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Eddy Reynoso is The TSS 2019 Trainer of the Year

David A. Avila

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Years ago a legendary fight manager once advised “don’t be a guy who prepares fighters, be a professor who teaches boxing.”

Those words forever guide our Trainer of the Year for 2019, Mexico’s Eddy Reynoso who mentors dozens of pugilists including four-division world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, considered by many the best fighter today pound for pound.

It all began in a boxing gym in Guadalajara while watching his father Jose “Chepo” Reynoso work with hundreds of hungry Mexican youngsters starving for fame and stardom in a tiny gym called Julian Magdaleno.

Jose “Chepo” Reynoso was already established as a boxing trainer in the Guadalajara area. At day he was a butcher, at night he toiled in the boxing gym showing youngsters the tools of the fight trade.

“I was eight years old when I first walked into the gym in Guadalajara,” remembers Eddy Reynoso. “Thank God I listened to my father who said I should become a trainer in my father’s gym.”

Their first world champion together was Oscar “Chololo” Larios in 2002.

“I started doing some of the training during the entire time that Larios was a world champion. That’s when I learned together with my father,” said Reynoso.

Another who remembers that period is Riverside trainer Willy Silva, a friend of the Reynosos, whose gym was a stopping point for Larios and for Javier Jauregui, another of their world champions who would fight in the U.S.

“It was about 15 years ago when they used to bring “Chatito” Jauregui and “Chololo” Larios to our gym. Eddy was training and also trying to lose some weight. At that time he didn’t know that much, but he was very good at studying things about boxing,” said Silva, who trained Mauricio Herrera, Carlos “El Elegante” Bojorquez and Jose Reynoso, the nephew of Chepo Reynoso.

Mendoza Influence

While continuing to work with his father, a legendary fight manager, Rafael Mendoza noticed the younger Reynoso working with many of the aspiring prizefighters. One day the manager and advisor for 25 former world champions approached the son of “Chepo” Reynoso and gave the advice that would be his guiding light in the world of professional boxing.

“He told me anyone can hold the mitts,” said Eddy Reynoso about Mendoza’s advice. “Be a professor that teaches boxing. Show them the art of boxing.”

It fueled his desire to create his own path and boxing philosophy.

During this time a redheaded youngster walked into their gym who was one of six Alvarez brothers – his name Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

“Really his hair is what I remember most. He really surprised me with his red hair and face, it was not very common in Mexico,” said Reynoso who was 25 at the time and Alvarez 13. “He caught my attention for being how small and strong he was.”

Though Alvarez was very powerful even at a young age, the Reynosos preferred to teach him a style not too common with Mexican prizefighters – counterpunching.

“It’s something we had been taught as kids and I as a kid always liked counter punching. I always studied fighters like Jose Medel and Gilberto Roman. I started implementing that as well as the old school style of fighting,” said Reynoso.

Both father and son realized they had a special fighter in Canelo Alvarez. From the very beginning they realized he could advance further than even their previous world champions.

Mayweather to Kovalev

Through all of Alvarez’s fights, the Reynosos always felt he was the stronger fighter. But they also realized that defense and tactics could derail any fighter regardless of strength. After seven years of burning through opponents they finally wrangled a match with the preeminent boxing strategist Floyd Mayweather on Oct. 2013.

Alvarez was 23 years old when they met and was defeated by majority decision. It was an impactful moment for the team from Guadalajara.

“From fighters like Mayweather, we learned a lot. It wasn’t for nothing, he was the best in the ring,” said Eddy Reynoso about that encounter for the WBA and WBC super welterweight world titles in Las Vegas. “Fighting against Mayweather you learn a lot of different levels. The loss teaches you to do better on certain things and you gain a lot of good especially when you fight somebody like that.”

It also sparked an even greater desire to learn the different levels of the sweet science.

After that loss Alvarez seemed to jump to an accelerated level of prizefighting against  opponents of various styles and strengths. When he defeated Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto it opened eyes and when he shut out Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. it convinced naysayers that the Mexican redhead and his trainer were capable of defeating any style, and perhaps, moving up in weight.

Reynoso was never in doubt.

Two massive encounters with Gennady Golovkin in 2017 and 2018 proved that Alvarez was more than capable of clashing with the best in the world regardless of weight or experience. And when he demolished super middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding, it further enhanced Canelo’s reputation as a fighter willing to take risks and overcome physical and size advantages.

Last year Reynoso consented to work with sterling prospect Ryan “the Flash” Garcia and world champion Oscar Valdez. Both young fighters watched the development of Alvarez with awe and sought to enhance their own defensive prowess.

