I wonder, a few days out from the Miguel Cotto-Austin Trout junior middleweight title fight which will unfold at Madison Square Garden, if New Mexico's Trout is too nice a guy to do the hard and nasty work which will be necessary to defeat Cotto, who is almost impregnable in that building.
I put that question to the 25-0 Trout in a phone chat Monday.
Austin, you said on a conference call that you picture yourself knocking out Cotto. On that call, you also said you asked Cotto for an autograph a little while back, that you've been a fan of his work. And, you thanked Cotto for the opportunity. Is it possible that you are just too damned nice for this business?
Trout chuckled. "Mike, in the ring I'm an a------!"
So, you'll be able to transition from nice to nasty to stay undefeated, and hand Cotto his first loss at MSG? (The Puerto Rican boxer is 7-0 at MSG, and has sold more tickets at the Garden than any other boxer in this millenium.)
"The a------ wasn't there for my last fight, against Delvin Rodriguez in June, but I learn from my mistakes," he said. "I was not satisfied with my performance. The a------ came out of me in fights not on television, in Panama and Mexico. I know I have to put lot of leather on him to make sure the judges know who won the fight."
Smart assessment. The 27 year-old southpaw Trout is heading to NYC -- he'll be in town by this evening -- with his eyes wide open. He will for sure have to be extra impressive in Cotto's second home, because the judges will be hearing high-decibel love from the fans when the 32-year-old Cotto so much as lands with a tepid jab.
"If I'm in a close fight, that means a loss for Trout," said the underdog, who holds the WBA 154-pound crown.
Trout may be "nice," but it looks to me like he's no fool: "If I want to guarantee a win, I have to knock Cotto out."