Rumors are circulating that Billy Joe Saunders, the WBO middleweight champion, will make his first title defense against former junior middleweight title challenger Austin Trout. That would mean that Trout would have to move up in weight to challenge for his first title shot since April 2013 when he fought Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, although he challenged for an interim title in his very next fight against Erislandy Lara in December of that same year.
Trout has weighed in at 156,157, and 156 pounds in his past three fights. In his last outing, Trout fought Joey Hernandez, and while Hernandez is more known for his time at junior middleweight, he has fought at middleweight and above several times throughout his career. This isn’t to suggest that the fight with Hernandez has prepared Trout for the impact of a true middleweight’s punch, but, at the very least, Trout isn’t making the jump completely unprepared.
Saunders, fresh off of his majority decision victory over then champion Andy Lee this past December, is undefeated and was considering a title unification fight against Gennady Golovkin before things got derailed. It’s still unclear just how realistic those negations were and how close the fight with Golovkin was to being finalized, but it was evident that the fight would not happen once those involved, namely the fighters, began to make their demands public. The public statements through social media axed the fight, as those things tend to do.
It is unclear whether or not this proposed bout between Saunders and Trout is near finalized, all but announced, or simply a rumor with varying degrees of reality attached to it.
The rumor gained traction when Corey Erdman tweeted from his personal twitter account:
“I’m hearing that it’ll be Austin Trout getting the shot at Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO middleweight title…” -@corey_erdman
With Erdman’s role at PBC and Trout being a PBC fighter, it is well within the realm of possibility that he’d have legitimate insider information before anyone. However, Erdman maintains a heavy catalog of sources and it is possible that he’d have a valid lead even without his PBC ties.
Attempts at contacting the Trout camp went unsuccessful.