TEMECULA, CA — Austin Trout is back in the win column after 20 months with a unanimous decision win over Daniel Dawson last night on ESPN Friday Night Fights.
The win wasn’t the glorious return many envisioned for Trout, who was dropped twice by right hands in the third round. Dawson achieved these by making Trout lead and catching him in exchanges.
Despite the early trouble, Trout’s class began to take over. The former champion became more patient and turned the fight into a mid-range contest where he could work the southpaw jab, and catch the Aussie journey,am with left hand counters when Dawson tried to replicate his early right hand success.
Dawson complained of a left calf issue at the end of the seventh, and Trout took full advantage in the 8th by firing off repeated 1-2s to score a big knockdown. Trout remained efficient and accurate for the remainder of the bout, winning via the score of 97-90 on all three scorecards.
As exciting as the fight was, it raises more doubts about Trout’s future as an elite fighter than it answers. While some of Trout’s early troubles can be attributed to ring rust, Dawson has not be a serious contender for years (if ever, for that matter). Trout is ranked #7 by the WBA, but several of the guys above him are either looking for big money matches (#1 Mayweather), or not interested in low-reward, high risk rematches with him (#1B Erislandy Lara, #2 Canelo Alvarez).
That leaves possibly Joshua Clottey, who’s ranked #3 following his win over Anthony Mundine, or Ishe Smith, who’s ranked #10. Neither matches would be a joy to watch from an aesthetic standpoint, but a fighter in Trout’s position can’t be picky without a title as a bargaining chip.
You can watch the full fight below.