At age 37, Austin Trout could spend time pondering the inevitable end of his long and successful combat-sports career.
He chooses otherwise.
Friday in Hidalgo, Texas, Trout, a longtime Las Crucen who now lives and trains in Houston, will face Mexico’s Jose Sanchez Charles in the eight-round main event of a pro boxing card.
Beyond that, laid out for the former WBA world junior middleweight champion is a new challenge. Last month, Trout signed a contract with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
In explanation, Trout (35-5-1, 18 KOs) said with a laugh, “I’m from New Mexico. I like to fight. Every time I’ve hurt my hands, it’s been in a glove, to be honest.”
Boxing, though, remains his first athletic love. And Sanchez Charles (20-2-1, 12 KOs), virtually unknown beyond the Texas-Mexico border, could derail Trout’s plans in his chosen sport should he spring an upset in Hidalgo.
Trout said he had never heard of the Reynosa, Tamaulipas native until Sanchez Charles was named as his opponent. He knows plenty about him now.
Sanchez Charles’ nickname is “El Matador,” suggesting he’s a runner or a dancer in the ring. But YouTube video of a previous fight shows him as aggressive – though not hyper-aggressive – with solid skills.
“He’s a tough fighter, man,” Trout said. “… He has a good jab, rangy. We’re not taking anything lightly from Sanchez.”
Trout said he’s glad to be back fighting in his adopted home state. And, yet, he and Houston trainer Bobby Benton will be the visiting team on Friday. Reynosa is fewer than 10 miles from Hidalgo – the two cities even share an airport – and Sanchez Charles fans are likely to be loud and plentiful.
“This is the biggest fight of his life,” Trout said, “and therefore it’s the biggest fight of mine.”
Trout moved to Houston from Las Cruces to be close to his training base with Benton but said he’s come to love the city as well.
“It feels like home,” he said. “No (disrespect) to my home in New Mexico. I love y’all, but Houston is my new home.”
Regarding that looming end of the road, Trout said he’s optimistic yet realistic.
“I’m aware, and I’m keeping tabs on my body and my mind every camp and every fight,” He said.
In terms of longevity, he said, it helps that as a skilled defensive fighter he’s taken no beatings in his 41 professional fights. Periods of inactivity, while not welcome at the time, also have “helped preserve me a little bit.
“God works all things for the good of those that love him.”
ABOUT THE BKFC: New Mexico sports journalist Jorge Hernandez reported on Nov. 29, citing an unnamed source, that Trout would make his bare-knuckle debut against Albuquerque MMA legend Diego Sanchez in Albuquerque in February.
The BKFC has not announced any events beyond a Jan. 27 card in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Originally, the BKFC planned to make its New Mexico debut in December 2021 at the Rio Rancho Events Center, with Sanchez in a featured fight. That card didn’t happen, and Sanchez has yet to fight bare-knuckle.
In August, the BKFC came to the Events Center featuring several local fighters, including former UFC star John Dodson.
Of the report that he’ll fight Sanchez, Trout said, “It sounds pretty solid to me. … That’s what I’m hearing, too.”
STREAMING (OR NOT): Friday’s card in Hidalgo is being advertised by promoters as streaming on ESPN Knockout, a Latin America-based spinoff of the Spanish-language network ESPN Deportes.
It’s unclear whether the service is available in the U.S.
The card is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. MT.