Héctor Camacho Dies at 50; Remembering 'Macho Time'Written by Lee Cleveland
Hector Camacho, one of the most colorful and charismatic athletes in the history of sports, died today after being shot in an apparent drive-by Tuesday night, according to Breitbart.com and several other sources.
The fight legend was 50.
The driver of the car occupied by the boxing legend was also killed soon after someone in a nearby car opened fire on the victims in drive-by fashion.
Despite numerous reports suggesting he had passed away last night, the Puerto Rican southpaw made it through the first critical hours and was expected to survive despite likely paralysis. However, at approximately 4:15am EST this morning, Camacho suffered a heart attack. Although doctors were able to revive him, they described his brain activity "rather low."
How Hector Camacho Died
Hector Camacho was not shot in the brain as some previously believed. A bullet entered his jaw and lodged in his shoulder after tearing through three of four main arteries in his neck, affecting blood flow through his brain, doctors said.
Camacho's cause of death was likely insufficient blood flow to the brain.
"That lack of oxygen greatly damaged Macho Camacho's brain," Torres said.
As a result, the former champion was clinically brain dead.
The motive for the shooting is still unknown but the individual Camacho was with, the driver, apparently had been convicted before on drug charges. In addition, nine small bags of cocaine were found on him.
According to authorities, two perpetrators sped away in a sports utility vehicle. No arrests have been made.
The 'Macho' Man: A Colorful Career
Born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico in 1962, a young Hector Camacho and his family would eventually move to Spanish Harlem. As a troubled teen, he learned to box, had a successful amateur career and turned pro in 1980 at the age of eighteen.
Extremely gifted, Hector Camacho rose quickly through the professional rankings as a featherweight and then in the Jr Lightweight division. He would go on to win world titles in three weight classes.
From 1982 to 1997, most of Hector Camacho's bouts were aired on national television or PPV in the United States as he often engaged in epic bouts - including a few high-profile superbouts - with a literal "Who's Who" in boxing at the time.
During that 15 year span, 1982-1997, Hector Camacho plied his traded against Bazoka Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez, Freddie Roach, Edwin Rosario, Cornelius Boza Edwards, Howard Davis, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Vinny Pazienza, Greg Haugen, Roberto Duran, Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Known for his quickness, hand/foot coordination and technical brilliance inside the ring and his colorful antics outside it, the flamboyant Camacho never lacked style. Arrogant but supremely-skilled, his showboat, party animal image made him one of the most controversial athletes in sports as he was often either adored or vilified by many in the boxing community.
Nevertheless, Hector Camacho's charismatic and jovial nature brought a lot of fun and many smiles to the sport of boxing.
In fact, Hector Camacho arguably revolutionized ringwalks with his outlandish pre-fight outfits and customs. To say Camacho was "different" than the typical fighter would have been an understatement. He was a fighter apart and he knew it, and his reach transcended boxing as a result.
"The Macho Man was a promoter's dream," renowned promoter Don King said. "He excited fans around the world with his inimitable style. He was a nice, amiable guy away from the ring."
And despite being a showman in every sense of the word, the Puerto Rican southpaw was an extraordinary fighter and one of the best in his era. Nevertheless, many will assert Hector Camacho could have been much greater. His critics have said, and will continue to insist, he squandered a great talent by allowing his boxing career to sometimes take a backseat to his partying ways, which included drugs, alcohol, women and occasional run-ins with law enforcement.
But Hector Camacho was something special.
His enigmatic persona, jovial nature and zest for life made him something more than a boxer - He was the consummate showman who wooed the masses.
Other boxers may have been more accomplished but very few fighters in the history of the sport were in as high-demand as Hector 'Macho' Camacho during his prime years and for a short time afterwards.
In recent years, he divided his time between Puerto Rico and Florida, appearing regularly on Spanish-language television as well as on a reality show called "Es Macho Time!" on YouTube. In San Juan, he had been living in the beach community of Isla Verde, where he would readily pose for photos with tourists who recognized him on the street, said former pro boxer Victor "Luvi" Callejas, a neighbor and friend.
Camacho battled drugs, alcohol and other problems throughout his life. He was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in prison for the burglary of a computer store in Mississippi. While arresting him on the burglary charge in January 2005, police also found the drug ecstasy.
Recently, Camacho's had been beset by personal issues, including struggles with drugs and alcohol and domestic violence charges.
Puerto Rico Homicides
Hector Camacho's murder brings to light the extremely high homicide rate in Puerto Rico which has gone virtually unnoticed by the rest of the world. The island's murder rate is five times higher the U.S. and even exceeds that of Mexico who's internal drug and gang-related issues are well-publicized internationally.
Hector's last bout was a unanimous decision loss to Saul Duran in May 2010. Never officially declaring retirement, Hector Camacho will likely be inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame within the next ten years.
His son, Hector Camacho Jr, was a contender for many years as a welterweight and jr welterweight and still fights on occasion.
Hector Camacho Facts
- Bearing one of the most familiar nicknames in boxing history, he was often known as "Macho" Camacho
- Famous slogan: "It's 'Macho' Time"
- Record: 79-6-3, 38 KO
- In 88 pro fights, Hector Camacho was never the victim of a knockout
- Camacho was a lefty in the ring, or southpaw
- Camacho fought in the following divisions during his career: Super Featherweight, Lightweight, Super
- Lightweight, Welterweight, Super Welterweight and Middleweight.
- Hector won the following major world titles: WBC Super Featherweight, WBC Lightweight, WBO Light Welterweight (twice)
- Hector Camacho collected wins against notable fighters such as Bazoka Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez, Freddie Roach, Edwin Rosario, Cornelius Boza Edwards, Howard Davis, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Vinny Pazienza, Greg Haugen, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard.
- His trainers included Lou Duva, Angelo Dundee and Jesse Reid
- He's one of the few fighters to have fought professionally in 4 decades, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and in 2010.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.