Some fights we accept aren't going to be stylistically fun to watch despite being "major fights" in terms of the division. One of those fights happened this Saturday as Cuban Erislandy Lara (19-2-1, 12) and American Austin Trout (26-2, 14) collided for the WBA Light Middleweight title.
When you have counter-punchers facing each other you can often expect to see the boxing equivalent to chess. Technically it's brilliant boxing but as a spectacle it's awful. Unfortunately both Lara and Trout are counter punchers, neither looks comfortable when forced to lead off, neither seem capable of making a fight and neither seem to have a plan B when their counter punching isn't working. Unfortunately that spoiled, what on paper, was an interesting contest.
It took less than a round for the crowd to decided they didn't like what they were watching and they let their emotions be known as they booed the men in the ring. This booing almost seemed to effect Trout who began to fall for the tricks Lara was setting. Lara, kept his form and continued to frustrate, move and out box Trout who became more and more reckless. Trout, after 4 rounds, was forced to concede he wouldn't win a chess game and instead chose to try and walk down Lara. Trout's attempt to walk to Lara were foiled big time by Lara's movement which left the American chasing shadows.
Trout, as one would expect, seemed to become more reckless from the fact he was missing and being tagged in returned. His excellent boxing was vanishing as Trout began to put on a masterclass and after 7 rounds it appeared that we were seeing a genuine schooling of a very good fighter.
Having established a clear lead on the cards Lara seemed to turn off a little bit. He was still using his boxing skills to take the rounds but he was certainly letting the distance between the men close a bit more. It seemed that this was merely a ploy to allow Lara to load up on his shots a bit more and in round 11 we saw the power of Lara take effect as he sent Trout down hard with a hard left hand.
Although Trout got up from knock down it seemed like he was ready to go and Lara went for him rocking him again before the bell saved him.
With Trout having seen out the storm in round 11 it appeared that Lara would jump on him immediately to begin round 12. Trout's corner knew this and made sure he could buy his man some time by "spilling" water on the canvas. This was enough to let Trout's legs recover enough to let him see out round 12 but by then the fight was already over in regards to the scorecards.
The domination by Lara, via his gameplan, of Trout had been excellent it, it was hard to see anything other than a clear decision in favour of Lara and the judges all agree with that view. All the scores varied but they all got the right man.