After a tough 2013, world-ranked light middleweight Austin “No Doubt” Trout, a local favorite managed by Galveston’s Bob Spagnola, will look to get back on track for another title run in a televised boxing match Friday.
Trout (hometown Las Cruces, N.M.; professional record 26-2) takes on Australian boxer Daniel Dawson (Perth, Western Australia, Australia; 40-3) in the headlining bout on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, which will be at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif.
The broadcast is set to begin at 8 p.m., and the match is scheduled for 12 rounds.
Spagnola, who has managed Trout for his entire nine-year professional career, said Dawson should serve as a tough test as Trout, a former WBA light middleweight champion, as he seeks to climb back to the top of the division.
Stylistically, Spagnola said Dawson, an orthodox boxer, brings an aggressive, straightforward style while Trout, a southpaw, will rely on superior technique in the bout.
“It’s kind of a bull and the matador type thing,” Spagnola said. “You never know what the other guy might do, but, generally, a leopard doesn’t change his spots. If a guy is a short, stocky, aggressive fighter, it’s not like the ‘Rocky’ movie where he changes it up and all of a sudden becomes a boxer. But stranger things have happened, and we’re prepared for anything.”
Trout has been a regular visitor to Galveston during his career, endearing himself to locals as a special guest at events such as the annual Battle of the Badges.
“When he came down to support our charities, it really makes you feel good to have someone who’s on top of the world coming to be a part of your community,” Spagnola said.
Trout has become such a fan favorite for some Galvestonian that the Galveston Chamber of Commerce plans to hold a viewing party for Friday’s fight, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant, 628 Seawall Blvd., Galveston.
Spagnola first met Trout through his longtime friend Louie Burke, who is Trout’s head trainer.
Burke approached Spagnola about serving as Trout’s manager as the 2004 U.S. National Amateur welterweight champion was preparing to begin his professional career.
“He could have gone with a lot of people, but he and Louie signed with me,” Spagnola said. “So, we’ve been together his entire professional career. Louie has literally trained him since he was 10 years old.”
Trout first won the WBA light middleweight title on Feb. 5, 2011, with a unanimous decision win over Rigaberto Alvarez.
Trout would go on to defend and retain the belt four times, including his final successful defense against the legendary Miguel Cotto — a major highlight in Trout’s career, so far.
“Cotto is probably the best Puerto Rican fighter to ever live; he’s won more championships than any Puerto Rican fighter ever, and they have a great, great history of boxing,” Spagnola said. “When Austin beat Cotto at Madison Square Garden in front of 23,000 Puerto Ricans, that was the first and only time Cotto has ever lost at Madison Square Garden.”
After losing his championship to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a close decision April 20, 2013 and dropping another decision to Erislandy Lara on Dec. 7, 2013, Trout took some time away from boxing, during which he got married.
Now, more than eight months since his last fight, Spagnola said that Trout has had an excellent training camp in preparation for Dawson with hard days of sparring, running, studying videos of his opponent and sticking to a strict diet.
“His weight is down, and weight is always a very important aspect of this stuff,” Spagnola said. “These guys walk around at 175, 180 pounds, and then they have to make 155 pounds. They really have to eat correctly.”
While it may be tempting to look ahead at avenging his previous two losses or earning another title shot, Spagnola said his client is completely focused on the task at hand Friday.
“In this business, you have to concentrate on your next step, and Daniel Dawson is our next step,” Spagnola said.
WHAT: ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, headlined by Austin “No Doubt” Trout vs. Daniel Dawson. Trout is managed by Galveston’s Bob Spagnola
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant, 628 Seawall Blvd., in Galveston