BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — When Miguel Contreras walks into a boxing ring, he enters as 'Caveman'.
A prehistoric name, but this young pro boxer is focused on making some new history for himself and the city he represents
“This fight right here is kind of one of those entry doorways so God willing everything goes right," Contreras, a local professional boxer said.
Contreras known better as 'Caveman' has loved the sport of boxing from a young age.
And after the pandemic stalled his undefeated run as a pro for more than a year, his bond with boxing grew stronger.
"I always say like I enjoy my time off when I'm not training, but I remember when the pandemic first took off it was like the first time I felt like man I miss boxing, you know, I know what this sport means to me even more because it was taken away at one point. So now I just have a deeper appreciation for it," Contreras said.
But now that wait for his next fight is over as he’s set to face another undefeated fighter in Starling Wilson Castillo out of the Dominican Republic.
"It was difficult to get a fight you know promoters were a lot tighter than usual because of the circumstances but we knew that the call would come and we stood ready and just like this fight, we got the call and we were ready," Contreras said.
It wasn't an easy road to 11-0 and as Miguel is set to face his newest opponent, it won't get any easier. And it's exactly that a new opponent as he'll be facing a southpaw for the first time in his career.
What’s a southpaw you ask?
Well, for those not familiar with the term or who didn’t see the 2015 blockbuster movie under the same name, it’s a reference to lefties.
A stance that normally presents challenges for orthodox fighters like Miguel, but don’t tell him that.
"So we've been sparring nothing but Southpaws and sparring world champions out there in Vegas, so I've definitely felt like I've gotten a lot better since my last fight," Contreras said.
Miguel spent this off time training in Sin City following his victorious MGM Grand debut last June.
"If you know anything about Vegas that's the mecca of boxing there's like a gym on every corner so we've been out there working and just sharpening up and getting the necessary tool that we're going to need for this fight," Contreras said.
While most head to Vegas for fun, for Miguel, it was all about work.
"I say it all the time the sports not fun, you know it's not fun getting hit, it's not fun watching what you eat why everybody enjoys these delicious foods you know so you need the passion for it and you need the right motivation for so when I'm training or when I'm getting ready for a fight. That's always in the back of my head. The reason I'm doing it," Contreras said.
You can see ‘Bakersfield’ on the front of his shirt while he trains, but he’s always carrying the city on his back.
"One of the biggest things for me is that, especially in my neighborhood, you know that the younger generation sees that it's possible to do something you don't got to succumb to the streets you don't got to succumb to the neighborhood, trials that everybody goes through," Contreras said. "As a kid that even I had to go through and in that neighborhood you know so thank God that I took every opportunity to make it out, you know, and I'm like I said I'm still on my way. So, I just hope that people will see that and see that you know what, we could, we could do it too."
Whether he’s fighting internationally or down in Los Angeles like this next bout, you'll always know who Caveman is repping.
"I say it loud and proud for Bakersfield or shout out my city or when it comes to post I'm like I hope to see everybody there and you know it's a blessing to see that a lot of the city does come out just to watch me fight and to have that backing behind you is everything," Contreras said.
"I'm where I need to be you know and don't get me wrong, I've got a long way to go. however, I know I'm on the right track."
UPDATE: Miguel was knocked out by Castillo for the first loss of his professional career. His next fight is currently pending.