LAS VEGAS -- There isn’t a trainer in the sport today who comes close to the incredible run being enjoyed by Eddy Reynoso.
That doesn’t mean the world-class trainer still doesn’t have his work cut out for him.
Reynoso engineered a game plan carried out to near perfection by Oscar Valdez (29-0, 23KOs), who dethroned WBC junior lightweight titlist Miguel Berchelt with a monster 10th round knockout this past Saturday at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. The win came hours after the Reynoso-trained Gabriel Valenzuela pulled off his own upset in a points win over Robbie Davies Jr. in London.
Next up for the 2019 Trainer of the Year—and already the leading candidate for 2021—is a big fight in Miami. Initially he was scheduled to corner both the co-feature and the main event. The more competitive of the two matches—at least on paper—pitted defending WBC flyweight titlist Julio Cesar ‘El Rey’ Martinez (17-1, 13KOs; 1NC) versus Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo (20-4, 15KOs), a two-time title challenger who represented Puerto Rico in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
On Thursday, it was revealed that Martinez withdrew from the fight with a hand injury.
Reynoso is not the type of trainer to take chances, even when his fighter is a heavy favorite, by sending him to the ring with a hand injury.
“It’s a difficult fight,” Reynoso insisted to BoxingScene.com of the canceled matchup. “McWilliams Arroyo has a lot of amateur experience and is well-schooled."
Headlining the show at Hardrock Stadium, Martinez’s stablemate and Reynoso’s star client Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (54-1-2, 36KOs) is a massive favorite to defend his unified WBC/WBA super middleweight titlist versus Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12KOs).
The flyweight clash would have marked the third title defense for Martinez, whose lone loss came in his pro debut. The 26-year old from Mexico City saw his career truly take flight in 2019, all since dropping down from junior bantamweight. It began with an upset stoppage win over unbeaten Andrew Selby. The win was followed by an originally ruled 3rd round knockout win over Charlie Edwards to win the WBC flyweight title, only for the verdict to be overturned when it was ruled that Martinez inadvertently hit Edwards while still on the canvas in their Aug. 2019 title fight in London.
Martinez claimed the vacant strap just four months later, knocking out former titlist in the 9th round of their title fight in Dec. 2019. Two defenes have followed, the last of which came on the undercard of a show featuring lineal junior bantamweight champion and WBC titlist Juan Francisco Estrada and WBA 115-pound title claimant Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez. Martinez stopped countryman Moises Calleros inside of two rounds, keeping pace with the two far more celebrated figures on the show.
The 115-pound division has become one of the most lucrative in the sport at the top level. Estrada and Gonzalez are due to meet in their highly anticipated rematch on March 13 in Dallas. The winner will represent a career-best payday for anyone in the lower weight divisions, including Martinez if he wants it.
His team has other ideas, with the belief there remains unfinished business at flyweight beginning with this weekend’s title defense.
“I would like for El Rey to stay at flyweight for another year,” Reynoso insists. “He can use the experience and I would like to keep him here for the rest of the year, maybe even get the other champions in the ring.
“After that, once we all feel he’s ready then we can pursue those big fights at 115 pounds. But for now, he has a tough challenge in front of him.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox