David "Gordo" Garcia
TheBoxingBar : David, you’re from “The First Family of Boxing” of Oxnard, The Garcia’s. Is that how you got into the sport? Was it through the influence of your grandfather, your uncles, and the fighters they helped who were successful in the sport?
David Garcia : The pressure was definitely there. But no, I got involved because of my brother. He was the first from the cousins to get into boxing. Once we moved to Oxnard in early 2000 Mikey, Danny Jr., and I joined boxing.
TBB : Did your parents approve of you wanting to try out a tough sport like boxing?
DG : I grew up with one parent, my mother. So, since she is the sister of Danny, Robert and Mikey, I was “forced” into the sport. She liked the sport because of the discipline to keep my brother and I off the streets.
TBB : What was the first gym you first started training at?
DG : The first gym was La Colonia Boxing Club. It was a great experience. I hated going but ended up loving the sport in the end. We met a lot of great people during those years. I had a lot of great sparring matches with Jerry “Chingolin” Garcia. Maybe you have heard of him. That’s my boy right there!
TBB : Did you feel like people had higher expectations of you going in because of who your family was back then?
DG : Yes, expectations were always high because of our background. Then again, my family knew I wasn’t too fond of the sport, so they didn’t really push me too much. Just enough to keep going for over 10 years. (Laughs)
TBB : What was your amateur boxing career like? How far did you get?
DG : I didn’t do much in my amateur career. If I remember correctly, I had about 40-50 fights. My highlight was placing second at the National Jr. Olympics in Michigan. For the final bout, I competed against Glenn Tapia from New Jersey. He was a prospect a few years back. I actually dropped him in the second round with a clean right hand, but it wasn’t enough to get the victory. Other than that, I was able to spar some great fighters to gain the experience during my amateur years. Some of my notable sparring partners were Sergio Martinez, Marco Antonio Rubio, Victor Ortiz, Brandon Rios, Antonio Margarito, Egis Kavaliauskas, and several more.
TBB : You had three professional boxing fights, and one BKB fight? What made you stop fighting?
DG : Reality. I wasn’t naïve to continue going. Boxing is a tough sport and if you don’t have all the needed qualities, you’re bound to retire sooner or later. I knew boxing wasn’t everything, so I always had a Plan B, something my mother always expected from us. I never stopped going to school. Once I officially stopped, after BKB, I pushed hard for education. I received my AA in 2015, my BA in 2018, my M.Ed in 2020 and my teaching credentials in 2021.
TBB : You did have a Plan B in life, not every fighter does. You finished school and have gone into teaching as your career choice. Any regrets in not fighting anymore?
DG : Great transition! No, I do not have any regrets. I am actually really glad I stopped. I have seen a lot of stuff in the recent years that I do not like. I love that I left the sport on my own terms. I love the person I am now and love how I can give back to my community. I think boxing comes with big baggage if you “make it.” The fame and the money are big issues in that sport, and they speak volumes.
TBB : October 3, 2019 I’m sure must have been one of the worst days of your life. You find out that your brother, Javier “Pelos” Garcia, passed away. May he rest in peace. He was a tough fighter and the first BKB welterweight champion. He loved the sport. What do you remember about him as a competitor in the ring?
DG : My brother, how can I forget. We sparred many rounds together and I am glad I did. Great memories with him in the sport. I think my biggest memory of him as a competitor is his huge heart and willingness to give the fans a great show. He never backed down and always gave good fights.
Quick funny story ... For one of his BKB fights, he ended up getting a huge cut on his eye. Of course, a cut never looks good and usually affects the fighter. My brother ended up winning by KO. On our way back to the locker room, he was so excited because of the cut. He knew that it would make the fight that much more “bad ass” from all the blood that was running down his face. That’s a memory that will always stay with me. Of course, there are many more stories. I am glad I was part of his career.
TBB : Losing someone that close to you will change your life forever. How did losing “Pelos” change you as a person?
DG : Losing someone so close hits different. It’s hard to explain. Seeing how everything plays out after someone’s death makes you approach certain situations with more caution. It makes you more aware. It opens your eyes to what really matters in life. I have changed tremendously, and I know the people around me have noticed. I am sure everyone would change as well. I would also like to add that PTSD is no joke. I struggle with it every day, but I know it’s part of the healing process. Here is a quote I love referencing because you just never know what someone is going through, "In a world where you can be anything, always choose kind."
TBB : Being an ex-fighter, physical trainer, and now teacher by career … What advice would you give a kid that is trying to become a fighter?
DG : I am currently training a few kids that want to pursue boxing as a career. My advice and something that I continue planting in their heads is to never stop going to school. I am big on education, hence, reason why I am a teacher now. So best believe I will always be pushing for that.
I also prep them mentally. I explain a lot of things that I have seen and am seeing in boxing these days. I want them to know what they are getting themselves into. It’s not all fun and games like the media makes it seem. It’s not just about being on tv, the pictures, the autographs, or the money and fame. There’s so much more to it that people don’t know. I want them to be aware and vigilant.
TBB : How do you want people, like your family and friends, to remember you from your days in the ring?
DG : When looking back at my career, I want people to know that although boxing did not work out for me, I never stopped following my goals. There is life outside of boxing. There are other fights you can have outside of the ring, and that’s with the books.
Quick random questions …
TBB : What is your all-time favorite cartoon?
DG : The Rugrats. Nothing compares!
TBB : What is your all-time favorite movie?
DG : Crash (2004) with Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, and Terrance Howard. Great movie about racial inequalities.
TBB : Favorite fast-food place?
DG : I can safely say its L&L Hawaiian BBQ.
TBB : Favorite cereal?
DG : I stopped eating dairy products but when I did, Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
TBB: Favorite comedian?
DG : Steve Trevino when he talks wife jokes. Check them out fellas!
TBB : A city would you want to visit, that you have never been to?
DG : In the USA, Seattle. In another country, Paris.
TBB : What was your favorite subject in school?
DG : The subjects they offer in K-12 are pretty boring. I did horrible in math, English, and even Science. When I went to college, I loved Sociology courses. They really helped me understand populations and our Latino population.
TBB : Favorite super hero?
DG : Batman