For the trainers of
Floyd Mayweather Sr., a former pro welterweight, taught his son to box and was his trainer early in Floyd Jr.'s career. After a bitter feud, though, an uncle, Roger Mayweather, took over as Floyd Jr.'s trainer for more than a decade. But this year father and son reunited, and this is the second consecutive fight with Floyd Sr. in charge.
A father and son also played a key role in Alvarez's development. Chepo and Eddy Reynoso, a father and son from Guadalajara, have been Alvarez's trainers throughout his career, and they were the ones who first encouraged a 13-year-old Alvarez to pursue boxing.
Alvarez, 42-0-1 with 30 knockouts, is making his seventh World Boxing Council 154-pound title defense. But he faces the daunting challenge of trying to be the first fighter to beat Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs), widely regarded as the world's top pound-for-pound boxer.
But Chepo Reynoso, 60, took Alvarez aside at training camp in Big Bear Lake and told him the simple goal for this fight. "My ultimate desire is to see Mayweather down for the count, knocked out," Reynoso told Alvarez. "We are going to make it possible."
Reynoso also played a role in the distinguished careers of champion Mexican fighters such as Oscar Larios, Javier Jauregui and Alejandro "La Cobrita" Gonzalez.
The Reynosos forged their working relationship after father coached son in youth baseball and soccer, and then in the boxing gym.
One of five siblings, Eddy was a solid amateur fighter. But he enjoyed teaching too. So for 20 years now the Reynosos have worked as co-trainers and they routinely huddle to devise a string of winning fight plans.
"It's all about preparation," Eddy Reynoso, 37, said. "We all have our own opinions, but we work together to get the best result."
They found Canelo when the fighter's older brother, Rigoberto, also a boxer, brought the freckle-faced redhead to a gym in Guadalajara.
The Reynosos were struck by the teenager's strength and by "this intelligence you wouldn't ever see from a kid this age," Chepo recalled. "He was a brawler, but he could move, feint. He picked up our lessons very quickly."
Anyone who signs to fight Mayweather, though, has to match wits and accept taunts and insults from his flamboyant father.
Floyd Sr. has already blasted the Reynosos for allowing Alvarez to be so heavy. A month before the Mayweather bout, Alvarez weighed 166 pounds; he has to make a 152-pound weight limit.
"They don't know what they're doing," Mayweather Sr. said. "No fighter needs two voices in his ear, anyway. That's where people get confused. Just pick one person. You've got a pile of mess over there. I'm not worried about them. They need to worry about me. I've got the best fighter in the world."
Mayweather's game plan is for his son to sweep the first five rounds by relying on defense to force Alvarez to waste punches, then to tire the bigger man by hammering him with counterpunches. The trainer says his son might score a later-round knockout.
"Canelo's big and strong, but you've seen the bull and the matador, right? The bull charges, but the matador most of the time is in control. He makes the bull miss, then he's striking him," Mayweather said.
Chepo Reynoso countered: "But bulls have killed so many toreros. A strong bull kills a torero."
The Reynosos separate their training responsibilities. Eddy handles the mitts and body-bag work with Alvarez in the gym, and Chepo observes and provides the sage advice.
The trainers say Alvarez has been more focused and dedicated in camp than for any other fight, and he has increased the speed of his power punches.
"I want to see him throwing punches and punches, intelligent punches," Chepo Reynoso said. "An intelligent fighter is one who knows how to create problems for an opponent, not one who adjusts to problems. Canelo is super strong physically but is 10,000 more times intelligent. He's a genius. I've never seen a fighter like him."
Trainer Mayweather isn't fretting. It has been only four months since his son dismantled Robert Guerrero in a lopsided decision. And this quick return to the ring is "going to be the big difference," Mayweather said. "He's throwing more punches now, everything is better. He's beating up guys [in training] who are much bigger, much stronger. He can handle power.
"On top of that, my son has fought maybe 18 champions. I think Canelo's fought one good one in [Austin] Trout. He's going to realize that in the ring.… Floyd's a genius in that ring."
However, the Reynosos vow they know how to beat the unbeaten.
"We're not famous like Mayweather Sr.," Chepo said. "I wasn't a professional boxer. But I've been in 40 world-championship fights. We don't like to talk too much. I don't shout to the cameras so people will listen to me. We just work. We like hard work."