THE HECTOR CAMACHO I KNEW: PART 1 OF 5

November 25th, 2012 By Pedro Fernandez

Hector "Macho" Camacho

“MACHO MAN” SHOT TO DEATH

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.”

Pedro Fernandez

COMMENTS

  1. Macho Time

    Pirate on November 26th, 2012 at 11:16 AM
  2. Too sad, shot in the face by some punk. Macho Man deserved better. RIP Champ.

    SKERGE

    SKERGE on November 26th, 2012 at 1:14 PM
  3. Pedro, my wife and I are both really saddened and were brought to tears. Of course, my wife thought that Hector was “just a doll.” I first saw Hector fight on TV versus Louie Loy in 1982. I was a high school senior at the time and not even 18 years ago. This guy just stayed on the scene for years. Never mind that he was one of the most talented fighters that I ever watched; natural hand and foot speed, great reflexes, crafty defense, took a great punch, and when in the mood, could punch with authority. Of course, he could have done even better if he were more disciplined, and he probably would have avoided such a tragic demise and ending. Nevertheless, I remember watching him as late as ’95-’97, and I felt that he still had the stuff to be 154 lb. world champion. I felt it was a mistake for him to drop down to 147 to fight De La Hoya in ’97. Sure, Hector sometimes made stupid remarks (esp. his famous “Ni–ger” comments), but for the most part, he was pretty funny. He referred to Lou Duva as “Fred Flinstone” and Kevin Rooney as “Barney Rubble” prior to his fight with Pazienza in ’90. I feel that we’ve lost an 1980′s cultural icon. Rest in peace, Macho Man!!!

    Geoffrey Sadao Prenter on November 26th, 2012 at 4:23 PM
  4. Macho fought in the NY Golden gloves at a great time. The gloves would still attract 19,000 people to the finals at the Garden. Macho’s amateur nemesis was Paul Devorce. Macho beat him for the title. Devorce actually fought Barry Mcguigan in Ireland. John Motes was a good fighter who Macho KO’d in 1 round. His fight that impressed me the most was his win over Greg Coverson. Coverson was 32-0 with very quick hands and had won a fight or 2 on CBS. I thought macho was meeting someone as fast as him. He was on another level than Coverson. He beat him easy scoring multiple knock downs. If he got you hurt, then came the 20 punch combo’s. A special fighter. Tim Smith did a bulls— account of macho. Focusing more on his troubles with the law than his career. Fans who saw him will remember his amazing talent and not the friggin nonsense.

    Erich on November 26th, 2012 at 8:05 PM
  5. Can’t wait a few days for him to even have a grave to piss on huh?

    gerald jones on November 27th, 2012 at 3:40 PM
  6. Pedro, Nice article on Camacho. Like all of us, he had his demon’s but was a good kid. Marty

    marty sammon on December 4th, 2012 at 1:41 PM

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