Camacho dies from injuries received in shooting incident

Mon, Nov 26, 2012, 00:00

Hector Camacho, a boxer known for his lightning-quick hands and flamboyant personality who emerged from a delinquent childhood in New Yorks Spanish Harlem to become a world champion in three weight classes, died Saturday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, after being shot while sitting in a parked car. He was 50.

His death was reported by Dr Ernesto Torres, the director of the Centro Medico trauma center in Puerto Rico, who said Camacho had a heart attack and died a short time later after being taken off life support.

The police said Camacho was shot in the left side of the face last Tuesday night as he sat in a black Ford Mustang with a friend. The bullet fractured his vertebrae and was lodged in his shoulder when he was taken to the Puerto Rico Medical Center. The friend, Adrian Mojica Moreno, was also killed.

Police said two men fled the scene in a sport utility vehicle, but that no arrests had been made. They said nine bags of cocaine were found in Moreno’s pockets and a 10th was found open in the car.

Fighting in bouts sanctioned by professional boxing’s myriad organising bodies, Camacho, who was widely known as Macho Camacho, won titles as a super featherweight (maximum 130 pounds), a lightweight (135 pounds) and a junior welterweight (140 pounds). In his last title bout, at age 35 in 1997, he fought at 147 pounds and lost to the welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya.

Terrifically agile and fast afoot, Camacho had a sackful of canny tricks gleaned from his teenage years as a street fighter; he was known occasionally to spin his opponents 180 degrees and reach around to punch them from behind.

Rather than a slugger, he was a precise, impossibly rapid-fire puncher and deft counter-puncher who early on drew the admiration of the boxer who was then the avatar of hand speed, Sugar Ray Leonard. “Not only quick, but accurate,” Leonard said in 1982 after watching Camacho, then a super featherweight, dispatch Johnny Sato in four rounds. He added: “I told him that people are always asking who’s going to take my place. I told him he could.”

Fifteen years later, Camacho, who was six years younger than Leonard, ended Leonard’s attempt to make a comeback at 40, knocking him out in the fifth round.

In the 1980s and ’90s, few boxers were more attention-grabbing than Camacho. He was known for his hairdo, which featured a spit curl over his forehead; his clownish antics at news conferences; his brashness and wit and his dazzling outfits.

Camacho was married once and divorced. His survivors include his mother; father, Hector; five siblings; four sons, Hector Jr, Taylor, Christian and Justin; and two grandsons. Hector Jr is also a professional boxer.

New York Times

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