If Miguel "Mikey" Garcia is looking for a catchy, new nickname, here's one the undefeated featherweight fighter should consider: "The Enforcer."
Garcia, who will face Joksan Hernandez on Saturday on the leading undercard fight of Top Rank's boxing card at the Hard Rock Hotel, recently graduated from the police academy in Ventura County, Calif., and one day will pursue a career in law enforcement. But with a 19-0 record and 16 knockouts, the 22-year-old is in no rush to tote a gun and put bad guys in jail.
"I just want to have that option available to me when I'm through with boxing," he said of his decision to go through the academy.
For now, he'll stay busy working on a blossoming career in the ring. He was impressive in a third-round technical knockout of Yogli Herrera on Dec. 19, then immediately began training for Saturday's 10-round fight with Hernandez (17-1, 10 knockouts). The bout supports the main event between Vanes Martirosyan, the NABF/NABO super welterweight champion, and former world champion Kassim Ouma.
"I knew before I fought Herrera I would be on this card," Garcia said. "So we've been in the gym every day getting ready. I even trained on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, because I feel like if I take even one day off, I'm putting my career in jeopardy, and I've worked too hard and invested too much to allow that to happen."
Garcia fights right-handed but can switch to left-handed. The style confuses opponents, he said.
"If I see something's not working during a round, I'll go on my own and change up," said Garcia, who his trained by his father, Eduardo, and older brother Robert, a former champion. "A lot of times, my opponents aren't sure what's happening, and it creates an opening for me."
Garcia said when he decides to trade in his gloves for a badge, it probably will be with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. He is eligible to be a reserve, either with the Sheriff's Department or the Oxnard Police Department, but wants to do things in the community through law enforcement that help prevent crime.
"It's not just cops shooting bad guys," he said. "It's helping in the community before things get bad. That's the part that interests me."
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913.