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Danny Gonzalez started boxing to lose weight; now, he's fighting at the Garden

The Woodhaven, Queens native began boxing as a teenagers as a way to lose weight. He faces Long Island native Chris Algieri on Friday.

Danny Gonzalez will compete at the Hulu Theater

Danny Gonzalez will compete at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden for the first time in his career. Photo Credit: AP/Williams Paul

When Danny Gonzalez was just 15 years old, his mother made a decision that would change his life.

“My whole family was overweight,” the Woodhaven, Queens native told amNewYork. “My brother had diabetes, asthma. He was like 400 pounds. I was [over] 200 pounds, and I was starting to get sick, so my mom made a decision to put me in a boxing gym.

"I fell in love with it. I lost like 100 pounds and started fighting. I got my brother into boxing. He lost like 300 pounds.”

For Gonzalez (17-1-1, 7 KOs), who will face Long Island native Chris Algieri on Friday at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, being exposed to boxing was love at first sight.

“It was complete obsession,” Gonzalez said. “I can say I’m almost psycho to obsessed with boxing. I love training. It gave me self-esteem. It gave me a purpose. It gave me passion.”

Gonzalez, who lists fellow Puerto-Rican boxers Miguel Cotto and Felix Trinidad as his favorites, now gets to fight in the same building as some of his idols.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” said Gonzalez, who will vie for the WBO International super lightweight title. “MSG is iconic. It’s The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

Gonzalez's opponent, Algieri (22-3, 8 KOs), also is his friend and a fighter against whom he has sparred in the past.

“It’s definitely different because there is no shock factor. You guys both know each other,” Gonzalez said. “It’s definitely different from sparring. We never sparred 10 rounds together. We never fought with the [smaller] gloves, so they’re totally different fights. But we know each other very well. He knows my weaknesses; I know his. It’s going to be all-out war.”

Gonzalez hopes his story of turning his desire to lose weight into a boxing career inspires the youth and adults alike.

“It you work hard and you dedicate yourself, you can become something,” he said.

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