The former junior middleweight world boxing champion cruised through 26 victories to start his professional career.
But in 2013, Trout got caught up in thinking too much about who he was fighting, leading to consecutive losses – in April 2013 to Canelo Alvarez and in December 2013 to Erislandy Lara.
The setbacks, both by decision, were the first back-to-back losses for Trout since he was a 14-year-old amateur.
“We’ve been doing some soul searching and working on ourselves to make sure I am more of a complete fighter as opposed to getting ready for someone else,” Trout said about his most recent camp in Houston, which has been moved from the more familiar setting of his hometown of Las Cruces or the higher elevation training of Ruidoso.
“After the Canelo fight, we kind of never did that. We just jumped into (the next training) camp and started working on Lara. This time, we’re working more on me to make sure he’s able to adapt to me instead of me just focusing too much on adapting to him. … Definitely going back to doing the things I do well.”
The results have been clear to Trout and trainers Bobby Benton and Louis Burke.
The 28-year-old Trout (26-2, 14 KOs) said he cut back some on strength work in preparation for this fight.
“I feel fast, man,” Trout said. “I feel like my old undefeated self.”
But make no mistake, Burke said, Dawson (40-3-1) will still feel the hurt of Trout’s punches, too.
“His punches are coming off more fluid,” Burke said. “He’s going to have his power. … He’s focused, but relaxed. He’s much more relaxed. His speed and power look like they’re better than they’ve been for the past year.”
Trout said he hopes his speed will carry him in Friday’s fight against Dawson, which will be nationally televised on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.
The hope is a refocused Trout will quickly put to rest any thoughts his pair of losses in 2013 are a sign of a fighter on the down slope. And after Friday, don’t expect Trout to go into hiding, either. He wants to stay far more active than he’s been in the past couple of years (he’s fought just twice since Dec. 1, 2012). Quicker turnaround between fights, Trout says, should help him stay sharp from fight to fight.
“I’m definitely anxious right now to get back in the ring,” Trout said. “I’m anxious to work again. … Give me one or two more fights without a long delay between them and you’ll see the best of Austin Trout. I feel like the best of Austin Trout hasn’t been able to come out because I’ve been doing these one or two fights a year. That’s never been good for me. Keep me active and I’ll get sharper each time.”
As far as predictions for Friday night go, Trout said he won’t predict how he’ll win, but there is no doubt his hand will be raised, serving as a reminder to the boxing world.
“I want to make sure that everybody knows I’m still a force to be reckoned with,” Trout said. “I’m still a problem and I should definitely still be taken seriously in this (junior middleweight) class.”