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Counter Punch

Trout prevails, Cotto reconsiders future

austin-trout-tx Trout's powerful right hook followed by a left uppercut buckled Cotto's knees in the 11th round of the fight. (Henny Ray Abrams/AP)

NEW YORK -- Three thoughts on Austin Trout's unanimous decision win over Miguel Cotto ...

Trout can fight. I thought (and wrote) for weeks that picking Trout was a mistake. Cotto had a mult-million dollar showdown with Saul Alvarez waiting for him next spring. He wanted a tune-up fight and instead he got Trout, a young, unbeaten former Olympic alternate who was starving for this opportunity. From the opening bell Trout showed his skills, appearing to be the stronger, faster and more superior boxer. He never stopped throwing the jab, never stopped turning Cotto and frustrated the future Hall of Famer with picture perfect technique. Cotto landed some good shots but Trout never looked hurt and never stopped coming. All three judges scored it for Trout--virtually everyone ringside did, too.

Should Cotto retire? It's a question many on press row were asking after the fight. Cotto said after the fight that he would return to Puerto Rico and think about his future, and he should. He didn't take big shots well; Trout isn't heavy handed but it seemed every time he connected clean Cotto backed off and needed a few seconds to recover. At 32, Cotto isn't old. But he has been in some wars, been battered by some big punchers. There are a lot of opponents Cotto can still beat, but his days as an elite fighter are probably over, and for a proud fighter like Cotto that may mean it's time to hang 'em up.

Where now, Trout? Get to know Trout --I guarantee you will like him. Trout, 27, is a skilled, well spoken American who has the potential to do big things in the 154-pound division. A Cotto rematch is possible, maybe in June, a favorite month for Cotto to fight at Madison Square Garden. If not, there are options: I don't think Golden Boy will put him in with Alvarez, not with one high profile fight to his name. But there is IBF champion Cornelius Bundrage, who has been searching for a money fight. If Trout beats Bundrage and collects a second belt, he will become much more marketable for Alvarez in the fall.

-- Chris Mannix

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