Preview: Trout vs Gausha

05.25 Web.0 - Preview: Trout vs Gausha

Austin Trout and Terrell Gausha are about the same age, in the same division, but their roads to Saturday have been very different.

Austin Trout and Terrell Gausha are ready for Saturday night’s PBC on FS1 main event from Biloxi, Mississippi, a need-to-win fight for both 154-pounders if they want to stay in contention in the division.

What’s at stake?

No titles are on the line this Saturday night, but Trout and Gausha have plenty to fight for. Trout is still a respected veteran fighter at 154; though he’s 1-3 in his last four, those losses have all been to top-flight competition. He wants to hang on a bit longer. Gausha has had just one step-up fight, losing to Erislandy Lara in 2017, and he’s looking to prove he’s better than what people may have thought that night. The winner is in contention at 154, the loser isn’t.

How did Austin Trout get here?

Austin “No Doubt” Trout was really never supposed to get to the top of boxing, even though he was a good amateur fighter. He won the 2004 U.S. National Amateur Championship at welterweight and was runner-up to Vanes Martirosyan for a spot on the 2004 Olympic team, compiling a reported amateur record of 163-42-1.

The native of Las Cruces, New Mexico, turned pro in Sept. 2005 in Albuquerque and got to 16-0 before he started traveling around a bit. He went to Mexico and Canada for a pair of fights in the first half of 2009, and then after a hometown win, he went to Panama City to face Nilsion Julio Tapia for a minor WBA belt, winning one of those weird ass 11-round Panamanian decisions.

To get his first crack at a world title — it was the WBA’s secondary belt, but whatever — Trout had to travel once again in Feb. 2011, going to Guadalajara to face Rigoberto Alvarez, the oldest of the city’s fighting Alvarez brothers. Even on the road in his opponent’s hometown, Trout flat outclassed Alvarez, winning on scores of 119-108 across the board. He returned to Mexico four months later to defend against David Lopez in San Luis Potosi, winning another wide decision.

By that time, of course, Trout was gaining some traction. A crafty southpaw without a power promoter, Trout had to force his way into the discussion, and he was doing the best he could. He got a spot on ShoBox, billed as a “special” edition because Trout had a claim to being “world champion,” he wasn’t a prospect.

There was nothing much special about it — he dismantled Australian Frank LoPorto, a hopelessly overmatched challenger who was absurdly ranked by the WBA. Trout dropped the challenger in the first round on a right hook, and LoPorto knew immediately that he was out of his depth, telling his corner after the round, “He’s too fast.” LoPorto gamely went out round after round, growing desperate for someone to stop a ridiculous mismatch without having to give in and quit, and finally his corner pulled the plug late in the sixth. LoPorto, who had no business in the ring with Trout and knew it within three minutes, never fought again.

As shameful as that fight really was, it did at least get Trout’s foot in the door on Showtime, and he was booked for a return seven months later against Delvin Rodriguez. He won a wide decision over Rodriguez, then got the real call: a date with Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 1.

157301420.jpg - Preview: Trout vs GaushaPhoto by Elsa/Getty Images

Canelo Alvarez, the rising young Mexican star of boxing, was seated ringside with promoter Oscar De La Hoya. Cotto was supposed to beat Trout, then take on Alvarez in a big pay-per-view showdown in 2013. Mexico vs Puerto Rico, two of the biggest names in boxing, what could go wrong?

Austin Trout is what went wrong, because no one told Austin Trout he was meant to lose to Cotto. The southpaw flustered Cotto, ending Cotto’s undefeated run at what had become his adopted home arena in New York, clearly winning on wide scores. Not only did he outbox Cotto and give him style problems early, but even after Cotto made mid-rounds adjustments, Trout was able to close the fight strong and leave no question about the winner.

Golden Boy wanted to try to salvage Canelo-Cotto, though, arguing it was still a big fight that people would want to see. But Canelo, to his credit, pulled rank and demanded to fight Trout instead.

Alvarez and Trout met at San Antonio’s Alamodome in April 2013 on Showtime. In front of just under 40,000 fans, Trout gave the young Alvarez a terrific test, though he did go down in the seventh round. Canelo won on the cards, but Trout had an argument for seven rounds, and really lost nothing in defeat against the chosen one.

Trout followed that up with a matchup against Erislandy Lara to close out 2013. Lara, a fellow southpaw and simply a better technician than Trout, proved a horrible style matchup for Trout, and won on wide scores in Brooklyn.

After a three-fight run against Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, and Erislandy Lara, Trout stepped it back a bit to recalibrate. He picked up wins over Daniel Dawson and Luis Grajeda in 2015, then Luis Galarza and Joey Hernandez in 2015. After that, he stepped it back up.

He met the unbeaten Jermall Charlo in May 2016, losing a very competitive decision in an IBF title fight. He followed that with another title fight 17 months later against Jarrett Hurd, stopped in the 10th round by the younger, stronger man, but giving Hurd some early fits. A tune-up win led to a fight with Jermell Charlo, another world title shot. Once again, Trout was competitive, losing a majority decision despite going down twice.

How did Terrell Gausha get here?

