The two-division world champion is recognized for his work in the community and being an inspiration to Latino children in Philadelphia.
Danny Garcia laughs at the recollection. He was 26 years old the first time he bought a suit. He remembers busting on Amir Khan because he wore suits. The former two-division world champion used to think it was a sign of weakness to wear one.
The 34-year-old father of two carries a different mindset today.
Garcia is always impeccably dressed when he’s out publicly. Especially for formal affairs, like on Thursday afternoon in his hometown of Philadelphia, where Garcia was honored by Channel 6, the local ABC/Disney affiliate, as one of the most influential Latinos in the Philadelphia community, joining Channel 6’s award-winning journalist Dann Cuellar, U.S. Eastern District of Philadelphia Attorney Jacqueline Romero, and National Homicide Justice Alliance’s Aleida Garcia and Wilfredo Rojas as fellow honorees before a gathering of around a hundred at the Channel 6 ABC studios.
The young man who didn’t like wearing suits found himself immersed in suits, and a beautiful crystal award sitting on his lap on the drive home for the tireless work “Swift” has done in the Philadelphia community, from giving away school bags, to speaking to local high schools and sports teams. He lets them know that if a kid who didn’t own a suit and had little else could make it, they could, too.
“It is kind of crazy that I didn’t own my first suit until I was around 26, and I wore a suit today,” said Garcia, laughing. “I used to think that if you wore a suit, you weren’t tough. I wear many different hats these days. I was honored by ABC, and it was pretty cool being up there in a suit with broadcasters, and attorneys and judges who are just like me—Latin. I used to get nervous when I spoke publicly. It’s why the first thing I told them (during his acceptance presentation) that if anyone watched any of my fights, my father, Angel, does my talking. I just fight.
“It is a great honor. I think it’s the second time I was honored like this, but this meant more. You had people there that were lawyers and judges, a lot of important people. I don’t really see myself as a celebrity. My parents are both Puerto Rican. I’m very proud of my heritage. Receiving this shows how hard it is to be successful coming from Philly’s Latino community. The people I was with (on Thursday) are the best at what they do. It didn’t matter if they were news anchors, or judges, or fighters.
“It felt good to be around other successful Latinos. I’m the first Latino world champion from Philly. I told everyone there that my goal is to motivate to other Latino kids coming up in Philly. Growing up, I never met any Latinos who were successful. I never met any Latino celebrities. I never met any Latinos with money.
“ ... Not all these kids will listen to your message, but if one kid listens and my message changes their life, that means everything to me. ” Two-Division World Champion - Danny Garcia
“I grew up in Philly. I saw things. The streets of Philadelphia are a hard place to live. There are a lot of things going on right now in the city. I want these kids to know that they can make it. It’s why I give back. A lot of Latino kids growing up never meet any successful Latinos and they become a product of their environment. I try my best talking to these kids to break that violent cycle. You grow up in that environment, it’s all you know. You know not all these kids will listen to your message, but if one kid listens and my message changes their life, that means everything to me.”
Garcia recently became a father again, with a baby girl he named Palace.
“Now we have Philly (his older daughter) and Palace, the Philly Palace,” said Swift, laughing. “My daughter (Philly) was in school, and Palace was at home, but my dad and my family were here (at the award ceremony). What makes me proud is how proud I make my dad. He had nothing growing up and look what he’s done for his kids. I feel great physically and mentally. I was born in the hood and my daughter is born in the palace (laughs).”
At the ABC affair, Danny and Angel posed for pictures and signed autographs for the invited guests. Danny, who owns property in Miami, Florida, took solace knowing that his home had not been damaged by Hurricane Ian. He’s going to stay and train in his native Philadelphia for a while before he goes back.
Angel, meanwhile, was so pleased the buttons on his shirt popped. He is a major reason why his son received the special recognition. He’s the one who drove him to amateur tournaments around the country and spent countless hours with him in the gym honing his craft.
“When I was growing up in Philadelphia, we didn’t have the luxuries that Latinos have today,” Angel said. “Latinos were never recognized. We couldn’t even speak Spanish in the streets. We had to whisper when we spoke. Doors to Latinos were closed. Now, you have Latinos that are news anchors, judges, and lawyers. A lot of people don’t stick around their communities after they make it. We have. We’re looking to save lives. You have to give back. It was hard for me. It wasn’t going to be hard for my kids. I’m very proud of Danny.”
Who mere hours before was wearing a suit, holding up a crystal award for TV cameras.
For a closer look at Danny Garcia, check out his fighter page.
- Danny Garcia