De La Hoya: Camacho’s death ‘hurts to the soul’
Doctors in San Juan, Puerto Rico, have removed former four-time, three-division champion Hector “Macho” Camacho from life support and allowed him to die on Saturday — four days after the ex-boxer was shot in the face and two days after he was declared brain dead, according to The Associated Press.
While a passenger in a car at about 7 p.m. local time in his native Bayamon on Tuesday evening, Camacho was shot multiple times in the face and neck by someone who pulled up next to him.
The driver of the car Camacho was in was killed, and the boxer was Initially considered to be in stable condition and expected to survive by Dr. Ernesto Torres, the hospital director.
Overnight, however, Camacho’s condition worsened after he suffered cardiac arrest, and tests to detect brain waves found minimal activity, according to El Nuevo Dia.
Following that, Rafael Rodriguez Mercado, president of the Medical Sciences Campus, said “it would be a miracle recovery” for Camacho to pull through.
AP reported on Friday that Maria Matias, the mother of Camacho, 50, supported removing her son from life support.
“I lost my son three days ago. He’s alive only because of a machine,” said Matias, outside of the hospital where Camacho was being cared for. “My son is not alive. My son is only alive for the people who love him.”
No arrests have been made, although the incident still is being investigated.
Camacho (79-6-3, 38 knockouts) was never knocked out over the course of a career that included two victories over Roberto Duran, one each over Sugar Ray Leonard, Edwin Rosario, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Howard Davis, Rafael “Bazooka” Limon, Vinny Pazienza, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, and Freddie Roach, and losses to Oscar De La Hoya, Julio Cesar Chavez and Felix Trinidad.
RingTV.com gathered the thoughts of a few boxing insiders following Camacho’s passing:
Bob Arum, Top Rank CEO
“It’s going to be hard to say how he’ll be remembered as a boxer. He won’t be remembered as one of the great fighters of his time like [Marvin] Hagler, [Thomas] Hearns, Leonard and later Trinidad and De La Hoya.
“But if people study the sport in that era, they will see that he did a lot to popularize boxing, especially on television, where he was a staple in the afternoon on CBS.
“You always felt that the talent was there, but that he squandered a lot of it. I remember before one of his fights at the Garden, he came out dancing to the Macarena. He did this little dance and was wearing this crazy outfit.
“People were fascinated by that stuff. When we did the big pay per view for the De La Hoya fight, he shocked me with his professionalism.
“From afar, it looked like he was this crazy guy who would do anything. But when we sat down, he showed that he was very canny and very savvy. He really knew how to sell a fight.”
Edward Brophy, Hall of Fame executive director
“Hector was a fighter who brought a lot of excitement to boxing. He was a good champion. Roberto Duran is kind of in a class of his own, but Hector surely was an exciting fighter that gave his all to the sport.”
Pat Burns, Camacho’s former trainer
“We had a lot of good fights together. I trained him for the second to the last time against Leonard, and for the last time against De La Hoya.
“One of the things I remember about him was that he was great to his fans. There was never anyone that he wouldn’t stop and sign an autograph for. He was never in too much of a rush to speak to people.
“He was the ultimate showman. He would drive me crazy with some of the outfits that he would put on. They were just so funny. The one that I remember the most was when we fought Sugar Ray Leonard at Caesars Palace.
“He dressed up like a gladiator and actually got into what was almost like a chariot to be carried into the ring. It was one of those things where you just let him do his thing. He knew how to win.
“We don’t have a personality like him in boxing today. People have tried. Macho was just the ultimate guy.”
Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions, fought Camacho in 1997
“As I was walking up a hike, at the foothills here in Pasadena, Calif., and as I’m walking up, I’m a little tired because it’s a steep mountain.
“I received a text from my wife that reads, ‘RIP Macho Camacho, he has passed.’ I started running faster up the mountain. I started walking and running faster. I just got this energy.
“That’s what Camacho was all about. He motivated a lot of people. He was a rock. This guy was courageous. This guy was a warrior. I felt anger, and therefore, I ran up the mountain faster.
