Thursday, November 22, 2012
Remembering 'Macho' Camacho!
According to ESPN.com, Hector "Macho" Camacho, Sr. has been declared brain dead and his family is in discussions on whether to turn off his life support system. The 50-year-old former world champion was shot in the face in his hometown of Bayamon, Puerto Rico earlier this week.
Camacho was one of the last made-for-broadcast TV boxers. Along with the likes of Ray Mancini, Aaron Pryor and Alexis Arguello and others, Camacho was a darling of the last pre-cable TV era. Camacho appeared many times on CBS in some of his great bouts. And boy, he had some great bouts against the likes of Edwin Rosario, Greg Haugen, Rafael "Bazooka" Limon, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Vinny Paz and Ray Mancini. Camacho went 12 rounds with the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez and Felix Trindad. In fact, in a 30-year, 86-bout career (79-6-3, 38 KO's), Camacho was never stopped or knocked out.
Along the way, Camacho gave us more flamboyance then we knew what to do with at that time, setting the standard for guys like Jorge Paez and Naseem Hamed to emulate. Unfortunately, prior to his passing, there wasn't a whole lot of talk about whether Camacho belongs in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. That discussion will probably grow in the wake of his death.
Camacho's out of the ring activities made many people shake their heads. Camacho was far from a saint. However, in the ring, Camacho's legacy speaks for himself and makes a powerful case.
Other than beating Sugar Ray Leonard in Leonard's last contest (a fifth-round TKO in Atlantic City, NJ on March 1, 1997), Camacho fought one other Beltway Boxer -- Eddie Van Kirk of Baltimore. Camacho stopped Van Kirk in the fourth round in Las Vegas on August 1, 1992. Camacho fought in DC twice on two Fight Night Cards at the Washington Hilton, stopping Richie Hess in 1995 and Manuel Esparza in 1999.
I met Camacho before his contest in 1995 and interviewed him. I got the impression he really didn't want to do the interview since it was just after he weighed in for the contest. However, he ended up being gracious with his time and of course, ended his interview with his standard (although subdued in this case) "It's Macho Time.
The next year, I did play-by-play for a televised card in Raleigh, NC in which Camacho made a personal appearance. Camacho didn't fight on the card, but he sparred with the the returning former heavyweight champion James "Buster" Douglas, who was making his first appearance after recovering from a diabetic coma. After the sparring session, Camacho sat down to do some analyst work on the telecast. However, the fans couldn't stay away and Camacho spent more time with his public than doing the commentary.
Hector "Macho" Camacho was, indeed one of a kind. I pray that he will be remembered by boxing fans in that way.