Puerto Rican boxing champion Hector “Macho” Camacho, famous for his aggressive style and flamboyant behavior in and out of the ring, was declared dead earlier today in San Juan, four days after he and his friend were shot in a parked car in the city of Bayamon. Hector Camacho, who was taken off of life support earlier this morning, died of a heart attack shortly afterwards, according to Dr. Ernesto Torres of the Centro Médico trauma center. His friend, Adrian Mojica Moreno, died immediately.
Details regarding the shooting are still being kept quiet. However, police have confirmed that Mojica had nine bags of cocaine on him when he was shot and that a tenth bag was found open in the car. No arrests have been made, and according to police spokesman Alex Diaz, neither man was expecting the attack.
Inside the ring, ‘Macho’ Camacho was one of the greatest to lace up the gloves. After winning three Golden Gloves titles as an amateur, he turned pro and quickly became a contender due to his aggressive, albeit cocky style of fighting. With Don King promoting him, Camacho would go on to win his first world title, the WBC Super Featherweight Championship, on Aug. 7, 1983. He would vacate the title to move up to lightweight two years later, capturing the WBC lightweight title by defeating Jose Luis Ramirez on August 10, 1985.
After taking a beating while defending his title against Edwin Rosario, Camacho toned down his aggressive style in order to fight more defensively. This would lead to his first loss, a close split-decision to Greg Haugen in 1991. This defensive style would ultimately lead to his downfall, as Camacho would drop a lopsided decision to lightweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez in 1992 and be widely criticized for his lack of action in the fight. From that point on, Camacho would stay around the top of the division, but would mostly be used as a litmus test for other contenders.
Overall, Camacho’s career spanned three decades and saw him win titles at three weight classes - super featherweight, lightweight and light welterweight. Aside from Julio Cesar Chavez, he has notably fought against Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad and Roberto Duran. His last major title fight was a loss against Oscar De La Hoya in 1997. He would continue to box until 2010, where he would drop a forgettable decision to Saul Duran in Kissimmee, Florida at forty-eight years old.
As exciting as Hector Camacho was to watch in the ring, Macho certainly had his share of demons outside of it. Former featherweight champion Juan Laporte described Camacho as “a little brother who was always getting into trouble.” As he told ESPN:
“He’s a good human being, a good hearted person,” Laporte said as he waited with other friends and members of the boxer’s family outside the hospital in San Juan after the shooting. “A lot of people think of him as a cocky person but that was his motto … inside he was just a kid looking for something.”
Laporte lamented that Camacho never found a mentor outside the boxing ring.
“The people around him didn’t have the guts or strength to lead him in the right direction,” Laporte said. “There was no one strong enough to put a hand on his shoulder and tell him how to do it.”
Camacho notoriously struggled with drug and alcohol problems after the prime of his career. His former wife, Amy, obtained a restraining order against him in 1998 after he threatened her and their two children. The two would later get divorced. In 2005, he was arrested in Mississippi after attempting to rob a computer store, possessing ecstasy when he was arrested. Although Camacho was sentenced to seven years in prison, a judge suspended all but one year of the sentence and gave Camacho probation. However, Hector Camacho would serve two weeks in jail after violating that probation. Camacho was also tried for child abuse by Florida authorities earlier this year. The trial was pending at the time of his death.
Let’s remember ‘Macho’ Camacho for the good times, though. We’ve compiled some of his best moments for you to enjoy:
Still Macho. We’d like to emphasize that we did not pick the music for this.
Macho’s title defense against Edwin Rosario.
Camacho ending the career of Sugar Ray Leonard