By Lt. Andre Gonzales, Administrative Assistant/ PIO
A Sacramento boxing legend works for CDCR as a Correctional Officer.
“Loreto Garza was one of the best boxers to come out of Sacramento and a fierce competitor in the ring,” according to his nomination for the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame.
Officer Garza began his career with the California Youth Authority in 1992 as a Group Supervisor. He transferred to the California Medical Facility (CMF) in 2005 and is currently a Correctional Officer assigned to the Transportation Team.
His attention to detail and sound communication skills have made him a valuable resource to CMF.
“World Champion” is just not a title for Loreto, it’s the way he leads his life. He consistently displays a positive and professional demeanor that makes him a true champion.
Officer Garza said he joined CDCR to provide his services to the public by safeguarding the community. He said his years of boxing experience helped him to prepare mentally each day for work, always alert and focused.
He called it a huge honor to represent CDCR, one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the world.
Officer Garza had a successful boxing career that started at age 18. For three years, he won the Golden Gloves award and made the United States Boxing Team.
In 1983, at age 21, Officer Garza turned pro. In 1988, he won the WBC Americas Light-Welterweight Championship with a first-round knock-out of former World Champion Harry Arroyo. Later that year Officer Garza knocked out former World Champion Charlie Brown in the fourth round.
In 1989, he fought former World Champion Joe Manley and knocked him out in the seventh round. Later that year Officer Garza won a unanimous decision in a tough 12-round battle to win the USBA Championship over the No. 1-ranked contender Frankie Warren.
On Aug. 17, 1990, with only a two weeks’ notice, Officer Garza flew to Nice, France, and won the WBA Light-Welterweight world title by majority decision over Juan Coggi.
Then came one of Officer Garza’s most memorable fights, according to his Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame nomination.
“In 1990, Loreto had one of his biggest fights of his career and defended his world title at Arco Arena against former World Champion Vinny Pazienza. Garza was superb in frustrating Pazienza throughout the fight. In round 11, Pazienza picked Garza up and tried to slam him in the ring. The referee disqualified Pazienza and Loreto retained his belt,” the nomination states.
Garza later lost his title to three-time World Champion Edwin Rosario.
“Loreto went on to win his final three bouts – all by knockouts – but all the champions were afraid to fight him, so he abruptly retired in 1993,” the nomination states.
Officer Garza has been inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame, Sacramento Boxing Hall of Fame, Woodland Sports Hall of Fame and San Francisco Hall of Fame.