Remembering Hector Camacho

The world of sports is surrounded by controversies that seem to taint athletes’ images for the rest of their careers and even their entire lives. The world famous boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho was no different. His career was riddled with controversy and in the end cost him his life.

On Nov 20, Camacho was involved in a shooting in his hometown of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Throughout his career he was constantly plagued by drugs, alcohol, and arrests.

The 50-year-old boxer was sitting in the car owned by his childhood friend, Adrian Mojica Moreno, outside of a local bar when the two men were ambushed. Moreno was pronounced dead at the scene, while Camacho was barely alive, after being shot in the jaw and shoulder.

Doctors later pronounced Camacho brain dead from a lack of oxygen flowing to his brain. On Nov. 24, he was pronounced dead after his family decided to take him off life support.

The two main controversies that surrounded Camacho’s death were that the police found 10 bags of cocaine —nine of them in Moreno’s pocket and the other open in the car — and that a fight broke out at his wake. The fight started when Cynthia Castillo, Camacho’s most recent partner, leaned down and gave Camacho’s body a kiss on the forehead, angering his family and his former girlfriend, Gloria Fernandez.

Even though his career and death were surrounded by difficult issues, we should not forget the success he achieved in his boxing career. Camacho was the first of only two boxers to have ever been a septuple champion. A septuple champion is a boxer who has won seven titles between minor and major organizations. The only other boxer to achieve this goal is rising star Manny Pacquiao.

Camacho got into boxing after he had been arrested in Harlem, N.Y. during his teenage years. He was awarded his first fight in 1980 at New York’s Felt Forum against David Brown. He was an immediate success, winning three Golden Gloves — the national tournament for amateur boxers — before turning pro. Camacho’s first title came in 1983 in a super-featherweight fight against Rafael Limon in Puerto Rico. The last major bout that he won was the World Boxing Empire middleweight championship in 2008.

In between the southpaw’s first and last fights, Camacho faced, and beat, some of the best and well-known boxers in the world, including Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Oscar de la Hoya. He also knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard, sending Leonard into retirement. In total, Camacho fought in 88 bouts where he won 79, lost six, and tied three. More than half of his victories came by means of a knockout.

Not only does the death of Camacho leave the world of boxing without one of its greatest stars, but it also leaves a family heartbroken. He left behind four sons, Hector Jr, Taylor, Christian, and Justin.

Julio Cesar Chavez said it the best, ““He revolutionized boxing. It’s a shame he got mixed up in so many problems.”

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