Jermell Charlo promised a knockout victory but had to settle for a 12-round majority decision over Austin Trout to retain his junior middleweight title on Saturday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The scores were 115-111, 118-108 and 113-113.
After two inconclusive rounds, the 28-year-old Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) floored an off-balance Trout (31-5, 17 KOs) in the third with a left, and his challenger stumbled backward into the ropes. Trout did not appear hurt and easily beat the count.
Charlo, from Houston, Texas, attacked in the fourth. The defensive-minded Trout ducked under most of his blows but threw very few of his own. There was an accidental clash of heads in the fifth round, but neither boxer was cut.
Trout, 32, came off the ropes with a good combination in the sixth. Later in the round, Charlo spun in a circle after Trout threw a combination, but a replay between rounds showed that it was a push rather than a punch.
The left-handed Trout landed a good uppercut in the seventh and appeared to be closing the scoring gap after another decent round in the eighth. But Charlo scored a second knockdown in the ninth, when he caught Trout with a left hook to the side of the head.
A hard right to the face jarred Trout in the 10th round, but the veteran from Las Cruces, New Mexico, rallied in the 11th and 12th after his trainer, Barry Hunter, told him he needed a knockout to win. But it was too little too late.
Trout, who has now lost two of his four most recent bouts, said he intended to keep boxing.
"Take away the knockdowns, and I won the fight," Trout said.
"I knew he would come in and try to survive," Charlo said when asked why he couldn't score a knockout. "I could catch him with my hook."
The victory was Charlo's third successful defense of the title he won by stopping John Jackson on May 21, 2016.