Big drama ahead for Peralta | NevadaAppeal.com

Big drama ahead for Peralta

MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer

Carson City lightweight Mike Peralta has come to an interesting and dramatic juncture in his young professional boxing career.

The 25-year-old Peralta has won his last two fights to move above the .500 mark and got engaged to longtime sweetheart Desiree Martinez in February.

Peralta, who improved to 3-2 with one knockout with a four-round majority decision over Oscar Marin on Feb. 22 at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino, now has two very important dates circled on his calendar.

On Aug. 8, he and Desiree will be married at Father’s Heart Church, where Pastor Steve Storey baptized them together last week.

“It makes me a better fighter,” Peralta said of his upcoming nuptials. “With a wife, there are things I’ve got to handle – I can’t be playing around. I have to take good fights and make it happen.”

That brings Peralta to that other date, this one a lot sooner. On May 9, he will fight in his first six-rounder when he meets the dangerous and undefeated Javier Garcia, whose three victories have all come by knockout.

But it is the one draw on the 19-year-old Garcia’s record that, for many, would be cause for concern. On Sept. 20, at Sagebrush Cantina, in Calabasas, Calif., Reno lightweight Jackson Bussell died from brain injuries he received during his six-round standoff with Garcia.

Bussell was 28.

Garcia returned to the ring on March 14, scoring a one-round knockout over undefeated Jose Guzman, who was 5-0 coming into the fight.

“It’s part of the game. That’s how it is,” Peralta said about the risks that come with the sport. “I feel good. No disrespect to Jackson, but I’m a better defensive fighter. I’ve never been cut. This is just another fight.

“I sparred a couple of times with Jackson. I had more defense and was able to block his punches more. With 8-ounce gloves, you can’t be getting hit – that’s not a good thing. I feel confident and ready to go.”

Mike’s father, Francisco Peralta, who runs the Carson City Boxing Club, said he has no forebodings about his son going into battle with Garcia.

“We’re feeling good about this fight,” Francisco Peralta said. “He’s been working really hard for this fight. He’s sparring six rounds. He’s looking pretty good, pretty strong.”

Mike Peralta said he has been staying in the gym and is in “100-percent” condition to meet Garcia, after three fights (one in New Jersey, one in Tampa Bay and one in Las Vegas – on the undercard of Joe-Calzaghe-Bernard Hopkins) fell through.

“Going six rounds [for the first time] is something I’ve been working to do,” Mike Peralta said. “I’m ready mentally. I’ve been sparring six, seven rounds. I’m going to try and go eight [today]. I’ve been running hard in the mountains. My lungs are there. I feel good and ready.”

Francisco said Mike would be looking to change things up a bit against Garcia.

“He’s got a lot more skills,” Francisco said of Mike. “He’ll be moving, blocking, counterpunching. He’s not going to just move straight ahead. He has no problem going straight ahead as long as he punches. He’s quick, fast … he has endurance. It’s mainly his skills – bobbing and weaving – that I want to him use. I want him to angle up and stay focused.”

Mike Peralta said he didn’t have enough sparring before he met Marin.

“My last fight I don’t think my timing was down,” he said. “For this fight I’ve had a lot of sparring. I’ve been in the gym constantly. I’ve been running in the mountains, the heat is kicking up, I’m running my path quicker [in 36 minutes instead of 45]. I’m going to have to run farther now.”

Mike said he’s also fortunate that Desiree is behind him in his aspirations.

“She knows what I do. She’s very supportive,” he said of Desiree, who lives in Fresno, where she is attending school to become a registered nurse. “To her, it doesn’t matter if I fight or not. It’s whatever I want to do.”

Although he left open the possibility of moving to Sacramento once he’s married, Mike said he would continue to train with his father.

“I’m still going to fight here and represent Carson City,” he said. “It’s no different. I’ve known her seven years. She’s going to college. I’ve been fighting since I was 8. It’s time to step up to the plate.”

Just a couple of committed youngsters living a normal life – with a little extra drama thrown in to keep things interesting.