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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
A fight taking place Saturday night is a battle for a bigger cause -- giving Bakersfield youth a place to play sports, learn from strong mentors and stay out of trouble.
The Battle of the Badges, benefitting the Bakersfield Police Activities League, kicks off with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and fights at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bakersfield College. The program was featured Friday on "First Look with Scott Cox."
"The thing about Bakersfield, is if you put a good cause together, these people will back it to the hilt," said Sgt. Chad Jackman, who said there are people in the community who really support what the league does at its location at 301 E. 4th St.
The center opens at 2 p.m. for after-school programs, and offers everything from tutoring to video games to indoor and outdoor sports. Jackman said some people who were in the program years ago now bring their own children.
The 19-year-old program works "to keep them on the straight and narrow," said Jackman, who's been in law enforcement for 29 years. The sergent said he tells his colleagues they're not social workers or teachers, but they do provide mentors and role models.
Simulcast host Scott Cox said as a police officer, Jackman is a "guy who's seen where things can go" if kids get into trouble.
Saturday's event is slated to include 12 bouts and 24 fighters. There will be two female bouts. They include police officers, lawyers and members of the military for the first time.
"Who doesn't want to see a cop punch a lawyer?" Jackman said.
Tickets are available at the Bakersfield Police stations, BPAL, Mr. Tuxedo and at the door while they last. Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $40 ringside.