It was back in January of 1995 that twice-beaten Alejandro Gonzalez, a 21-year-old from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, received the opportunity of a lifetime to face WBC featherweight titleholder Kevin Kelley in San Antonio.
Jose “Chepo” Reynoso was one of the men in the corner of Gonzalez, who was facing a fighter with a mark of 41-0 that included 29 knockouts in only his second-ever appearance on American soil.
At the time, Reynoso served as an assistant to Julián Magdaleno, the primary trainer of Gonzalez, nicknamed “La Cobrita.”
In Kelly, Gonzalez was in against a man nicknamed “The Flushing Flash.” Yet after scoring a sixth-round knockdown and rising from one, himself, in the eighth, Gonzalez came away with a 10th-round stoppage win after Kelly was prevented from leaving his corner for the 11th.
“We came in against a monster — Kevin ‘The Flushing Flash’ Kelley,” said Reynoso. “Nobody knew who we were. Nobody gave us a chance. But we knocked Kelley out. At the time, that was huge for us.”
Reynoso will be in the corner of another young fighter from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mex., on Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, when 23-year-old RING and WBC junior middleweight champion “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 knockouts) puts his belts on the line against RING No. 1-rated pound-for-pound fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr. (44-0, 26 KOs) on Showtime Pay Per View.
“I was in the corner of Alejandro Gonzalez, and the kid was just 21 years old. The kid was from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, just like Canelo. This is not exactly the exact same scenario, but this is just as big, if not bigger. Our guy was a baby compared to Kevin Kelley. At the end of the fight, Kevin Kelley said that the fighter he saw that night in Gonzalez was not the same fighter that he had seen before. Kevin Kelley thought that he was going to have a bull coming after the matador,” said Reynoso.
“But on that night, Gonzalez was a ghost all night. He was throwing so many punches and he closed both of Kevin Kelley’s eyes. Now, the media is saying that Canelo is like a nobody against Mayweather, but the same thing is going to happen. Mayweather is expecting the bull, but he’s not going to see him, just like Kevin Kelley never saw Alejandro ‘La Corbita’ Gonzalez. When Mayweather gets in against Canelo is going to show him that he’s also got speed. Canelo is going to be a ghost to him.”
Mayweather will be competing against a junior middleweight for only the third time in his career, albeit at a catchweight of 152 pounds.
Reynoso offered a retort to Ellerbe.
“If they think that we are inept and stupid, then they also made a mistake,” said Reynoso. “Mayweather made a mistake by choosing to fight Canelo in the light middleweight class instead of fighting as a welterweight.”
Note: Matthysse’s interview was translated by Golden Boy’s Ramiro Gonzalez.
Note: Alvarez will be leaving Friday afternoon with his seven-member training staff on a private airplane for Las Vegas following eight weeks of training — seven of which were spent in Big Bear and one in Los Angeles. Coupled with two more in Vegas, Alvarez will have spent two months preparing for Mayweather.
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com