Frank Espinoza, who manages undefeated former WBO featherweight titlist Valdez, has witnessed Reynoso in action and marveled at his boxing wisdom.

“What I like is he is a teacher. It makes a difference. He’s not a guy that just holds up the mitts. If you train with him you will become a better fighter,” said Espinoza who has been involved as a boxing manager for several decades. “The way I see it, Jose Reynoso taught Eddy everything since he was a child. He has learned from his father and Eddy has taken over the next generation.”

Espinoza said he’s also visited Reynoso’s boxing library where he has tapes and books on everything concerning boxing.

“Eddy is very knowledgeable in the boxing game. He goes back and we’ll talk about things. He has every Ring Magazine all the way to the 1930s,” said Espinoza, who occasionally visits the small boxing compound in San Diego. “He studies the old trainers like Jorge Rivero and fighters like Miguel Canto. He studies old trainers and old boxing styles, he reads up.”

It’s a trait that Espinoza and others admire.

Studying potential foes and their styles – even those far above the middleweight division — has become a staple of Reynoso. That’s how he discovered former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev during one of his excursions through the boxing landscape.

“When I saw Kovalev in the fight in Frisco, Texas with Eleider Alvarez, it was a good fight and I knew before that Canelo could fight him,” said Reynoso about Canelo moving up to the 175-pound light heavyweight division to contest Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight world title. “We always knew he had the strength to knock out somebody at light heavyweight. He had done it in sparring. We were sparring a heavyweight and he sent him to the canvas.”

Of course, sparring and fighting in the prize ring are two different obstacles. One who felt it was a bad idea was old friend Willy Silva from Riverside, California.

“I was thinking Canelo was not going to beat Kovalev because he has a good punch,” said Silva, who was reminded of an old 1974 clash between welterweight king Jose “Mantequilla” Napoles and middleweight king Carlos Monzon. In that fight Monzon tore right through Napoles in six rounds. “Monzon was a good puncher like this guy Kovalev. I thought it was going to be the same thing. I wasn’t crazy about it but Canelo did a good job and knocked the guy out.”

It proved to Silva that Reynoso was teaching at a different level.

Espinoza sees it too.

“Eddy has knowledge of the history of boxing. He picks up and learns the boxing of the past. He doesn’t get away from that. He is young but he has that old school mentality,” Espinoza said.

Now Canelo Alvarez reigns as a conqueror of the light heavyweight, super middleweight, middleweight and super welterweight divisions. It’s lofty territory for not only Alvarez but his young professor Eddy Reynoso.

The world awaits their next move but for now, knowledge that he has been named the Trainer of the Year has brought him to an unexpected moment.

“I’m very happy and excited. It fills me with pride and makes me keep going forward and growing as a trainer from Mexico. It personally shows me that we are doing the best things possible,” said Reynoso.

It also proves that the words that shaped his boxing philosophy have rung true – “to be a professor who teaches boxing.”

Congratulations to Eddy Reynoso, this year’s Trainer of the Year.

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Avila Perspective, Chap 111: Munguia, Tank and The Monster

David A. Avila

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Avila Perspective, Chap 111: Munguia, Tank and The Monster

Here come some more hardcore fights.

As the end of the year approaches contracts must be honored. That’s a good thing for fight fans even during a pandemic.

Golden Boy Promotions brings a loaded fight card led by Mexican swing-from-the-heels fighter Jaime Munguia (35-0, 28 KOs) moving into the middleweight division against Tureano Johnson (21-2-1, 15 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. DAZN will stream the Friday night fight card on Oct. 30.

Munguia (pictured opposite Johnson) just recently turned 24 years old; a couple of weeks ago. The former super welterweight world titlist out of Tijuana grew out of the division and now is mentored by boxing great Erik “El Terrible” Morales. No more swinging at anything that moves. Now it’s technical savagery.

Johnson, 36, hasn’t fought in over a year but in that last fight he knocked off Ireland’s undefeated Jason Quigley. That was not supposed to happen. The Bahamian native only has two losses and those were stoppages in the last round by Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Curtis Stevens. He has the technique, but does he have the chin?

Another savage battle involves welterweights.

New England’s Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (22-0, 14 KOs) faces Orange County’s Alexis Rocha (16-0, 10 KOs) a hard-hitting southpaw in a showdown set for 12 rounds. Will it go that long?