Like Trout, Gausha was a good amateur, got a bit further overall than Austin did. Gausha, a Cleveland native, won the United States National Amateur middleweight championship in both 2009 and 2012. He made the 2012 Olympic team and went to London, beating Armenia’s Andranik Hakobyan via rare Olympic TKO before losing in controversial fashion to India’s Vijender Singh in the round of 16.

Gausha made his pro debut on Nov. 9, 2012, turning pro alongside fellow 2012 Olympians Errol Spence Jr, Rau’shee Warren, Marcus Browne, and Dominic Breazeale. They all won, all by stoppage except for Warren, who was actually dropped in his four-round decision win. (Of the stoppage winners, it was Spence — the best prospect of them then and so far the best pro — who took the longest, if you’re curious, stopping Jonathan Garcia at 2:41 of round three.)

Despite being a standout U.S. amateur and an Olympian, Gausha was 25 years old and thought to potentially have a bit of a low ceiling, at least compared to Spence and Browne and other teammates like Joseph Diaz Jr and Jose Ramirez.

When the nine members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team had had a few years in as pros in 2015, I ranked Gausha No. 6 of them, ahead of Breazeale, Jamel Herring, and Michael Hunter, but behind Spence, Ramirez, Diaz, and Warren.

I also said of him then, “Gausha has perhaps been a bit disappointing thus far as a professional; he hasn’t progressed at the rate of some of his teammates, and has sort of fallen by the wayside in comparison to the other guys ahead of him on this list.”

So what’s he done since then? Eh. He beat Eliezer Gonzalez in Sept. 2015, Said El Harrak in Dec. 2015, and then Orlando Lora and Steven Martinez — the latter a majority decision — in 2016. The progression still wasn’t there, and Gausha wasn’t getting younger.

861466556.jpg - Preview: Trout vs GaushaPhoto by Al Bello/Getty Images

After a decision win over Luis Hernandez in Feb. 2017, Gausha jumped about four levels and took on Erislandy Lara eight months later. To no real surprise, Lara was way, way too much for Gausha, who got dropped in the fourth round. The fight was stunningly dull, with fans very noticeably leaving the building during the Showtime-televised main event. A sampling of comments from our recap that night:

  • “I know people joke about it, and I’ve never done it before, but I fell asleep around round 5 and missed the entire rest of the fight. I can officially say that a fight was so boring that it put me to sleep. Ugh.”
  • “Ha, I knew it was the right call to walk out. People were booing, yelling ‘fight!’ and assorted insults. There was an exodus which was briefly halted by the knockdown, but then the crowd lost interest again and streamed out.”
  • “wondered whether the adrenaline of watching Hurd vs Trout (enjoyable scrap) and Charlo vs Lubin (BOOM) was gonna see me through the Lara fight…. I was asleep within 2 rounds.”
  • “Whoever decided to make this the main event is a fucking idiot. There was never a point where anybody thought that this fight might be exciting, and it lived up to those expectations. I almost regret watching the whole thing.”

I say this not to dump on Gausha — honestly, Lara’s as guilty of that fight being boring as anyone, because when Lara isn’t tested, he’s content to hit the cruise control, and Gausha did not test him — but to say that this is the only time most people have seen Gausha. These are the sort of expectations he brings with him on Saturday. This fight with Trout is not just a chance for Gausha to prove he can beat a well-regarded veteran, but maybe that he’s not televised NyQuil.

How do the fighters match up?

They’re about exactly the same size — at 5’10”, Gausha has a half-inch of height on Trout, and they have the same 72-inch listed reach.

Competition-wise, there’s no question Trout has been in with the superior opponents over his career. But he also certainly has more wear-and-tear; he’s only two years older than Gausha, but Trout’s been a pro for seven years longer and fought 245 pro rounds compared to 124 for Gausha. Neither man is known as a big puncher.

Who’s the favorite?

As of this writing, there are no listed odds for the fight, but Trout on paper is the favorite based on higher-level experience and where he’s generally considered to stand in the division compared to Gausha.

Who will win?

Check back Friday at 3 pm ET for our staff predictions!

Undercard

1125169177.jpg - Preview: Trout vs GaushaPhoto by Al Bello/Getty Images
  • Chordale Booker (14-0, 7 KO) is a 28-year-old unbeaten 154-pounder, maybe not a big prospect (he’s a bit old for that), but an interesting fighter. He came to boxing late, but became a really good amateur, going 111-19 and losing at the 2016 Olympic trials to Charles Conwell. Booker didn’t come in with the big prospect hype, which might not be the worst thing. He’ll be facing Wale Omotoso (27-3, 21 KO), a durable veteran from Nigeria who hasn’t fought since Dec. 2017. Omotoso, now 34, was once seen as a prospect at 147, but it just didn’t quite work out, he never broke through.
  • Egyptian light heavyweight Ahmed Elbiali (18-1, 15 KO) will look to make it three straight wins in a matchup with Brazil’s Marloes Simoes (13-1-2, 5 KO). Elbiali last fought in January, beating the ghost of Allan “Ghost Dog” Green, who hadn’t had a serious fight in over five years. Elbiali, 28, was found out real bad when he faced Jean Pascal in Dec. 2017 — Pascal dominated and stopped him in six.

Bad Left Hook will have live coverage on Saturday, May 25, for Trout vs Gausha, live on FS1 at 8 pm ET, with prelim coverage starting at 6 pm ET on FS2

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