The story of the lawyer-turned-crime fighter has been adapted countless times for the box office, where the criminal defense attorney harbors justice and banishes evil. However, the careers of attorneys and fighters don’t exactly see eye-to-eye as they boast parallel lifestyles. As fictitious as it may sound, one attorney decided to break this stereotype.
Criminal defense lawyer Daniel Martinez decided he wanted to pursue a boxing career without abandoning his legal practices. An attorney by heart and a fighter by nature, Daniel always had a soft spot for boxers and finally decided to pursue his long-time dream of not only becoming one, but also launching his own boxing club that has become home to many aspiring boxers who share Daniel’s vision.
We sat down with Martinez and quizzed him about his journey from an everyday lawyer to a boxing gym owner in order to find out what motivated him to take a step of this magnitude. Here are some excerpts from his interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself; who is Daniel Martinez?
Daniel Martinez: I’m from Florida, and I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s in business, after which I attended the Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville. I’ve come quite far from where I started, but if I were to be honest, I think 2015 kickstarted my journey when I became a licensed attorney. Back in the day, I worked for a private criminal practice, and it was in 2016 that I founded my own firm.
What made you choose law? An idol you look up to.
Daniel Martinez: I’ve always thought about giving back to the community – to help people in any way I can. I feel like ever since I was a kid, this ‘giving back’ thing has been programmed into my DNA. First, it was my grandfather, then my father, and now I feel like it’s my turn. I think that was the inspiration behind choosing law as my career.
What made you switch to boxing, and why the sudden shift?
Daniel Martinez: I didn’t switch to boxing; I just adopted it with my existing profession. As for why I did that, it’s mostly because it’s been a childhood dream of mine. As a child, I used to watch boxing all the time, and I was really motivated by Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, and when no one was watching, I used to practice Ali’s shuffle too. It has also helped me do more in terms of giving back to my community, mainly because I like the fact that people come to my gym to learn more about the sport, plus I don’t charge them. Seeing all this inspires me to do even more.
Why did you choose to connect your law firm with your boxing gym? Wouldn’t these two ventures perform better individually?
Daniel Martinez: I suppose one could say that, but as I said, I’m not in it for the money. To be frank, a lot of people ask me this, and I can’t exactly explain it in words. If I were to be completely honest – and I know this might sound a bit cheesy, but I feel like boxing has been a part of me ever since I was a kid. While on the other hand, law is something that I’ve grown to love over the years, mainly because I’m good at it. Perhaps I wanted the two most important things in my life to be together. Maybe that’s why I connected them both.
How do you juggle between your different careers?
Daniel Martinez: I won’t lie; sometimes, things get a bit hairy when I get called for jury trials, and I have to be there no matter what. But I always knew it would be this way when I opened my gym. I’ve been doing this for so long that juggling between my responsibilities as a criminal defense lawyer and managing and training the boxers at the gym just doesn’t feel like work; it is more like a hobby at this point.