Both have power and I doubt the fight goes beyond seven rounds. Both have ended fights in the opening rounds before. If someone blinks at the wrong time it could be over quickly.

Others on the card including super featherweight contender Lamont Roach and super middleweight prospect Bektemir Melikuziev. Also, female contenders Sulem Urbina and Marlen Esparza square off. Opening bout begins at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

Crazy Saturday

A Matchroom Boxing fight card stemming from England showcases a Southern California-based world champion Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) meeting Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) in the heavyweight main event.

Usyk, now 33, just recently conquered the cruiserweight division and was undisputed world champion and now deigns to move up in weight where the money is much better fighting the big boys. He’s a speedy Ukrainian southpaw who uses plenty of movement and has shocking power when he sets his feet.

Chisora, 36, has fought all of the top European heavyweights including another Ukrainian heavyweight named Vitali Klitschko. Though it hasn’t always been violets and roses for Chisora, he does pack a wallop and if he catches Usyk it could be all over. But his feet are made of stone and he will have problems moving in rhythm with the fleet-footed Usyk.

A co-main event features lightweight contenders Lee Selby (28-2, 9 KOs) pitted against George Kambosos Jr. (18-0, 10 KOs) in a Great Britain versus Australia battle.

Two female bouts with extra power are also on the card as Savannah Marshall (8-0) battles Hannah Rankin (9-4) for the vacant WBO middleweight title; and Amy Timlin (4-0) meets Carly Skelly (3-0) in a battle of undefeated super bantamweights.

The fight card will be streamed on DAZN at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.

Showtime

World champions collide with three-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz daring to move up yet another weight division and challenge the ultimate danger in super featherweight and lightweight world titlist Gervonta “Tank” Davis for his titles.

Danger is written all over this Showtime pay-per-view card on Saturday Oct. 31.

Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) has yet to be truly challenged by anyone. Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) has always been a risk taker and could be going way over his limit against Tank.

“I’m facing the best fighter in the division. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. I have to go against the best fighter,” said Santa Cruz. “I wanted to challenge myself. I know this is a dangerous fight for me, but I want to test myself.”

If Santa Cruz is still standing after 12 rounds then a big salute to him. Davis won’t allow that to happen. He’s not a guy who looks to win by decision. Tank looks to knock opponents unconscious so he can take pictures of them asleep.

“I don’t think I have to knock him out, I just have to go out there and be great. Forget everything else, I just have to go out there and show everyone that I’m the top guy in the boxing world. That’s my main goal,” said Davis.

Right.

It’s not the only good fight on the card.

Mario Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) defends the WBA super lightweight title against Ryan Karl (18-2) in the co-main event.

Also, on the same card Regis Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) meets Juan Heraldez (16-0-1, 10KOs) in a super lightweight matchup. Whoever wins will probably meet Barrios for his title soon after. That’s if Barrios beats Karl.

It’s a boxing card that could see the end of the line for one or two of the fighters.

Monster and Mayer

Japan’s Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) defends the WBA and IBF bantamweight world titles against Australia’s Jason Moloney (21-1, 18 KOs) at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas on Saturday October 31. It will be his Las Vegas debut and will be televised on ESPN+.

Inoue will be a big favorite and how can you blame odds makers when Moloney’s only loss was to Emmanuel Rodriguez who was blown out by the Monster?

But you never know.

“There are a lot of expectations, and I want to meet those expectations. I take those big expectations, and I use them as motivation and power to keep getting better with every fight,” said Inoue.

Inoue’s last fight nearly a year ago was an epic clash against Nonito Donaire in a classic battle that saw both deliver bombs and take them in a 12-round fight that ended in a close but unanimous victory for the Japanese star.

Boy was it close.

Until the 11th round it was nip and tuck as Donaire proved why he is destined to be a surefire Hall of Fame inductee when he retires.

Both punished each other and during their confrontation it was evident that Inoue does indeed have a solid chin. One big question will be if Inoue took too much punishment and can he handle a rough customer like Moloney.

“Every fighter should want to fight the best. That’s why we’re in this sport. My dream and my goal is to be the best bantamweight in the world, and the only way to make that happen is to beat Inoue,” said Moloney.

It should be an interesting match.

Also, female American Olympian Mikaela Mayer (13-0) challenges Poland’s Ewa Brodnicka (19-0) for the WBO super featherweight world title. Expect no quarter given by Mayer who has been gunning for a title challenge for the past two years with most of the titleholders in Europe ignoring her.

Brodnicka expects a tough fight.

