Boxing changed the life of Adan Gonzales; now he wants the world to know who he is

Monday was just another night at the office for Adan Gonzales.

But on Saturday at Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, the Denver native pulled off one of the most shocking upsets of the year. Gonzales knocked down and beat up Robeisy Ramirez, a dual Olympic gold medalist from Cuba who was making his highly anticipated professional debut, in a four-round split decision that should have been unanimous.

It was supposed to be a showcase fight for Ramirez -- a smooth, easy introduction to the professional ranks.

It was anything but that and within the opening seconds, Gonzales (5-2-2, 2 KO's), 22, knocked down Ramirez with a sharp left hook. He proceeded to whip Ramirez for the rest of the bout.

Celebrations in boxing, though, are short-lived. It was no different for Gonzales, who returned to the TLC (Train Like Champs) boxing gym with a renewed sense of confidence. There were no high-fives, no extended conversations, and no luxuriating in his ego.

Within minutes, Gonzales was pounding the heavy bag with left and right hooks, moving around, switching up stances and unloading quick punches. Then, it was on to the second station, which consisted of squats and push-ups, and four laps of running around the neighborhood.

After working out with the team for approximately one hour and 30 minutes, I felt a pressure on my chest. That pressure has forced many to reconsider a pro boxing career. For Gonzales, it is his life -- his job to fight through that pressure. After all, the motto at the TLC gym is "I have no wife because boxing is my life."

"I haven't left this gym since I was 15 years old; it has changed my life," Gonzales said. "Boxing changed who I am as a fighter, and who I am as a person."

Seven years of training, blood, sweat, tears -- the culmination of those experiences -- produced the confidence Gonzales walked into the ring with to face Ramirez.

And it paid off.

There have been rumors circulating in recent days that Ramirez slacked off in training. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum went as far to say that Ramirez was "in hiding," but Gonzales did not want to hear it.

"They are trying to take credit away from me," Gonzales said. "They can obviously think what they want about me, but I showed them that I am more special than they really thought.

"The next time they see me, they will see even more improvements. It ain't nothing but up from here."

If there is one trait that stands out about Gonzales outside of boxing, it is his blunt honesty. When asked where he would rank this victory among his other wins, Gonzales did not have a place for it.

"It ain't nothing to be too proud of," he conceded. "Like I said at the fight, Robeisy is just another man, so are the rest of the opponents that face me. Anybody that wants it can get it."

Gonzales considers himself lucky to have made it this far in life, and he thanks his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ every day for it.

Gonzales is from the east side of Denver, where gang violence is a long-standing concern. In 2017, the Denver Police Department estimated that there were approximately 38,000 gang members in Denver, affiliated with as many as 220 gangs, including the notorious Crips. The group was responsible for the drive-by shooting murder of Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams.

"My area was quite infested with gangs," Gonzales, a father of two, continued. "Walking around two o'clock, there is not a good chance you're going to make it home safe. While it is not the worst environment, at the same time, it is not the best. Thank God I found Donald (Camarena) at TLC."

Gonzales would like to fight at least five more times before the year is over.

"The echelon of the fight doesn't matter," Gonzales said. "I am going to take advantage of every fight and every training camp from this day forward. I ain't going back."

Gonzales also lost in his pro debut, a controversial four-round majority decision at the hands of Abdur-Raheem Abdullah. However, his second loss in March 2017 in a rematch against Jose Gonzales, he admits, was entirely his fault.

"I had a lot of personal things going on," he added. "I am not making any excuses. I am just telling you the truth. I should have trained 100 times harder than I did. I learned my lesson."

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