From THE RING Magazine: The Architect
IN CASE YOU HADN’T NOTICED, IT WAS EDDY REYNOSO WHO BUILT CANELO ALVAREZ INTO A WORLD CHAMPION
This story appears in the May 2016 edition of THE RING Magazine
Eddy Reynoso is living in an obsessed boxing fan’s fantasy land in Guadalajara, Mexico.
In the house the Mexican trainer shares with his wife and daughter, he has a room with thousands of tapes of boxing matches involving the likes of Sugar Ray Robinson and Marvin Hagler. He has as many as 40 fights for some boxers.
He has figurines and gloves, too, and even a nearly complete collection of this magazine, THE RING, starting from its inception in 1922.
One could get lost in that room for weeks, poring over the sea of boxing material, which Reynoso does on weekends when he’s not in training camp with his prized fighter, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Reynoso’s favorite fights to watch are those of the late Mexican boxer Gilberto Roman and the late American Willie Pep, a two-time featherweight champion. He has a portrait of Pep from 1954.
“It’s very important to know history because that’s what we do,” Reynoso said through a translator. “That’s our job. Sometimes, somebody asks about boxing and they don’t know much. They don’t know where champions come from. Or who was the first Mexican champion? Which champion had more defenses? You have to know about boxing because we live this.
“Besides that, I really like it. I just bought a boxing book from 1818 in England. I like to keep researching. That’s my job and I like it.”
Reynoso will turn 40 this November and his blossoming career can be likened to a video stashed in that special room, a hidden treasure only now being dusted off and played for all to see. The longtime trainer of Alvarez is finally earning recognition for helping to mold a 13-year-old with raw talent into a championship boxer.
He taught me everything because I didn’t even know how to throw a jab at the beginning.
– Canelo Alvarez
It wasn’t until Alvarez beat Miguel Cotto to win the RING and WBC middleweight championships last November in Las Vegas that Reynoso’s star began to cast a glow outside Alvarez’s camp.
“Eddy is the type of person who always works so hard and tries to get the best out of us, and perhaps that’s the reason he’s so focused on his duties and doesn’t pay attention to the recognition he deserves,” Alvarez said in a translated email. “I believe he thinks this should be automatic for the things he accomplished with other fighters and especially with me. He taught me everything because I didn’t even know how to throw a jab at the beginning.”
Alvarez met Reynoso when he went to the gym with one of his professional boxing brothers, Rigoberto. Reynoso and his father, Chepo, were training boxers in Guadalajara and began tutoring Alvarez.
“I recall that day very well,” Reynoso said. “He was very young. He was a kid. In that moment, (Oscar) ‘Chololo’ Larios was the world champion. They asked Canelo who he wanted to be like and he said Chololo Larios. And Chololo was there, and he said, ‘He’s going to be better than me.’
“Maybe it sounded like something impossible, but to be honest, it became reality. That dream from that little kid was step-by-step to getting where he’s at now.”
Reynoso was just 27 at the time he and his father started working with Alvarez but he was always Canelo’s main trainer. It’s been 12 years and the pair has been successful, as Alvarez is now 46-1-1 (32 knockouts) and a two-division world titleholder. His lone loss was to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“We have a great relationship,” Alvarez said. “We are like family. (Working with) Eddy and Chepo has been a great experience. They’ve taught me discipline, hard work, respect and loyalty.”
Loyalty is a two-way street. Reynoso, unlike many trainers, has chosen to work almost exclusively with Alvarez. He also guided Jose Argumedo to a strawweight title in December.
Veteran trainer Robert Garcia believes the near exclusivity has contributed to Reynoso not receiving the recognition of some of his peers. This year, Reynoso was nominated for Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
“I’m going to be honest and tell you why I feel this is happening. Those awards are so much about politics, and that’s why,” Garcia said. “There’s been so many great Mexican trainers in the past with great champions and there hasn’t been one single Mexican ever to win that award. I was the first Mexican-American (in 2012). The year before and the year after I felt I should’ve gotten it. There’s so many politics.
“He’s also only shown his work with Canelo. They did so good the last fight they had to mention him. It’s between him and Abel Sanchez. I’d choose either one. It’s only Canelo he works with and (some people) want to see more wins with different fighters. That’s probably why he hasn’t gotten that recognition.”
Reynoso seems to be OK with that.
“I’m full-time with Canelo,” he said. “He’s been very loyal to me. I will go to the moon if he asks.”
The Reynosos and Alvarez go to San Diego for training camp and all stay in the same house. After training is finished each day, Chepo cooks for everyone. The elder Reynoso was an amateur boxer but ultimately found his niche in training. He began to work at the Julian Magdaleno Gym and, together with Eddy, trained former featherweight titleholder Alejandro Gonzalez. The rest is history.
A lot of people in this industry, they sell (smoke and) mirrors. … The proof of talent is when you come with a boxer from the beginning, when the boxer is going four rounds and becomes a champion.
– Eddy Reynoso
Chepo Reynoso taught his son the ropes.
“Since I was 6, my dad took me to a boxing gym in Guadalajara, where all the legends from (the state of) Jalisco came from,” the younger Reynoso said. “That was La Arena Coliseo. I was working out there one year. When I was 11, my dad took me to a different gym, where I started to take the sport more seriously as an amateur boxer.
“My dad gave me the idea to be serious in boxing. More important, to be honest. He’s a very honest person. ÔÇª And, of course, always discipline and responsibility in any field. And never be late to a workout.”
Reynoso has been learning English by listening to the broadcasters while he watches fights and reading boxing articles and has started taking English classes. He wants to become fluent. He understands about 80 percent of what he reads in English, he said.
However, Reynoso conducts interviews and press conferences in Spanish. That might be another reason he’s not as mainstream as some trainers in the U.S. He also isn’t as outspoken as some of his counterparts, such as Freddie Roach or Floyd Mayweather Sr.
That’s by design.
“My philosophy is that your work speaks for itself,” Reynoso said. “A lot of people in this industry, they sell (smoke and) mirrors. They want to be in highlights. They don’t go to the gym but you see them on TV. The proof of talent is when you come with a boxer from the beginning, when the boxer is going four rounds and becomes a champion.”
Reynoso still isn’t a household name, like Roach, but Alvarez’s victory over the Roach-trained Cotto was a defining moment in the trainer’s career.
“That’s one of the fights that’s more beautiful and important we’ve been able to win,” Reynoso said. “First, we beat a great boxer like Miguel Cotto. We won the second world championship. There was a lot of criticism of the way we were working with Saul, that he didn’t have a trainer with experience. They really didn’t give us a chance until we won with good boxing, technique and class.
“It really left me very satisfied and that’s something I’ll never forget because it was a nice moment.”
Reynoso traveled with Alvarez nine of the 12 months last year, which might’ve been a problem if his wife didn’t understand the business. He’s married to Maria Fabiola Torres Escoto, the daughter of former world champion Efren “Alacran” Torres. The Reynosos have a daughter, Lea Fernanda, and are expecting their second child, a daughter, who is due in May.
That’s around the same time as Canelo’s next fight, against Amir Khan for the middleweight championship on May 7 in Las Vegas.
Reynoso might have some hardware of his own to add to his collector’s room not long after that, if he is honored by the BWAA. Not that he’s worried about it. His biggest wish is that those who don’t know much about him would learn this: “I love boxing. I’m a passionate guy about boxing who knows history.”
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