As the end of the year approaches, HBO Boxing Insiders take a look back at the fights that aired on the network and HBO PPV in 2015. Here, they make their selections for the Trainer of the Year.
Kieran Mulvaney: Chepo and Eddie Reynoso
Canelo Alvarez was the favorite entering his middleweight title clash with Miguel Cotto, but among the notes of dissent were the cautions that perhaps the two corners weren't exactly evenly matched. Cotto boasted Freddie Roach, multiple Trainer of the Year, while Canelo had Chepo and Eddie Reynoso. Sure, they'd been with Canelo his whole career, but what else had they done? If Alvarez was to ever make it to truly elite level, the whispers went, wouldn't he need a big-time trainer of his own one day? Twelve rounds later, after Alvarez showed terrific defense and improved ring generalship to accompany his superior offense, Reynoso father and son surely deserved their due.
Eric Raskin: Peter Fury
For Fighter of the Year purposes, I hold it against Tyson Fury that his win over Wladimir Klitschko was so ungainly. But for Trainer of the Year purposes, the brilliant game-plan cannot be diminished. Whether Uncle Peter devised the game plan on his own is something only those within the Fury camp know. But between the strategy, getting Tyson in his best shape ever, and getting him where he needed to be mentally against a heavily favored champion, Peter deserves a lot of credit for the biggest upset of the year in boxing.
Nat Gottlieb: Abel Sanchez
Some will say anyone could guide a pure talent like Gennady Golovkin to the top, but it's not as easy as it may appear. Sanchez has kept GGG humble, despite an impressive track of victories, culminating with his win over David Lemiuex this fall. And don't look now but Sanchez has another budding star in light heavyweight Sullivan Barrera, who's ready to make a huge move as well.
Oliver Goldstein: Peter Fury
An award I find odd, this, given how much a trainer's fortunes naturally fluctuate with his fighter's, in a sport where losing might not tell us much about the trainer but more the perils of a sport of radical instability, where age catches up with fighters suddenly and bitterly. Nonetheless Peter Fury gets my nod. Six years ago his nephew was a gauche enough fighter to punch himself in the face; this year, warts and all, he's the legitimate heavyweight champion. Good enough for me.
Diego Morilla: Chepo Reynoso
The slow-motion highlights (and the CompuBox stats as well) are eloquent: in his fight against the uber-aggressive and resourceful Miguel Cotto, an unusually elusive Saul Alvarez dodges bombs from all angles with a set of well-timed moves that we had seldom seen before. His bobbing-and-weaving game is spot on, his side-to-side head movement takes us back to the best Roberto Duran or Mike Tyson, and his pull counter evokes those of his lone conqueror, Floyd Mayweather. Sometimes it takes many trainers and many years for fighters to accumulate this knowledge and make all these adjustments, but Canelo has done it with the one trainer he has had since he first walked into a gym, and that's Chepo Reynoso. Watching Canelo improving from old-school Mexican warrior to his current defensive wizardry – and always in superb physical shape is a testimony to how hard both fighter and trainer have worked together for so many years to create a truly complete fighter.
Harold Lederman: Chepo Reynoso
Carlos Acevedo: Abel Sanchez
Abel Sanchez has created a legitimate hobgoblin in Gennady Golovkin, who has sent middleweight after middleweight scattering like rabbits on the open prairie over the last few years. (True, Sanchez was in the corner when Nadjib Mohammedi was torpedoed in three grisly rounds by pitiless Sergey Kovalev, but Mohammedi was a KO victim the moment he signed a contract to face "Krusher.") With over 400 amateur fights under his belt, Golovkin needed to adjust a few of his novice moves in the pro ranks. Enter Sanchez, who improved his ability to cut off the ring, corrected his balance, and, most important, perhaps, taught Golovkin to punch harder by refining his technique. The result is a destructive offensive fighter with a knack for the knockout: "GGG" has not gone the distance since 2008. Now, with his first high-profile client since the violent heyday of Terry Norris, Sanchez is likely to draw more talented fighters looking for an upgrade. As a result, Sanchez will be in the running for some more "Trainer of the Year" awards whenever December rolls around again … and again.
Bob Canobbio, President and Founder of CompuBox: Abel Sanchez
GGG seems to improve with each fight. Sullivan Barrera is a force to be reckoned with in the light heavyweight division.
Frank Della Femina: Abel Sanchez
In just one year Abel Sanchez and Gennady Golovkin went from a small venue in Monte Carlo, to a packed LA Forum, and finally to the big stage in Madison Square Garden. That's three fights, three victories, and three knockout victories for Triple-G, who'd be the first to tell you that Abel deserves just as much of the credit. Their partnership is something really extraordinary in the sport. During an October fighter meeting with Golovkin, Abel told a fun story about how he had to take care of a family matter for a few days while GGG was in training. When he came back, his gym was spotless. The floors were clean. The windows were immaculate. GGG had organized a cleaning crew of boxers in training while Abel was away. That right there is more than just a boxer and his trainer. Simply put, that's family.
Frank Miller: Abel Sanchez
GGG is my choice for Fighter of the Year so it would be only right to select Abel Sanchez as Trainer of the Year. He's prepared Golovkin to go the distance if need be—Murray. He's drawn up a successful game plan against an athletic boxer type—Monroe. Last and of course not least, he's gone at raw power—Lemieux—with more raw power. Three very different opponents and three wins for the Golovkin-Sanchez team.
Michael Gluckstadt: Chepo Reynoso
Before a fight, Freddie Roach can make you believe anything, and before Cotto-Canelo, he had me believing that Chepo Reynoso was out of his league. Afterward, I harbored no such illusions. Canelo had an answer for everything Cotto threw at him, and if anything, seemed the better prepared of the two fighters. Canelo has been a national sensation since he was a teenager, but in the gym with the Reynosos, he's a hard-working ace student.