“I felt frustration because he’s one of our own. I say that as a fighter and I say that as a man who is going through what I’m going through also. He’s one of our own. So it hurts. This one really hurts. It hurts in your soul.”
Thomas Hauser, boxing historian
“To me, the saddest thing about Hector Camacho isn’t that he fell short of his full potential as a fighter. It’s that he fell short of his extraordinary potential as a person.”
Ken Hershman, HBO’s President of Sports
“Everybody at HBO Boxing is saddened by the tragic passing of Hector “Macho” Camacho. During the prime of his career he played an important role in driving the sport’s popularity.
“He was one of those fighters you had to keep your eyes on. Hector first fought on HBO in 1983 and he will always be remembered for what he accomplished.
“He was one of the most charismatic personalities the sport has known. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Camacho family.”
Don King, promoter
“I was shocked and saddened when I learned Hector had been shot in Puerto Rico. My prayers go out to him and his family. I liked promoting the ‘Macho Man.’
“He was a promoter’s dream, a very promotable guy. His inimitable style won him fans all over the world. Away from the ring, he was a really nice and amiable guy. I enjoyed him very much.”
Juan La Porte, former world champion
“[He was] like a little brother who was always getting into trouble. He’s a good human being, a good hearted person.
“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.
“The people around him didn’t have the guts or strength to lead him in the right direction. There was no one strong enough to put a hand on his shoulder and tell him how to do it.”
Harold Lederman, HBO’s unofficial ringside scorer
“In 1982, a man named Al Joyner was promoting boxing at the Audubon Ballroom just outside of Harlem, New York. Since it was not a nice neighborhood, many of the veteran judges did not want to go there.
“So I found that I was the judge almost every week at Audubon. One night, a trainer from Brooklyn named Billy Giles came up to me and said, ‘Harold, wait until you see my kid coming out of the amateurs.’
“I said to myself, ‘How many times have I heard that said?’ Anyway, shortly thereafter, at Madison Square Garden’s Felt Forum, I saw Billy Giles ‘fighter,’ Hector Camacho.
“My eyes almost popped out of my head. He had speed, power, movement, a viscious right hand for a southpaw, and he was so good that he became one of only two fighters who I thought might never lose a fight after turning pro.
“The other was Mike Tyson. Well, Camacho went nine years before finally losing a fight — a split-decision to Greg Haugen.
“Along the way, he picked up world titles at junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight. My prophesy almost came true as did Hector’s. Rest in peace, Macho. You were something special.”
Sugar Ray Leonard, six-time, five-division champion
“Camacho’s toughest fights were outside of the ring, they really were. He fought against himself and the drugs and whatever else followed. Alcohol. That was his toughest battle, man.
“Because, in the ring, he would get back up. I think that he was a star from the very first time that I saw him, when I was working with HBO, doing color commentary. I noticed that he had that thing, man. He had that ‘X-factor.’
“He could be very crude and sexy and all of those things. But he could also fight. He had incredible hand-speed, incredible power and he was a showman.
“When I fought him, they said that he doesn’t hit that hard. Well, I don’t know how they guaged that, but at that point he did hit me pretty hard.”
Freddie Roach, five-time Trainer of The Year
“The most complete overall boxer that I’ve ever fought in my career was Hector Camacho. His speed was tough to deal with…and he had a lot of boxing ability.
“I trained to punch with him, and he would come in, throw a combination, but when I threw one back, he would be 10 feet away from me.
“This would be after he had hit me with three or four shots. His perpetual motion was tremendous, and he was just too quick for me…
“I think that he was a great athlete, and if he stayed on the straight and narrow, he could have been, pound-for-pound, one of the best fighters in the world.
“I think that he would have been like a Manny Pacquiao. I think that he would have used his speed as his best asset. I think that he could be a contender in any era…”
Photos / John Gurzinski-AFP/Gettyimages, Jed Jscobson-Gettyimages, Timothy A. Clary-AFP