I will be reporting live from Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California on Thursday night (US time) from ESPN’s Night of Champions including Austin Trout against Luis Grajeda.
The coverage will start in Australia at 2pm Friday AEDT, and will aslso feature Antonio Tarver facing Johnathan Banks in a heavyweight bout.
With a line up hosting some of the biggest names in boxing, this is definitely a night not to be missed.
Austin “No Doubt” Trout, who polarised Australian fans two years ago by calling Mundine a has-been after “The Man” withdrew from a fight for Trout’s then WBA Junior Middleweight Title, is headlining the night against the Slayer from Mexico, Luis Grajeda.
Trout is loved by most boxing fans due to his work-horse approach, no-excuse attitude and having made his way up through the world’s toughest sport without a big financial backer to help him jump into the PPV prize-fights.
His unanimous decision over Rigoberto Alvarez in 2011 made people take notice and the same result over Miguel Cotto in 2012 forced his name into the spotlight.
2013 was a tough year for Trout, with what some consider a controversial loss to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and then backing it up with a disappointing and convincing loss to Erislandy Lara.
Grajeda, although he lost to Willie Nelson earlier this year, received a lot of positive press after the fightafter producing a very competitive performance. He then backed that up with an early TKO over Charly Soto last month to build momentum leading into the Trout fight.
It’s quite possible that Grajeda could pull out an upset to finish the year if Trout’s performance is similar to his last three fights. His most recent showing was against Australian Daniel Dawson, which saw Trout dropped early on before coming back to win by UD.
Trout, however, has been training under Barry Hunter and sparring with Lamont Peterson for months now, so don’t be surprised if his form really steps up a level.
Also on the bill is Antonia Tarver taking on fellow heavyweight Johnathan Banks. Tarver has been pretty inactive over the last five years, however he has stated that he doesn’t feel rusty coming into the fight.
What was worrying was his comment to his trainer regarding his early preparation. He admitted that he’s not a good gym fighter, but once he’s in the ring on the night he is great. Whether this is confidence or an excuse for poor performance in the gym, we will have to wait and see.
The Rocky Balboa star is famous in Australia for beating local hero Danny Green in Sydney in 2011. His opponent, Banks, has also been quite inactive and is coming off a loss from 18 months ago in his rematch with Seth Mitchell.
Banks, known for training the heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and having held heavyweight and cruiserweight titles is not considered a true contender by many, but both fighters will be fresh and looking to put on a show for one more push at a title.
If Tarver loses, at 46 years of age, many will question if there is an avenue for him to continue or if it’s time to hang up the gloves.
The evening will also see Tyson Cave vs Oscar Escandon for the interim WBA World Super Bantamweight Title and staggering 10 other fights.
Trout by UD
Tarver by SD