effectively went to the body with such ferocity that it brought back memories of a young Mike McCallum. But the gritty and durable Trujillo was able to hold his own and even landed some of his own heavy blows in round three. However the young Garcia wisely returned to what worked so well in round one and hurt Trujillo to the body in the closing minute of the round. Nonetheless the prospect was unable to drop Trujillo and the veteran held his own the the final round. All three judges scored the fight 39-37 for Garcia, who improved to 6-0, 5 KOs. With the loss Trujillo falls to 1-7-3, 0 KOs.
In a heavyweight fight debuting Jack Storey, 208.9, from Sunderland, England, struggled with journeyman Omar Acosta, 208.7, winning a four round decision. Although he didn’t necessarily impress fans at ringside he nonetheless won a shutout decision. Storey made no friends when he responded to Omar’s attempt to touch gloves at the start of the fight with a shot to the chin. He then jumped on the hard luck Texan, but despite his aggression he failed to land anything to discourage Acosta. By the end of the round Storey started showing signs of fatigue. However Acosta wasn’t able to capitalize on his opponents fatigue and failed to push the action enough to turn the tide. Nonetheless he gave Storey a much tougher fight than the Brit was expecting for his professional debut. All three judges scored the fight 40-36. With the win Storey improves fo 1-0 and can chalk this up under the “win now, look good next time” column. Omar Acosta sees his record slip to 1-7-1, 1 KO.
In the opening bout of the night undefeated Brandon White, 112, won a shutout unanimous decision over the game Mario Chavez Tovar, 116.6. White boxed brilliantly in the opening round but slowed considerably in round two and three. Still, the undefeated prospect dug deep in round four to finish the fight impressively. All three judges scored the fight 40-36 for White, who improved to 5-0, 2 KOs. Tovar falls to 0-4.