Perth's Daniel Dawson can put himself in line for a world title shot against Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez with victory in California on Saturday morning (WA time). Standing in his way will be former champion Austin Trout, who won his first 26 fights before losing a light-middleweight unification bout with Alvarez in April 2013. Trout spoke to thewest.com.au about this weekend’s fight, why he feels box office draw Alvarez is a protected species and of his disdain for Anthony Mundine
What do you know about Daniel Dawson?
We watched a film on him, we know he ain’t going nowhere. He’s definitely got the heart to make a good fight, the heart to win, so we’re training very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.
We have highlights of his last two fights but that’s highlights, you can’t take too much from it. It looks like he’s trying to move a little bit more nowadays rather than bang it out. But again, we’re getting ready for the best Daniel Dawson he can bring.
You are going into the fight on the back of successive losses to Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara
We rebuild ourselves, mentally first then physically second. We had a rough last year, 2013 wasn’t a good year. Not just in boxing, there were some things outside of boxing that really sucked for me, man. Now I’m over last year and I’m starting anew.
I really wanted to start this year earlier but God has the right plan for me, he made me wait and I’m glad he did because I see why. After the Canelo fight I got married, had my honeymoon, also there was the passing of my grandmother. I had to go through some litigations with my ex-promoter and I never really got back to the gym to fix what I should have fixed. Instead of doing that I jumped straight into a fight, and not just a fight but I went in with Erislandy Lara, who is one of the trickiest fighters in the game, without really fixing things.
This time I’ve had enough time to just relax, get myself together and really focus on me. And I think that’s going to be the difference this year and the years to come. I’m not fighting anyone else’s fight, I’m fighting my fight. I’m not going to bend my ways and my will for anybody.
In the Lara fight, I didn’t fight my fight. I fought his fight. The Canelo fight, I changed the way I fight because the judges told me I was losing. Every time I went to the corner the judges were saying, ‘you’re losing’. So instead of continuing to fight my fight I was changing. And now I’m going to be back fighting my fight.
That’s right, the fight with Alvarez had open scoring. What was that like?
It’s ridiculous. All you can do is go off a feeling, you know how good you feel, how bad you felt in the round. If you should push it or if you can fall back, it’s all on instinct. That open scoring, it took our instincts out of it.
Canelo was getting desperate in that fourth round, he started reaching and lunging and I was catching him coming in. But then he goes back to his corner and they say, ‘you’re winning all the rounds’. He’s like, ‘Woah, I really don’t have to do anything to win this fight’. On the other side, I go back to the corner and it’s like, ‘you’re losing all the rounds’. I was feeling great, my confidence was up, I was really getting in the rhythm, and the scores took my confidence and instinct away from me.
Also, one of the most “suspenseful” moments after a good, hard fight is waiting to hear who won the fight. People are waiting to hear the scores ... 'I wonder how the judges saw it, I think this guy won but I don’t know, this guy did good on these rounds' ... and they took that suspense out of it.
Before losing to Canelo you had your best win over Miguel Cotto in Madison Square Garden
Again, it was all about the momentum. In the Cotto fight I started doing good, my instincts were telling me what you’re doing is working, and when I wasn’t doing too good my instincts told me what wasn’t working. I still stuck to my fight but at the end of the day I still wasn’t sure.
I felt I had won the fight but I wasn’t sure until the judges announced me as the winner.
How keen are you on rematches with Canelo and Lara?
I’m very much rematch minded. I can’t claim I’m the best – and I still feel like I am the best – (but) I just want to prove it and one way to prove it is to work my way back to the guys who gave me losses on my record.
How did you feel the recent Canelo-Lara fight went? (Canelo took a split decision over the Cuban last month)
I felt Lara won. I can see one judge giving it to Canelo by one round, I can see how he could go that way even if it's not how I saw it. But I thought Lara by three or four rounds. When you see that one judge (gives it to Alvarez) 117-11, you know he had his scorecard filled out before the fight even started.
So does Canelo get favours?
You know, he’s the face of boxing, he’s got a huge following, he’s got a country behind him, he’s even got a lot of America behind him.
When I fought Canelo in San Antonio, Texas - the state I was born in - I was treated as if I was a foreigner. They booed the national anthem in America – how disrespectful can they be? I’ve fought in Mexico three times and they never booed the anthem, they were very respectful. He has a bigger following and he’s making somebody a lot of money and they ain’t going to let that be messed up by somebody who’s better than him. And they even tried to screw Mayweather (when he fought Canelo). You see a judge calling it a draw, I don’t think Canelo won a round in that fight.
You’ve already beaten one Australian, Frank LoPorto, who holds a 2010 win over Dawson. Is that relevant to your fight with Dawson?
It’s a different situation to then. Daniel’s ‘Pops’ had passed before he fought the Dzinziruk guy (Serhiy Dzinziruk, then WBO champion) and when he came back he went straight back into a fight with LoPorto. After suffering a loss, his dad dying, then going back into another fight, I don’t know anybody’s mind who could rise from that so quickly, so I’m not taking anything from that.
The same thing happened to me, my grandmother died, I had a bunch of litigation with my promoter and just jumped into the (Lara) fight. So I’m not looking too much onto that. We’re training very hard for Daniel Dawson, there’s no overlooking this guy.
What are your thoughts on your loss to Lara last time out?
Me and Lara’s styles don’t match. We’re both southpaws, we’re both boxers. All I’ll say is if I’d fought my fight it would have been an even more boring fight. It might have been more effective (for me). He doesn’t care if people boo him as long as he’s being effective. I should have been the same way, I should have just fought my fight and picked off my places and I would have been more effective. But I fell into his game plan, I swayed to the crowd, I swayed to the TV, there were a lot of things I was doing that didn’t work for me.
When you were WBA champion, Anthony Mundine was your mandatory challenger. That fight never happened. Why not?
I’m glad you asked that question ... he was saying a lot of things, that I asked for his pay per view money. It never even got to that stage of negotiation. I never asked for his pay per view money. I don’t even know how much money I was going to get for the purse, right, because it never even got to that stage.
You know why it never got to that stage? Because when they ordered the purse bid for me and Mundine to fight, my promoter showed up and he didn’t. His people never showed up. And there’s no excuse for not showing up. Why would you not show up for a purse bid? Even if you didn’t want to bid on the purse you still show up to get the fight made, unless you don’t want the fight. That’s where it ended.
Finally, earlier you referred to God’s plan for you. You often tweet about Jesus. How big is religion in your life?
I don’t like to say religious, religion is not what I am. I think religion is turning off so many people off from God because they make you do work to get in God’s favour. I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ, I’m not religious though. I’m very spiritual. I have faith, I have belief. Religion excludes too many people, where the God I believe in includes everybody.
Austin Trout's fight with Daniel Dawson will be shown live on ESPN2 on Saturday (WA time) from 9am