Five keys for Austin Trout

Former junior middleweight world titlist Austin Trout returns to the ring Friday, looking to put a difficult 2013 behind him.

Trout (26-2, 14 KOs), who reached the highest of highs with his December 2012 victory over Miguel Cotto, suffered a pair of defeats in the last 12 months against two of the best fighters in the division: Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara.

The native of Las Cruces, New Mexico, will headline the season finale of ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" in a 12-round bout against former title challenger Daniel Dawson (40-3-1, 26 KOs) of Australia at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California (ESPN2; WatchESPN, 9 p.m. ET).

If Trout, 28, looks to return to the title picture at 154 pounds with a victory, he should consider these keys to victory:

Establish the jab

Fight your fight

Build an exit strategy

Go downstairs

Be bold; but don't force it