Michael Carbajal

Michael Carbajal
Michael Carbajal
Real name Michael Carbajal
Nickname(s) Manitas de Piedra
(Little Hands of Stone)
Rated at Light Flyweight
Height 5 ft 5.5 in (1.66 m)
Reach 63 in (160 cm)
Nationality American
Born September 17, 1967 (1967-09-17) (age 44)
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 53
Wins 49
Wins by KO 33
Losses 4
Draws 0
No contests 0

Michael Carbajal (born September 17, 1967 in Phoenix, Arizona) is an American five-time world boxing champion of Mexican descent. His nickname was "Little Hands Of Stone," after his favorite boxer,"Hands Of Stone" Roberto Durán.


Amateur career

  • 1988 – United States amateur Light Flyweight champion

Results were:

    • Defeated Kwang-Soo Oh (South Korea) points (3:2 decision)
    • Defeated Dang Hieu Hien (Vietnam) points
    • Defeated Scotty Olson (Canada) points
    • Defeated Robert Isaszegi (Hungary) points
    • Lost to Ivailo Marinov (Bulgaria) points (0:5 decision)

He lost the final against Bulgarian Ivailo Marinov in a highly disputed unanimous decision (0:5). The Bulgarian was controversially awarded the Gold medal while Carbajal took home the Silver.[1]

His amateur record was 94-9.

His gym, "The 9th Street Gym", is actually on 10th Street in Phoenix.

Professional career

Seven months after the Olympics, in February 1989, Carbajal made his debut in front of a national television audience as part of the card where Duran became a four-time world champion by beating Iran Barkley in Atlantic City. In his first fight, Carbajal outboxed another future world champion, Will Grigsby.

Carbajal followed that win with a spectacular first-round knockout of Silviano Perez on NBC. In his tenth bout, he met the former WBO world champion Pedro Feliciano, handling him a ten-round beating. Four more wins followed, and Carbajal was presented with an opportunity to fight for a world championship.

IBF light flyweight title

On July 29, 1990, Carbajal faced Muangchai Kittikasem, who came to Phoenix from Thailand to defend his IBF light flyweight championship. Carbajal methodically took apart the champion in front of an ABC national audience. In round 7, after a combination of punches left Kittikasem lying defenseless against the ropes, the referee stepped in and stopped the fight, making Carbajal the world champion for the first time in his career.

Carbajal began a string of six title defenses against challengers as Leon Salazar, Hector Patri, Kim Kwang-Sun and Robinson Cuesta.

Unification against Humberto "Chiquita" Gonzalez

He then fought a highly anticipated unification match with WBC champion Humberto González on March 13, 1993. Carbajal and Gonzalez became the first Junior Flyweights in history to earn a million dollar purse, and it was the first Junior Flyweight championship bout to headline a Pay Per View event.

Carbajal was downed in rounds 2 and 5, and he was bleeding from his right eyebrow when he blasted a tremendous left hand to the side of Gonzalez's chin in the seventh round. Gonzalez turned sideways, and Carbjal landed another right hand that sent him to the canvas. Gonzalez could not beat the count, and Michael Carbajal had unified the world's Junior Flyweight championship in The Ring's fight of the year. He would also be named fighter of the year for 1993.

More television enodorsement deals followed, including television ads for Diet Pepsi and Emergency Chiropractors, but trouble seemed to follow, as well. He was accused of firing gunshots onto the roof of a party in Scottsdale.

This unwanted attention seemed to take its toll on Carbajal, and after two additional defenses, he fought Gonzalez once again in a pay-per-view match in Los Angeles, California. In his 11th world title fight, Carbajal suffered the first loss of his career as he was defeated by a 12 round split decision.

WBO light flyweight title

Carbajal next took on former sparring partner Abner Barajas, winning by a fifth-round knockout in Laughlin, Nevada, and then was given another shot at a world title by the WBO title holder Josue Camacho, who came from Puerto Rico to the challenger's hometown to defend his title. Carbajal put on a brilliant performance and won a unanimous twelve-round decision over Camacho.

A title holder again, Carbajal set to try to recover his International Boxing Federation and WBC belts against Gonzalez in a third unification bout between the boxers. In November 1994, two months after the Camacho victory, they met once again, this time in Mexico City. Once again, it was a split decision, and once again, Carbajal came out on the losing end. He wouldn't give up, however, and he kept training under the guidance of his brother, Danny Carbajal, the only man ever to train Michael.

IBF light flyweight title

He put another string of seven wins together, against former world champion Jose Quirino, who was beaten in one round, and tough Mauro Salas, who lasted seven. Then he met two-time world champion Melchor Cob Castro in Las Vegas for Castro's International Boxing Federation Junior Flyweight title. Castro had won the title after Gonzalez had retired. Carbajal beat Castro by unanimous decision.

His third title reign lasted 22 months and three defenses, including an eighth-round knockout of tough two-time challenger Tomas Rivera), before he lost his crown again. On January 18, 1997, Carbajal suddenly looked aged and was unable to do anything against the charges of Colombian Mauricio Pastrana. Carbajal still made the fight close, but lost a twelve-round split decision.

After that, Carbajal met Canada's Scotty Olson in San Antonio, Texas. Carbajal showed he had more left than Olson did, and dominated the fight until a spectacular right hand sent Olson down for the count in round 11.

The win over Olson gave Carbajal a minor title, but in July 1997 in Las Vegas once again, he was shockingly handled by South Africa's Jacob Matlala. Matlala handed Carbajal his first inside the distance defeat ever, stopping the past-his-prime former world champion in round nine via cuts. Carbajal did not fight for 19 months after this defeat.

Second comeback, and retirement

Although counted out by most boxing experts when he announced a comeback early in 1999, Carbajal still had one last hurrah left in him. He won three bouts, and on July 31, 1999, he took the short flight from Phoenix to Tijuana to challenge WBO world Junior Flyweight champion Jorge Arce, who was fighting in his hometown. Arce dominated Carbajal for nine of the first ten rounds, but the older man showed he was still dangerous when he floored the 20-year-old Arce in the eighth round. The fight moved along, but Carbajal's lightning struck in the 11th. This time, Carbajal struck with a devastating overhead right that sent Arce helplessly into the ropes. The referee stopped the fight, and Michael Carbajal was a world champion for the fifth time.

After this fight, Carbajal understood it was time to retire, and he did so the way every boxer would like to do it—as a world champ. Carbajal is trying to live a quieter life nowadays in Phoenix, but he does many public appearances. He enjoys meeting his public and signing autographs for his fans. Carbajal also owns two boxing gyms in Phoenix.

Michael Carbajal and former rival Humberto González were elected together, to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, in 2006.

His career record was 49 wins against four losses, with 33 wins coming by way of knockout.

See also


  1. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1988/10/01/sports/the-seoul-olympics-boxing-mercer-stops-south-korean.html

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Riddick Bowe
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
Succeeded by
Roy Jones Jr.
Preceded by
Muangchai Kittikasem
IBF Light Flyweight Champion
July 29, 1990 – February 19, 1994
Succeeded by
Humberto González
Preceded by
Humberto González
WBC Light Flyweight Champion
March 13, 1993 – February 19, 1994
Preceded by
Josue Camacho
WBO Light Flyweight Champion
July 15, 1994 – November 12, 1994
Succeeded by
Paul Weir
Preceded by
Saman Sorjaturong
IBF Light Flyweight Champion
July 29, 1996 – January 18, 1997
Succeeded by
Mauricio Pastrana
Preceded by
Jorge Arce
WBO Light Flyweight Champion
July 31, 1999 – Aug 1999
Succeeded by
Masibulele Makepula

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