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The Brothers Carbajal and the Wound That Will Never Heal

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  • The Brothers Carbajal and the Wound That Will Never Heal

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    By Arne K. Lang

    In boxing, more than any other sport, feel-good-stories are prone to turn rancid. The Michael Carbajal story is a prime example.

    In 1988, the city of Phoenix was enthralled by the saga of native son Michael Carbajal as he pursued his Olympic dream. It all began for him at the age of 11 when his big brother Danny built a makeshift 10-foot by 10-foot ring in the garage of the modest family home on Ninth Street in the Garfield district of downtown Phoenix.

    After winning a silver medal in the light flyweight class in the Seoul Summer Games, Carbajal signed a multi-fight contract with Top Rank and launched his pro career with big brother Danny, 17 years older than Michael, serving as his trainer/manager.

    Nicknamed “Little Hands of Stone” after his favorite boxer Roberto Duran, Carbajal had an illustrious pro career that earned him a ticket to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His signature win came in his first meeting with arch-rival Humberto Gonzalez in the 1993 Fight of the Year.

    Carbajal, 49-4 as a pro with all of his losses coming in world title fights, ended his career on an upbeat note with an 11th-round stoppage of defending WBO 108-pound champion Jorge Arce. Outside the ring, he was one of boxing’s most well-liked personalities. “I’ve never met a quieter, more unassuming kid in any sport,” said Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler. “He just gets along easily with anybody.”

    In January of 2006, at a celebration in Phoenix commemorating Michael’s induction into the Hall of Fame, Michael dedicated the ceremony to his brother. “Danny is the best trainer in the world, the best manager in the world, the best brother in the world and the best friend in the world,” he told Arizona Republic sports columnist Norm Fraunheim. Danny Carbajal was then facing felony fraud charges relating to the estate of his former wife Sally who was murdered along with her boyfriend, a 54-year-old cabdriver, in February of the previous year. They were shot dead by an unknown assailant in the parking lot of their apartment complex.

    In February of 2008, big brother Danny Carbajal was sentenced to 4 ½-years in prison for filing fraudulent documents to cheat his former wife out of property in which she legally held a 50 percent interest. By then, the relationship between the once inseparable brothers had turned sour and that would be putting it mildly.

    In November of 2007, Michael sued Danny in civil court on charges of fraud, theft, and forgery. During his career, Michael reportedly earned nearly $8 million in purses, the most ever for a fighter in his weight class. Now all of it was gone. “I’m broke,” Michael tearfully testified at the deposition. “After all that hard work, I have nothing to leave my kids. Danny stole all of my retirement savings. He’s vicious.”

    ---

    Nowadays, Danny Carbajal has a new rooting interest. His grandson Keenan Carbajal, 30, meets former 4-division title-holder Leo Santa Cruz in a 10-round super featherweight match at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Feb. 4. It’s a big step up in class for Keenan (23-2-1, 15 KOs) who is riding an 18-fight winning streak.

    Keenan Carbajal is kinfolk to Michael, but Michael’s longstanding grudge against his evil brother, Keenan’s grandfather, runs deep. In a most unusual development, Michael reached out to publicist Nancy Rodriguez to draft a letter to let the boxing community know where he stands. The letter, which arrived this morning, is printed below in its entirety.

    MICHAEL CARBAJAL releases this statement to clear any misconceptions that suggest or imply his support or endorsement of Keenan Carbajal. Any assumptions that he is rooting for Keenan Carbajal are completely unfounded. To the contrary, MICHAEL CARBAJAL will be rooting for Leo Santa Cruz to win and expects an early knockout victory. The animosity between MICHAEL CARBAJAL and the Keenan Danny Josephine Carbajal faction absolutely cannot be understated. There is no merit to any claim that MICHAEL has any involvement, association, or affiliation with Keenan, his fight career, or any part of his life. Further, MICHAEL is not involved with Keenan’s trainer, Danny Carbajal (MICHAEL’S estranged brother), or Keenan’s mother, Josephine Carbajal (MICHAEL’S estranged niece), in any way, shape, or form. MICHAEL CARBAJAL has never had and will never have any association with Keenan or any member of his team known as “FAMILIA CARBAJAL”, which has misrepresented and violated the actual CARBAJAL FAMILY.

    --- Michael Carbajal

    The story of the brothers Carbajal was feel-good-story that got turned on its head. Some wounds leave scars that will never go away.

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Wow ...so sad ...

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    • #3
      This is a very Sad Story....but injustice never wins....in God's eyes watching Michael's brother will come to an end in due time

      Comment

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