With so many storied champions in Mexican boxing history, trainer Eddy Reynoso understands why some people struggle to reach consensus on who the best really is. After all, how does one choose between the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., Salvador Sanchez, Ruben Olivares, Erik Morales, Ricardo Lopez, Vicente Saldivar, Raton Macias, Efren Torres, Jose Napoles, Marcos Antonio Barrera, Humberto Gonzalez, and Juan Manuel Marquez?
But the choice is clear as day to Reynoso. It’s his charge, Canelo Alvarez – and by a good country mile. Or at least it will be whenever Alvarez's career comes to a close.
The reason is simple, says Reynoso. There has never been a fighter in Mexican boxing history who has collected as many titles from so many weightclasses as Alvarez; Alvarez has won titles in four divisions. Moreover, Mexicans, Reynoso notes, do not arrive packaged quite like Alvarez, whose strapping build has allowed him to compete in the rarefied climes of the light heavyweight division. To Reynoso, that puts Alvarez in a class all by himself. Apparently, size does matter.
“Canelo has been a world champion in 154, 160, 168, and 175 [divisions],” Reynoso told Little Giant Boxing. “Because of our genetics as Mexicans, the weight classes that fit us have been at 135, 140 and below.
“The only fighters in history that have won world titles at 154, 160, and 168 have only been Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, and now Canelo and to win in those higher weight classes, and to be considered the best pound-for-pound [fighter[ in the world. If we consider his height and genetics it’ll be very difficult for this to ever happen again [for a Mexican].”
Reynoso stresses how rare it is for a Mexican to be not only competing in the upper weight classes, but winning titles.
“I’m telling you as a Mexican…a Mexican fighting at 175, when have we ever seen that?” Reynoso posed.
“Saul is already in the top 10 greatest Mexican boxers today because of what he’s done at his age, the challenges that he’s taken on, the world titles that he has won, the champions that he has faced. The number of champions and former champions that he has beaten. Not many Mexican fighters have accomplished that.”
Outside of Alvarez (54-1, 36 KOs) and, perhaps, Antonio Margarito at welterweight, Reynoso cannot recall another Mexican fighter who was at his best above the junior welterweight division. The ones that did typically found themselves foundering.
“When Chavez Sr. tried to jump to welterweight he couldn’t,” Reynoso said. “There’s many that tried to move to 147 and 154 and then would win a world title and then would lose."
Reynoso understands that his comments may not please the old guard.
“There’s a lot of old school Mexican fighters whose names I am going to refrain from mentioning to avoid any misunderstandings,” Reynoso said. But they haven’t done half of what Saul has done.
“Mexico has given us so many great boxers that achieved fame but many of those boxers are from the old school that were only one-division champions and they have been enshrined in the hall of fame. But they never accomplished what Saul has, especially at 30 years old. That gives me grounds to say that as a boxing fan, that when Canelo retires from boxing, he will go down as the greatest Mexican fighter ever, simply because his numbers will back up that assertion.”
Alvarez is coming off a lopsided knockout victory over Callum Smith on Dec. 19., which awarded him with two of the four major super middleweight titles.
“Canelo is still active and the best is yet to come and the end of his career will allow him to do even greater things,” Reynoso said. “He is well on his way and I have no doubt that the day that he retires he will be the greatest Mexican fighter ever, backed by numbers."