THE HECTOR CAMACHO I KNEW: PART 1 OF 5
San Francisco, CA- Having been hit with a number of deaths in my life in the last couple months, I all but shutdown when Emanuel Steward took the only ten count of life when Cancer took him away last month. Now it’s Hector Camacho, the real “Macho Man” who was declared dead on Saturday after being shot early last week in his native Puerto Rico.
GOLDEN GLOVE WIN NOTED NATIONALLY
With details of the shooting still sketchy, I’ll nstead I’ll go into my own memories of the man I first named, “The Harlem Heckler,” a moniker Hector thought was cool. My first glimpse was of Camacho the amateur as he won the New York Golden Gloves championship in ultra impressive fashion. A pure boxer with fast hands, feet, and a gift for gab unseen in boxing since Muhammad Ali.
REALLY WAS “MACHO TIME” IN BOXING
Some of his early fights, this at a time when Big Apple trainer Billy Giles guided the “Macho Man” illustrated just how talented Hector was. He then brought in Jimmy Montoya, but he too was jettisoned. Although I’m sure Hector appeared on more than just ABC’s Wide World of Sports fights, I remember those appearances the most as the network did it’s best to portray Camacho as the “next big thing” in boxing.
LIMON WAS WAY OVER THE HILL!
Running rampant through fringe contenders like Louie Burke and John Montes, Camacho was ready for a title shot. When they propped up Bazooka Limon to face Camacho, years, and I mean years after his peak, in a vacant WBC 130 lb. title fight, it was the gross mismatch in reality that it was on paper.
CAMACHO LOVED COCAINE
After doing nothing really of note at 130, Camacho, who was already delving into the world of Colombian Dust (Cocaine) and had dumped Giles by the time he fought Jose Luis Ramirez for the WBC 135 lb. (lightweight) title in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel in June 1985. In a 12 round fight, Camacho pitched a shutout on my card as the slow as molasses Ramirez never won a round or land a punch of significance. Trying to get into Camacho’s post fight party with Hector Martinez, it was a date named Gina that got us in. Sure enough, the “Macho Man” appeared with his gaudy gold “Macho Man” license plate around his neck.
LIVE BY THE GRAM, DIE BY THE GRAM!
Now that I look back at his career, I consider that fight being Camacho’s zenith, his peak. From that point forward, Cocaine was a part of Hector’s regimin. And while he did have periods of his life where he was clean, “Coke” as we know it is no joke, yet at times it turned the life of the original “Macho Man” into just that, a joke.
CAMACHO LIKED TO BE A PRANKSTER!
One day myself, Wally Matthews, Michael Marley, Mike Katz, Dean Juipe, and a host of other notable boxing writers were sitting poolside in Las Vegas awaiting Hector Camacho for a question and answer fest. All of a sudden we heard some racket and Camacho is yelling, “It’s Macho Time” as he runs up to the pool and pushes an elderly woman sitting in a wheel chair into the water! Stunned as a group, it would be a couple of minutes before we realized that it was a stunt and that Camacho had gotten one over on us!
TOMORROW PART 2 OF 5
Each day this week I’ll bring you another in a series of feature stories on the “Macho Man.”