In the face of tragedy, Peralta is refocused |

In the face of tragedy, Peralta is refocused

Appeal Sports Writer

Following the second defeat of his young professional career, Carson City lightweight Mike Peralta took some time off to question his commitment to the sport.

Peralta lost a four-round unanimous decision to Luis Lozano March 2 at MontBleu Resort & Casino in Stateline, but if he had any doubts about continuing his career in the squared circle, they quickly went away when he got the news about his cousin, Lewis Braxton III.

Braxton, who was a big supporter for Peralta, committed suicide May 4 by jumping off the parking lot building at the Eldorado Hotel and Casino.

The 24-year-old Peralta, now 1-2, will fight Pernell Jackson, 1-2-1 with 1 knockout, of Washington, D.C., Friday on the undercard of “Heavy Hands.”

The card will be the first presented by Let’s Get It On Promotions since former promoter, referee and judge Mills Lane suffered a debilitating stroke in 2002 and his sons, Terry and Tommy Lane, took over the company.

Coincidentally, the show will be held outdoors at the Eldorado. The significance of this emotional confluence of events has not been lost on Peralta, who is looking to get his career back on track after taking a four-round decision over Shawn Yocoubian on Aug. 24, 2006, in his first professional bout.

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“I’m ready for this fight,” Peralta said Saturday. “I’m dedicating this fight to my cousin. My motivation is big-time for this fight. I’m wearing a picture of him on my shirt when I go into the ring. My cousin was always at my fights. I know I have to do this for him.”

The 30-year-old Jackson lost his last bout to Reno’s Jaime Rodriguez via third-round technical knockout on that same March 2 card.

Peralta said he’s been sparring with Rodriguez and a boxer from Mexico City who has 40 professional fights under his belt. In addition, Peralta has been studying some film on Jackson.

“I see a lot of things,” Peralta said of the tape. “I’m just going to stay focused – just go in and stick to my plan.”

Peralta’s father and trainer, Francisco Peralta, said his son was 100-percent ready physically against Lozano, but he wasn’t 100 percent mentally.

“I can’t lie. He had too many things on his head in that Lake Tahoe fight,” Francisco said. “The way I see it, Michael was ready (physically) for that fight – he could’ve beat anybody he stepped in the ring with. But he had a lot of things on his mind. We were fighting about a couple of things.

“I don’t want my fighter planning an after-party. I don’t want him thinking about what he’s going to do after the fight. It takes away his attention. Young people talk about going to a party after they fight. What makes you think you’re going to win the fight? You see what happened. You lost the fight. You have to be 100 percent, mentally and physically, for the fight.”

As often is the case, the son agrees after the fact that his father was right all along.

“A little part of me didn’t think it would (affect him in the fight), but maybe it did in the end,” Mike said. “My dad did disagree with (the after-party). When I think about it, I don’t need that. It seemed cool. I guess in the end I learned.”

On the heels of first professional loss – a second-round TKO to Carlos Musquez – Peralta took the loss to Lozano to heart.

“Two losses in a row…he did think about,” Frank said of Mike. “He was down a bit. He didn’t know if this (boxing) is what he wanted to do. He was out of the gym for about two weeks – not too bad. He started coming to the gym. I’m the kind of guy who’s not going to push him to do it. That’s not for me to decide. It’s for him. You got to want it for you, not me. I’m not going to make you do something you don’t want to do.”

Mike said he did some reflecting after the fight with Lozano.

“It’s some little things you learn and then go forward,” he said. “There were a couple of things on my mind. I wasn’t 100-percent focused. They rushed me in the dressing room. I’m used to jumping rope for five minutes before the fight.

“I was pissed at myself. I felt like I lost the desire to fight – things were going through my head. I made two stupid mistakes back to back (with the losses). How can I lose like that? (Yacoubian) was better than both of those guys.”

Peralta said he’s very pumped up for this fight and – even though his father makes him go to bed at 9 p.m. – he has trouble going to sleep, sometimes looking up at the sky until 1 a.m.

“To tell you the truth,” Peralta said, “what picked me up and pushed me was my cousin’s death. I was with him a week before he passed away. There was no sign or nothing. This is where I get to let it all out. He always supported me, was always there. He’s in a better place. He wasn’t happy here. He’ll be watching. It’s what he likes seeing me do.”

Notes: Yerington’s Jesse Brinkley, 27-5 (18), will meet Dallas Vargas, 21-3 (15), of Toledo, Ohio, in the 10-round main event. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.

Reserved tickets are $200, $150, $100 and $50. Bleacher seats are available for $25. Call (800) 879-8879 for more information.