SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A family still in mourning is reaching out to the community for help. 14-year-old Carlos Perez, an up and coming boxer in the Springfield community, died of injuries suffered in a crash back in January.
Those who knew Carlos Perez say he was driven.
His father, Carlos Perez, Sr., says his son was intent on becoming a professional boxer. Perez says, “He said, ‘Pop, I want to stay. This is my thing and I want to be a boxer.’ That made me proud that he found something he liked and I tried to get him to play football and soccer but he said, ‘No, Pop. I want to be a boxer.’”
And while the young boxer’s body may have stopped fighting almost three weeks ago, his spirit hasn’t. His family and friends say he lives on in them.
His older brother Chris Lopez says, “It’s been pretty tough, but we’ve been hanging in there.”
Family friend Melanie Evans says, “Carlos, Sr. is still sticking with us, still being part of the team and I know his son is going to start boxing in honor of him.”
After years away, Lopez is stepping back into the ring.
Lopez says, “He always wanted me to go to the fights and fight with him, but even though he may not be here physically, he’ll be there spiritually.”
Chris admits he’s unsure what the future has in store for he and his family, but their faith in Carlos and God’s plan is helping them through.
“I was really hoping he would make it. We were all hoping that, but I guess God just decided to take him. He was ready for God’s army, to fight up there,” says Lopez.
At least that’s how they picture him, because even in death, they’re sure Carlos would remain driven to fight the good fight.
The medical bills for Carlos, and those for his sister continue to stack up. The owners of Anytime Fitness, who worked closely with Carlos and his boxing gym, will hold a fundraiser for the family on Saturday night at the Conway’s in Thurston. It will begin at 5 p.m. and run late, but the family friendly portion will end at 8 p.m. There will be raffles and auctions. 30% of the sales will go to the Perez family.