Danny ‘El Gallo’ Gonzalez: Fighting for Pride, Heritage, and the Love of Boxing
The fat kid turns to boxing to lose weight and sheds the pounds, later that kid disappears in to a normal life feeling like he/she has a better grasp on healthy living and probably continues being active to some capacity. There are those very few who take on the challenge of boxing beyond just losing weight and being healthy. It becomes their lifestyle. They want to compete. They turn professional. The pugilistic art engulfs them and boxing becomes life itself. The 24 year old welterweight boxer Danny “El Gallo” Gonzalez (5-0 3 KO’s) is one of those kids who joined a boxing gym to take on the challenge of being healthy and fell in love with the sport. Now sporting an undefeated record in his young career, he continues to take steps towards reaching his dreams of being a legendary fighter. This Wednesday at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, NY, DiBella Entertainment brings its final installment of Broadway Boxing at the Roseland which is closing its doors for good and on the undercard Queens native Danny “El Gallo” Gonzalez takes on tough spoiler Ray Velez hoping to impress the crowd with a dominant victory while keeping his “O” intact. We caught up with “El Gallo” during his final days of his grueling training camp to learn about how he got started and how he earned his right to be where he is at now.
TBV: First, tell us a little about yourself, where are you from?
DG: My name is Danny Gonzalez and I fight at welterweight. I’m Puerto Rican but born here in New York City.
TBV: How did you first get in to boxing?
DG: Basically my brother and the rest of my family were extremely overweight they had diabetes, asthma, they weren’t very active or healthy. So I decided I wanted to not end up like that so I asked my mom about any kind of combat sports gym around and she told me about a boxing gym because she had a friend that went there and since that moment I just joined the boxing gym and fell in love with it.
TBV: After you began training and practicing every day, how did it come about that you wanted to compete?
DG: Well I’ve always been extremely competitive when it comes to one on one sports so basically the first time I sparred I just really thought it was fun. I like to compete, and I liked how it was dependent on yourself and you had to defend yourself. There were no words involved. It wasn’t about who could say this or that or who you were. It’s just you and another person fighting. I liked that and I just fell in love with it. I just have a passion for competing like that.
TBV: What was your amateur career like? How many fights did you have in the unpaid ranks?
DG: It went well I fought at 141lbs and 152lbs, probably 70-plus fights. I fought in the Olympic trials, Nationals, Golden Gloves a couple of times. I won a couple of minor tournaments here and there. I never got to win anything big, but I had a decent record and just constantly got a lot of experience fighting.
TBV: Now how has the transition been from being an amateur to being a professional?
DG: I think it’s a completely different mindset, a completely different game. In the amateurs the point system just never really worked for me. As a pro I feel like I can break fighters down and make them quit. Even if a fighter is more skillful than me or a fighter is maybe faster or whatever, it doesn’t really matter because I break their will. It’s more of a gritty experience. It’s more strength and toughness based unlike the amateurs where it’s a just point based system.
TBV: You have a fight February 12th against Ray Velez on the Broadway Boxing card by DiBella Entertainment at the Roseland Ballroom. Is the game plan to break down and stop your opponent?
DG: Well the game plan is the same as it always is, implement my game plan. I’m going to go in there and box, brawl, apply pressure, and really try to make my opponent break down and give up like they usually do, and hopefully get a stoppage or a knockout and stay undefeated with four knockouts now.
TBV: You’ve had four fights in 2013, what do you have planned for the rest of 2014? Where do you see yourself by the year’s end?
DG: Definitely I’ll be back in the gym the next day after the fight. I just want to stay busy and keep on fighting and get as many fights as possible. Eventually maybe in the summer or before the end of the year I’ll get a regional or state title and just continue to fight on a consistent basis.
TBV: What gym do you train out of and who makes up your team?
DG: I train out of Universal Boxing Gym in South Ozone Park, Queens. Basically my coach, my manager, my everything is Moises Roman Jr. He handles everything for me and we’ve been a team for more than 7 years and I let him handle all of the business and the coaching.
TBV: When you’re not training in the gym for a fight what do you do to have fun?
DG: My whole life…if it’s not boxing it’s fitness related. I like to just workout. It’s kind of like my drug. I get a type of a high off of it, so most of the time I might not be boxing, but I’m training with some kind of fitness or running exercises. I do that mainly for fun. I might go out with my girlfriend here and there to a place but nothing much but staying busy training because that’s what I love to do and I think it’s fun.
TBV: What are some of your past and present favorite fighters? How did these boxers inspire you?
DG: Well past fighters I would think of “Tito” Trinidad and Hector Camacho Sr., a lot of the old school Puerto Rican fighters. My family watched boxing every weekend and we used to go to my aunt’s house and scream and holler at the TV, and I was like 6 years old watching everyone go crazy for these guys on TV. I always looked at it but never got it until I became part of the sport now and when you fight for your heritage and your culture the people have a love for you without even knowing you because they’re fighting for your heritage and those are some of my favorite fighters from the past. Presently I give a lot of respect to Mayweather and Cotto. I like James Kirkland too for his pressure style, but I really mainly love the old school fighters Trinidad, Camacho, and the Puerto Rican greats.
TBV: What would you like to say to your supporters and fans?
DG: Thank you guys. You always buy tickets. You always come and support. I go running, you see the videos. You see everything, and you’re always rooting me on. You see me on Jamaica Ave where I live and everyone is cheering my name as I run.You guys are very supportive and I promise to give you 120% in every fight and make you proud.
TBV: Where can the fans connect with you on social media?
DG: Everyone can follow my fan page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DannyElGalloGonzalez ), my twitter @prboxer11390 and my Instagram (http://instagram.com/dannyelgallo).