When the dust clears on the latest Triller Fight Club debacle, somewhere on the undercard of what was supposed to be the unified lightweight world championship bout between champion Teofimo Lopez (Brooklyn, New York 16-0, 12 KOs) and Australian George Kambosos (Sydney, Australia 19-0, 10 KOs), a New York fighter named Danny “El Gallo” Gonzalez is slated to appear.
Gonzalez (Queens, New York, 22-2-1, 7 KOs) will on Saturday, October 16 face a tough test in Petros Ananyan (Brooklyn, New York by way of Russia, 15-2-2, 7 KOs).
There are several great storylines in the bout, the classic prospect crossroads fight, the Brooklyn v. Queens boxing battle, the latest chapter in the Star Boxing v. Dibella Entertainment rivalry, etc however the best story is the 15-year journey that brought Gonzalez to the precipice of increased fame and purses, the spoils that the winner most likely will get.
It has been written that every journey begins with a single step, for Gonzalez’ the first step was a major leap and an inspirational one. The bout will be contested at the junior welter limit of 140 lbs.
When his journey began 15 years ago, Gonzalez was 100 lbs. more than that.
“I had no self-esteem, I was embarrassed and just lost,” Gonzalez said. Desperate, obese and depressed, he found salvation in Moises Roman Junior’s Universal Boxing. “I fell in love with it, no talking, it was the perfect thing for me, it mattered how hard you work. No lies in boxing, it’s honest combat.”
The two have forged a partnership that goes beyond the ring. “We are more like father and son, then trainer and coach, fighter or manager, we are like Mike Tyson and Cus D’Amato,” said Gonzalez.
Roman has guided Gonzalez’ development throughout his entire amateur career, he had about 80 fights, and pro career. El Gallo credits Roman and Universal for his development and the lessons translate beyond the ring. “Nothing beats hard work,” he said.
If Universal was the beginning of his education, Star Boxing’s “Rockin’ Fights” at The Paramount is his graduate school. “The Paramount is awesome, it is far but not too far, it’s not that big of a place but it feels like (Madison Square Garden),” said Gonzalez.
You learn more than just the craft of boxing as part of “Rockin’ Fights.” Gonzalez understands that and has taken full advantage at the opportunities afforded him. Gonzalez explains: “It’s tremendous, it’s about selling tickets… after a couple of fights in all, I built my fan base in both places, Long Island and Queens.”
His first fight was a preliminary bout, the second on the card, against a prospect named Ken Alavarez. Gonzalez recalled the experience: “It was a great memory and my toughest fight. It was Friday Night Fights and I added 2,000 people on my social media. It was my first fight with Star Boxing and the most important fight of my career, old time on ESPN, a dream come true.” And He even was given words of wisdom by Friday Night Fights commentator Teddy Atlas. “He told me don’t jump, you are a real fighter, I try and always remember that.”
As his understanding of the business developed, so did his stature on the card, as Gonzalez emerged as a local main event attraction. “If it wasn’t for The Paramount, 11 fights, the right fights at the right time…the experience was legit and prepared me for the moment, it helped me build patience and calm focus. Because of where The Paramount is, it is packed with my fans. It has given me great exposure,” Gonzalez shared.
One of his victories was over archrival Johnny Hernandez, a Paramount favorite. The win propelled him into a fight at Madison Square Garden against a familiar face, Star Boxing stablemate and former World Champion, Chris Algieri.
“Idols become rivals, I am grateful to Chris and fighting him was a great experience,” said Gonzalez. Gonzalez lost but acquitted himself nicely. “The Paramount prepared me for MSG, you will laugh but my fight with Johnny Hernandez was much louder, and the energy was one of a kind.”
He returned to “Rockin’ Fights” late in 2019 to pull out a very hard-fought victory over Johnny Hernandez again. “My battles with Hernandez were epic great fights,” Gonzalez said.
The second Hernandez fight was a main event, one of four times he has been the headliner.
“If you want to see a fighter grow and develop, look no further than the difference in Danny Gonzalez’s first main event at the Paramount, to his latest. Danny has always been a workhorse in the ring, throwing insane amounts of punches to drown his opponents. As he continued to grow as a fighter through the series, Danny transitioned from being a busy fighter into an efficient and effective puncher, picking his spots to land, while maintaining his impressive work rate,” said Tony Palmieri, Star Boxing Communications Director.
Gonzalez explains more of his evolution. “The second fight was tough but much easier, the second fight I showcased how much better I got,” he said. That’s a sentiment that Palmieri agreed with. “It’s a testament to Danny’s dedication to his craft and rising to the occasion headlining one of, if not the top professional boxing club shows in the country.”
Gonzalez spoke on his wish list moving forward. “I would like to be the winningest fighter in “Rockin’ Fights” history, I want to keep getting tested. I am the Long Island Attacker, most of those guys don’t like me anymore.”
Gonzalez stayed ready during the pandemic and trained hard. He grabbed his 20th win at the famed 2300 Arena in Philadelphia Pa. “The 20th win I think is a game changer for the networks, when they hear 20 it just sounds different than 19,” Gonzalez told me. Gonzalez had a solid performance shutting out an over-matched Evincii Dixon, a professional opponent with 26 losses.
He also has developed his craft sparring with some world class fighters. Some of the names that Gonzalez has worked with as a sparring partner are the top names in the sport including 140-147lb royalty, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, who he spent five weeks with.
As Gonzalez appears ready to graduate to the next level, he isn’t looking passed Ananyan. He understands Ananyan will be a tough test and he respects his tremendous amateur background. “I am physically strong and in great shape, had the best camp I have ever had,” he said.
While the fight date and promotion has been wrought with problems and has been a moving target, he was still excited to fight on Triller. “It brings new eyes on the sport, if anything the delay helped me, I feel the best I ever had. It should be cool. I actually would have liked to fight Cletus.”
Cletus Seldin will most likely be the new main event headliner at the Barclays for Triller. “Maybe I will start some trouble after,” Gonzalez said through a laugh.
As for what is next, “I have been saying it, I want the big fights and the chance to continue to show the world what I got.” Maybe this will be “graduation day” for El Gallo.