Jose “Chepo” Reynoso knelt down on the ring inside his San Diego gym to time Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s workouts last month, and told a reporter about his days working at a “carniceria,” which is Spanish for meat market.
Reynoso was a butcher for 32 years before becoming one of the top trainers in Mexico and Alvarez’s manager.
It was a rough gig that only paid 1,000 pesos a week, about $100 at the time. But it was enough to support his wife and five kids.
When money became scarce one year, Reynoso was forced to look for work in the United States. Reynoso took his eldest son, Eddy, and the two worked in a meat market in Salinas, California, for seven months.
Jose Reynoso returned to his family in Guadalajara, Mexico, and was fed up with the butcher life. He decided it was time to chase his dream of opening up a boxing gym.
“Meat market, thank you for putting food on my family’s table for more than 30 years,” Reynoso said in Spanish. “But (explicit)! It’s time to go after my dream.”
Reynoso’s bold move paid off. He and his son opened up the most popular gym in Guadalajara, and the money concerns went out the window when Alvarez walked into their gym more than a decade ago. The Reynoso family will be behind Alvarez — just like they have for all his fights — come fight night when Alvarez faces Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for a 164.5-pound catchweight bout at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.
Eddy Reynoso, who’s the head trainer, will go up against arguably the greatest Mexican trainer of all time, Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, who will be in Chavez’s corner. This is the first time the legendary 77-year-old trainer has worked with Chavez.
Beristain has trained numerous world champions such as Ricardo Lopez, Gilberto Roman, Oscar De La Hoya and the Marquez brothers, Juan Manuel and Rafael.
Beristain certainly has the experience advantage over the 40-year-old Reynoso. But Beristain faces a tough task, starting with having Chavez make weight on Friday. Chavez (50-2-1, 32 knockouts) hasn’t fought under 168 pounds in five years and has had trouble making weight at 175 pounds.
“Beristain has the character to train me,” said Chavez, who’s the son of Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. “It was tough because you can’t change a fighter’s style in one day.
“I’ve learned a lot from my father, but he’s not the trainer. It’s been a good camp with Beristain.”
The younger Reynoso and Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) won’t have chemistry issues, but this could be a big moment for the trainer of Team Canelo.
Reynoso has often been overlooked as one of the top rising trainers in boxing, and it might be because of what happened in Alvarez’s lone career loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden in 2013.
Alvarez tried to outbox arguably the greatest technician of the last 20 years and the bulk of the blame went to Reynoso.
The tandem has since bounced back with Reynoso turning Alvarez into a knockout machine with vicious combinations.
“I don’t know,” Alvarez said when asked why the Reynosos are overlooked as trainers. “I really don’t know or understand it. Eddy and Chepo, when I started with them, I didn’t even know how to throw a jab, and they taught me. Those are trainers.”
Jose Reynoso’s first world champion was Oscar Larios, a former two-division titlist. His days as a lead trainer were cut short when his injured right knee wouldn’t allow him to move fast enough to get to his boxers’ stools in between rounds.
Reynoso had no problem with letting Eddy take over the family business.
“We’ve had 20 professional fighters training in our gym in Guadalajara at one point,” Jose Reynoso said. “They want to work with Eddy. Canelo is our biggest attraction, but we have many more top boxers coming, and Eddy is a big reason for that.”
Contact Gilbert Manzano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.