A horrific life-altering moment stole much of the joy from Roberto Garcia’s life. But after nearly two decades of soul-searching, the Mexican-born fighter has rediscovered love and re-energized his career.
When he was just 10 years old, Garcia witnessed his father shoot his mother to death and then turn the gun on himself.
“That night I saw my parents die in front of my eyes, it was impossible to believe,” Garcia told Yahoo! Sports in 2014. “I remember everything. I remember the room, the light, the lamp, the bed, the gun. I remember it like it was a movie.”
The unimaginable tragedy contributed to years of despair for Garcia, who had learned how to box from his father, Rafael.
After his parents’ deaths, Garcia rebelled against family and friends who tried to reach out and provide direction.
As he grew older, Garcia began abusing alcohol and drugs to deal with his depression.
Boxing provided him with quick paydays that enabled him to fuel his vices and continue down a dark path, but the sport also led to a chance encounter with the love of his life.
Despite being engaged at the time, Garcia met Nana Gonzalez during a training session at a South Texas fitness center and instantly fell in love.
“I feel it’s important to tell the truth. I was engaged, and a lot of people might think bad about me because I was interested in another woman when I was engaged,” Garcia said. “But I didn’t want to be engaged. I felt I was being forced into that marriage by another family.”
The couple’s relationship blossomed, and the two were married in December 2007. They now have two young daughters.
While Nana’s love helped Garcia find meaning in his life again, she has also been a positive influence on his career.
The 34-year-old Garcia (36-3, 23 KOs) has won 21 of his last 23 fights, including eight straight.
He is now scheduled to fight 147-pound contender Shawn Porter on the first PBC on Spike card on March 13.
“I used to be a bad guy; I did drugs and I drank and I'd waste money like crazy out with my friends,” Garcia said. “But now, my life is about my family. Everything I do, from the moment I wake until my eyes finally close at night, is for them.”