Boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho died Saturday after being taken off life support at the request of his family. He was 50. On Tuesday he was shot in the face and was declared brain dead on Thursday. He was shot while sitting in a car with a friend in Bayamón, Puerto Rico where he was born. The friend, Adrian Mojica Moreno, died instantly. Police have not released much about the crime other than to say that cocaine was found in the car. The Associated Press reports that the bullet fractured his vertebrae and was wedged in his shoulder.
Hector Camacho was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, on May 24, 1962. When he was three years old his mother separated from his father and moved to New York’s Spanish Harlem. Although he began boxing at 11; as a teenager he ended up in jail before turning to boxing as a way to release his aggression. At the age of 15 he entered a Manhattan high school for troubled youths. As a teenager he won three New York City Golden Gloves titles.
Camacho began his career against David Brown at New York’s Felt Forum in 1980. During his three decade long career he fought some of boxing’s biggest names: Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Oscar De La Hoya, Julio Cesar Chavez, Felix Trinidad, and Edwin Rosario.
On August 7, 1983 he would win his first of three world titles by beating Rafael Limon in Puerto Rico. Two years later he moved to lightweight and defeated Jose Luis Ramirez for the title and then defended his title against Edwin Rosario. That fight would bring his record to a sparkling 38 – 0.
After that fight he would go on to lose a split decision to Greg Haugen at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas in 1991. He would go on to win the rematch. After that fight Camacho would go on to lose to Julio Cesar Chavez in a unanimous decision at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. With the win Chavez would retain his lightweight title.
When speaking to ESPN-Radio Formula in Mexico Chavez said: “He was a very fast fighter, he faced everything and it was very hard for me. He revolutionized boxing… It’s a shame he got mixed up in so many problems.”
In 1997 he would go on to beat Sugar Ray Leonard in a knock-out in the fifth round. Also in that year he fought Oscar De La Hoya, the then welterweight champion, and lost by a unanimous decision.
Drug, alcohol, and domestic abuse claims plagued Camacho throughout his boxing career and after. In 2007 he was sentenced to seven years in prison after being involved in a burglary at a store in Mississippi in January 2005. During his arrest police also found him in possession of the drug Ecstasy. However, the judge in the case gave Camacho a suspended sentence on six of the seven years and placed him on probation. He would end up serving two weeks in jail after violating his probation.
In 2012 there was a warrant out for his arrest due to Camacho allegedly beating one of his sons. He turned himself in. A trial was pending at his death.
His last fight was his defeat by Saul Duran in May 2010. He had a career record of 79-6-3.
His over the top attire, as well as his larger than life personality made him standout in the crowd. In a boxing world with names like Sugar Ray Leonard, De La Hoya, Chavez and Trinidad he had to make sure that his legacy would endure. However, it would be a shame if his persona overshadowed his record of a champion.
He won titles as a super featherweight (maximum 130 pounds), a lightweight (135 pounds) and a junior welterweight (140 pounds).
In 2010 Camacho told the Associated Press: “This is something I’ve done all my life, you know?”… A couple years back, when I was doing it, I was still enjoying it. The competition, to see myself perform. I know I’m at the age that some people can’t do this no more.”
Police are looking for two suspects who were seen fleeing from the scene.
He is survived by his mother, his three sisters Raquel, Estrella and Ester, his brother Felix and four sons Hector Camacho Jr., Taylor Camacho, Christian Camacho and Justin Camacho.
Information from ESPN, The Associated Press, and New York Times writer Bruce Weber were used in this article