UPDATE FINAL: The AP reports that Hector "Macho" Camacho, the flashy-fisted Puerto Rican born pugilist with Hall of Fame talent, a penchant for cocksure trash-talk and majestic ring attire, died before dawn Saturday. He went into cardiac arrest, was taken off life support, and was pronounced dead shortly after that. Camacho was 50 years old.
The boxer was shot on Tuesday, and another man who was with him was also shot, and died. Camacho (79-6-3), who turned pro in 1980, and hadn’t officially retired, though he last gloved up in 2010, was taken to a trauma center.
He had been described as being in critical condition, and clung to life with the same tenacity he showed off in the ring. Check out this clip which ran on HBO before Camacho met Edwin Rosario. This was one slick lefty, who could turn you, get angles on you, and yes, crack, but he got into a defense-heavy mode after warring with Rosario in 1986. His skills and his mouth and his sometimes over the line promotional antics got him big bouts well past his prime, and later in his career, he was the B side to A listers like Tito Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya. But in his prime, people saw Willie Pep in him, and drooled over his hand speed. "I want to show them what Macho Man is all about," he said back in 1985, and that meant many things. He was a reformed car thief who learned to brawl in the street, and learned sneaky tactics. But he had a hard time avoiding parties and party favors, and when he protested "I’m a humble kid" it was hard to accept that he had that side to him. He was a Hall of Fame talent whose focus and attention span didn’t quite match with his skill set.
But tonight, as he lays in a hospital, Camacho proves that he is still quite the fighter.
UPDATE: On Wednesday, word came out that the boxer wasn’t doing all that well, and that he might be taken off life support. The LA Times reported that a friend said Camacho’s mom was to decide if her son should be taken off life support. Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Dia reported that the fighter’s brain function was in the zone of being brain dead, and that his mom was deciding whether to begin the organ donation process.
UPDATE II: El Nuevo Dia reported that Camacho was in a coma, but the medical director at the hospital he’s in said that the fighter still has activity in his brain. That paper said the man who was killed was named Adrain Moreno and that he was targeted by shooters (they used the plural, we’d heard that there was a single attaker before.) They also said cocaine was found on Moreno.
UPDATE III: The LA Times reports as of Friday afternoon that the family is agonizing whether or not the fighter should be taken off life support. Clinically, he is brain dead. His son Hector Jr. is enroute to Puerto Rico to help in the decision-making. No arrest has been made int he shooting as yet.
UPDATE IV: AP reports that Camacho’s mom wishes for him to be taken off life support Saturday.
Note: This case, and the rapid-fire "news" and rumors which have whipped around the we has made me seen the light about situations such as this. I won’t engage in or aid further speculation in situations like these, or pass on second-hand news, even from well-meaning contributors or friends or friends of boxing. Twitter can be a potent and useful platform to deliver news, but because it relies on non-professionals to interpret and disseminate info, the possibility of mistakes is immense.
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I remember when Comacho first hit the big time. At the time (we were young adults) he was the hottest, hippest, most trendsetting, sensation to hit the Boxing scene.
The little pony-tail he grew from the nape of his neck became one of the fastest growing fads in the history of hairstyle... (almost up there with the Beatle-cut and the Afro in the 60's).
Man,.... this dude was so cool..... in the most extreme sense of the word (Fonzi was no competition)...when he was unvailed to the masses... even my sister who was never a boxing fan, never missed his early fights.
After the Rosario fight,.. his style changed and he began to put his foot in his mouth more often.... at that point we pretty much lost all interest in Comacho.
But I'll always remember him as a fighter whose beginning years in the sport... made one of the most colossal impacts ever... in popular culture..... RIP.
Hector Camacho, R.I.P. I remember being 15 years old watcing him fight Johnny Sato on CBS. So fast. I don't want to get into the life he led outside of the ring. No one is perfect. I'm sure not. In the ring Camacho was a great talent. Remember when he fought Tony Baltazar on HBO. The were introducing Baltazar with the standard camera on the fighter as he threw air punches. Camacho runs from his side of the ring and jumps in the shot, talking smack. Baltazar was laughing, everyone was laughing. Camacho could have been so much more as a fighter, but what he was was pretty damn good.