“I have a lot of things against me. But I’m ready. I don’t care if she says that she doesn’t respect me. She makes a lot of mistakes, and I’m going to take advantage of all of them,” Brodnicka said.

Mayer is not in a good mood.

“I have been calling out the champs for a while. It’s been something I feel like I’ve been ready for a few fights, but now in hindsight looking back, I think everything worked out perfectly. Like Bob Arum said, I’ve had some really great fights, and I’ve really been able to settle in to my pro style. I’m more ready than ever to take on these world champions. I feel like I’m the best in this division,” said Mayer.

Sunday

A Sunday afternoon boxing card by Thompson Boxing Promotions takes place at the Omega Products International in Corona, CA but will not include fans.

Undefeated lightweights Mike Sanchez (6-0-1, 2 KOs) faces Israel Mercado (8-0, 7 KOs) in the main event on Sunday Nov. 1. It will stream on Thompson Boxing Promotions web page and also on its Facebook page beginning at 4 p.m. PT.

Go to this link to watch the fight card: www.thompsonboxing.com

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

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Usyk vs. Chisora Sets the Table for a Strong Night of Boxing

Arne K. Lang

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It’s been largely lost in the ragout, at least on this side of the pond, but Saturday’s busy fight docket includes the return of Oleksandr Usyk, the former Olympic gold medalist who left the cruiserweight ranks as a legitimate four-belt champion. The 33-year-old Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs), opposes tough but erratic Dereck Chisora, a 36-year old Londoner by way of Zimbabwe. Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs), has won five of his last six, the setback occurring in his second encounter with arch-rival Dillian Whyte.

Usyk vs. Chisora, a Matchroom promotion, will play out at Wembley Arena with no fans in attendance. The Ukrainian southpaw is ranked among the top three heavyweight contenders by all four major sanctioning bodies although he has fought only once as a heavyweight, turning away under-trained late sub Chazz Witherspoon who was all in after seven frames. Usyk weighed 215 for that contest and is expected to come in about 230 for Chisora.

Usyk, who has anglicized his first name to Alexander on his English-language twitter feed, is a big favorite, but this is a tricky fight for him. The consensus 2018 Fighter of the Year, Usyk has fought only twice since unifying the cruiserweight title with a lopsided decision over Murat Gassiev in July of that year and 55 weeks have elapsed since his last start. If he needs the early rounds to shake off ring rust, he could find himself clawing out of a hole, and sometimes the hole is too deep as Usyk’s stablemate Vasiliy Lomachenko can attest. Moreover, Usyk has yet to face a naturally bigger man who can bang as hard as “Del Boy.”

The Usyk-Chisora card will air in North America on DAZN with the main event ring walks anticipated about 6 pm ET.

The tiff is hitched to an interesting undercard. Once-beaten Welshman Lee Selby, briefly the IBF featherweight champion, tangles with Australia’s undefeated (18-0) George Kambosos Jr. Savannah Marshall, who saddled Claressa Shields with her only amateur loss, meets former Shields opponent Hannah Rankin with a vacant world middleweight title at stake, Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy opposes Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune for a domestic cruiserweight title, and then there’s the heavyweight fight attracting buzz between popular Yorkshireman David Allen and Christopher Lovejoy.

The buzz surrounds the mysterious 36-year-old Lovejoy who is 19-0 as a pro with all but two of those KOs coming in the opening round.

All of Lovejoy’s fights were staged in Tijuana. Only one of his opponents brought a winning record. For a certain stripe of fighter, Tijuana is the equivalent of a feed lot, a place where livestock go to get fattened up before they are sent off to the slaughterhouse. David Allen is limited, but the most likely scenario in this fight is that it ends with Lovejoy sitting on his stool.

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Diego Magdaleno is Locked and Loaded for Saturday’s Fray in San Antonio

Arne K. Lang

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Diego Armando Magdaleno, the son of a former semi-pro soccer player, was named for Argentine soccer star Diego Armando Maradona. But Diego’s father Jesus is hardly disappointed that his son devoted his energies to a different sport than soccer as Diego, the oldest of Jesus’s three boys, has carved out a nice career as a boxer. On Saturday, he faces Isaac Cruz at the San Antonio Alamodome and a win could thrust him into a third crack at a world lightweight title. Magdaleno vs. Cruz will be televised as part of a SHOWTIME PPV event anchored by a battle between title-holders Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Leo Santa Cruz.

