It’s a daily routine few would have the discipline to follow.
While the preponderance of Charlotte County sleeps, boxer David Torres awakens preparing for challenges he’s embraced for more than a decade.
A figure appears against the backdrop of darkness, one working toward an objective making his way across the causeway bridge and the Peace River from Punta Gorda to Port Charlotte, hours before sunrise, in a diligent and deliberate manner.
Torres will be fighting at 130-pounds, in the lightweight division this coming weekend in the Sugar Bert Boxing tournament. He will be carrying the banner for Charlotte County, once he steps into the ring.
Learning the Ropes
Boxing has been a learning process for Torres, who has worked with his trainer and manager Troy Carter for almost 12 years, learning about a sport where a punctuating uppercut and bewildering speed can be the difference in the outcome of a bout. The two are a presence on the harborwalk and Laishley Park, working with a feverish desire and an ardent approach to develop his skills, with his gloves delivering heavy and measured blows into his trainer’s scholarly mitts.
It was while he was growing up in Arcadia, that Torres, a boxing fan, began his own sojourn, sparring with a friend in his garage when he was 16 and attending DeSoto High School that would lead to something far greater, possessing a depth and passion of gravitas that would forever transform his life.
Torres possesses many of the qualities spectators admire in polished pugilists, speed afoot, agility of hand and an indefatigable spirit, but what sets him apart is his competitiveness.
Courage and Commitment
The 28-year-old had played football, not at the high school level, and decided to take up the sweet science, perplexing his foes with his movement, and those he couldn’t bewilder; he convinced them authoritatively,with his fists. He possesses a warrior mentality, often walking through minefields to get to his opponents with an intrepid spirit, much in the vein of the great middleweight Carmen Basilio.
“You have to have a stronger mindset when you’re in their by yourself,” said Torres. “That was a big adjustment. It’s just you in there. And I liked it. When you win, it’s you.”
However, Torres is more than a boxer, he’s also a realtor for Coldwell Banker, works at the Walmart Distribution Center Saturday through Monday, and is a husband and a father, in addition to his training as a fighter.
A Winner’s Attitude
Torres has always had to battle adversity, but has risen to the challenge countless times, and doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit.
“Every time we went to matches in tournaments, for some reason, we would draw the hardest kid there,” said Carter. “He just wouldn’t quit. A couple of times I’ve said, ‘This kid has a lot of experience, we should skip this match.’ He said, ‘No coach, I paid, I’m fighting.’ He never had any quit in him. He was always willing to try it again.
“I said, ‘If you’re not going to quit, I’ll never quit on you. As long as you want to keep going, we’ll keep going.’ It’s the training that usually breaks people, not so much the fight. I know as long as he listens and keeps trying, he’ll continue to go forward. I’m excited about the future.”
Time management plays a critical role in his ability to accomplish his objectives, keeping things on a tight schedule, staying committed to his goals.
“I developed the discipline through boxing, and when you’re training, you have to be serious,” said Torres.
Boxing has enabled Torres to grow as a person, and working with Carter has allowed him lay the foundation and develop the necessary attributes required to succeed in a highly competitive sport, renowned for its predatory punching and flawless technical sense.
‘I’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Torres. “When I was in school, I would get up at 4:30 in the morning, we’d go work out, and then we’d go to school, and then after school, we’d go back to the gym. It kept me out of trouble because I was always busy.”
His schedule now runs a similar course, as he makes his way across the bridge at 4:30 a.m., after his run, he’ll return home, eat, and get on with his regular day, going to work, and then in the evening he’ll train out at Laishley Park and the Harborwalk, and then finish his workout by going across the bridge.
Shaping His Career
Carter has been the primary influence in Torres’s career, acknowledging that his training and his boxing knowledge have been huge variables in his evolution as a fighter. Torres’s stance is orthodox, but he has the ability to fight southpaw, and he trains to fight both ways, providing him with that flexibility inside of the ring.
“If anything happens, you can turn and fight any way you want,” said Torres, who worked with another trainer when he first started boxing in Arcadia, before making the switch to Carter.
A boxer renowned for his well-defined moves and who also possesses a conscious will to place a paralyzing left hook to the liver, Torres’s hallmark is his aggressiveness.
“I like to keep coming,” said Torres. “In the amateurs, it’s a little bit different than the pros. You have to throw punches. I just like to keep coming, stay on em’, jabbing, we work on movement a lot. A lot of people don’t move, and that’s a real big key, you can move. I just get in there and work.”
When Torres first started boxing, he had access to a gym with a ring, and when he first came to Punta Gorda he trained at Sand Hill, but the facility closed, so he trains at Laishley Park, near the Laishley Crab House, and on the bridge, improving his skills, often going to Sarasota to spar, where there are opponents his size, but he’s given as much as 70 pounds to a sparring partner, often training with heavier fighters, which he finds beneficial. The incline of the bridge helps as far has building his stamina and endurance.
“I can say out of all my years of working out, that workout that Troy developed, that’s the real deal,” said Torres. “It’s pretty good when you get out there in the morning, but in the evening, with that humidity, it’s pretty challenging. I’m in good shape. I can run. I ran in a marathon a couple of months ago.”
Torres doesn’t diet, he eats a lot of chicken breast and greens, staying away from sugar, and prefers to fight at the weight he’s at, where he doesn’t feel drained. When he began boxing, he fought at 119-pounds, bantamweight. He’s now fighting in the lightweight division.
Future, Family and Preferences
His favorite fighters are Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather, Jr., citing the latter’s strong work ethic and skill set. Torres had the opportunity to fight in Philadelphia in the Lucien Blackwell tournament, which provided him with the opportunity not only to box, but absorb the city’s rich history and culture.
The Sugar Bert Boxing national qualifier will serve as a barometer as to whether or not Torres is ready to turn pro.
“It will be a good experience,” said Torres. “I know it’s a lot on me, but I like the challenge. I want to go out there and put on a show for everybody, make a name for myself, that way I can transition into the pros. I’m getting a little bit older. I would like to move to the pros. The amateurs are good for the experience. I’ve done it a lot.”
The next generation of fighter may be on the horizon, as Torres’s seven-year-old son has been going to the gym with him recently.
“I don’t force anything on him,” said Torres.
“He’s been enjoying it. It would be great to be able to win the belt and let him take it to school.”