BOXING’S cavernous graveyard claimed another prisoner when Hector “Macho” Camacho died in hospital on November 24, 2012 in his native Puerto Rico. The 50-year-old, a former three-weight ‘world’ champion, was shot in the face while sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car that contained 10 bags of cocaine. His mother opted to turn off the life-support machine after he was declared brain dead.
“It’s so sad what has happened because he had started to grow up a little bit,” his long-time friend and former WBC featherweight champion, Juan LaPorte, told Boxing News. “He was special. Everybody likes to point out the things that went wrong but he was a good man. He would throw money to bums in the street, he didn’t care if it was 10 dollars or 100. He still had that boy in him but that’s who he was. It’s tragic. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Three years after being born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico in 1962, young Hector and his elder sister were taken by their mother to New York’s Spanish Harlem. He began boxing at the age of 11, met trainer Billy Giles in the ‘La Sombra’ gym on 108th street at 14 (where he also met LaPorte), and only another two years passed before he claimed the first of his three New York Golden Gloves titles. In between, Camacho had time to father a child (future contender Hector Jnr), steal cars (only expensive ones, he would claim), and was sentenced to three-and-a-half months at Rikers Island, an institution for young offenders.