The bookies don’t know what to do with the Magdaleno-Cruz matchup. One can find odds on fights of lesser importance, but with the fight only four days away the pricemakers were in quandary. Team Magdaleno, however, is approaching the fight as if they are the “B” side. Mexico City’s Isaac Cruz, who boasts a 19-1-1 record and is undefeated in his last 15 starts, has a fan-friendly style and is only 22 years old. In theory, he has more value to the promoter going forward than Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) who turns 34 this week.

Magdaleno relishes the underdog role. He was the “B” side in his most recent fight when he opposed Austin Dulay in Dulay’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, and he carved out a clear-cut 10-round decision. Dulay, the younger man by nine years and less experienced at the pro level, was in over his head. Their fight was nationally televised on FOX.

Diego Magdaleno was born in Beverly Hills, California, but unlike many folks born there wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. “We were more like the Beverly Hillbillies,” says Diego, a reference to the popular sitcom that ran on CBS from 1962 to 1971.

For many years, Diego’s father, an immigrant from Sahuayo in the Mexican state of Michoacan, worked at the flagship West LA branch of an iconic Greater Los Angeles hamburger chain. Diego’s parents now manage a 7-11 in Las Vegas.

When Magdaleno first laced on the gloves it was at the Brooklyn Avenue boxing gym in the gritty Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, the same gym where Oscar De La Hoya trained for the Olympic Trials. He continued with the sport after his family – he has three older sisters – moved to Las Vegas.

Diego influenced both of his younger brothers to become boxers. Jessie Magdaleno surpassed him in name recognition when he upset Nonito Nonaire in November of 2016, earning him the WBO world super bantamweight title. Jessie lost the belt in his second defense, succumbing to Isaac Dogboe, but has won three straight since that mishap, advancing his record to 28-1. The youngest Magdaleno brother, Marco, was 4-0 as a pro when he abandoned the sport, having secured a job with good pay and benefits in the construction field.

Diego has applied some of his ring earnings toward a real estate investment in Scipio, Utah, where he owns a parcel of land adjacent to a pioneer home. Scipio is a four-hour drive from Las Vegas and figuratively a million miles away. What does one do for fun in Scipio, pop. 288? The first thing that popped up in our internet search was to go grab a sandwich at the Burger Barn.

There’s a back story there. The pioneer home, built in 1886, was recently purchased by Diego’s fiancée Shannon Torres, a descendent of one of Scipio’s founding families. She and Diego are restoring it. Diego professes to be amazed at the craftsmanship. “When we pulled up the carpets,” he said, “the original hardwood floors were still in great condition.”

Shannon Torres has a boxing background, having fought as an amateur and having sparred with the likes of Mia St. John. She is also a nutritionist. Diego confesses to having a sweet tooth, being fond of cheesecake and anything with peanut butter. “She knows how to make those things for me so they are not as unhealthy,” he says.

Magdaleno’s first loss came in April of 2013 when he lost a split decision to Ramon Martinez in Macau. Diego thought he won the fight, but only one of the judges concurred. At stake was Martinez’s WBO 130-pound world title. His second world title opportunity came against WBO lightweight champ Terry Flanagan on Flanagan’s turf in Manchester, England. That didn’t go well.

“When I got in the ring, it felt like there was sand under my shoes,” said Diego. “My right foot was sliding underneath me. I overcompensated and that caused me trouble.” Magdaleno loaded up on his punches, a fatal mistake, and was knocked out in the second round.

Top Rank dropped Magdaleno after that fight but would eventually bring him back to fight their rising star Teofimo Lopez. His fight with Austin Dulay was his first fight back after his loss to Lopez (TKO by 7) and his first with new trainer Bones Adams (pictured on the left) in his corner.

Mag

Isaac Cruz poses a different threat than Dulay partly because Cruz, who stands only 5’4 ½”, is a lot shorter. But Magdaleno is confident the result will be the same.

“His style is attack, attack, attack; it’s one-dimensional,” says Diego. “I have been in there and done things that this kid has never seen. I am a big step up for him.”

Unlike many prizefighters, Diego Magdaleno knows where he is heading after his career is finished; he is already a licensed real estate salesman with one listing to his credit. He’s bi-lingual despite having spent only three months living in Mexico, that as a first-grader, and his linguistic versatility will come in handy in his second career. “I know just enough Spanish to get by,” he says, but having heard him speak in his parents’ native tongue we can attest that he’s being much too modest.

For the time being, however, Diego isn’t looking past Saturday night. Magdaleno vs. Cruz is expected to go first on the four-fight PPV portion of the card which kicks off at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Magdaleno/Dulay photo credit: Stephanie Trapp

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