World boxing champion;
Born: May 24, 1962; Died: November 24, 2012.
Hector "Macho" Camacho, who has died aged 50, four days after a drive-by shooting in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, was an outrageously talented boxer who made nonconfomity inside and outside the boxing ring into a flamboyant art form which brought him multiple world championship titles and the capacity to both enthral and alienate his peers and associates in equal measure.
In a top-class boxing career that saw the flashy, verbose and controversial Camacho lose only six out of 88 bouts in his remarkable 28 years of professional ring warfare, Camacho married the same penchant for combining colourful verbosity with victory as Muhammad Ali routinely demonstrated during his boxing career.
Born in Puerto Rico when the world lightweight champion was Puerto Rico's Carlos Ortiz, Camacho followed compatriot Ortiz by moving to New York City where he honed his abilities in street fighting in Spanish Harlem. But his ruthless desire to be a perpetual winner led to him being jailed, aged 15, for his indulgence in street gang battles.
But jail proved to be a minor diversion for Camacho, who embarked on an amateur boxing career which saw him not only intimate the greatness to come by beating future Irish world champion Barry McGuigan challenger, Paul DeVorce, to win a Golden Gloves crown. But the prodigiously gifted self-styled "Macho Man'' gloriously stressed his potential for ring greatness by becoming the first American amateur boxer to win titles in seven separate weight divisions.
Little wonder he subsequently made a spectacular rise through the paid ranks while also building a large female fan base due to his dark good looks, stylish clothes and jewellery and his affably roguish personalty – particularly in television interviews.
However just how talented and fearsomely endowed with boxing skills Camacho was can be gleaned by the fact that Hispanic-American former world featherweight champion Bobby Chacon – normally the epitome of machismo – refused to go to Puerto Rico to defend his WBC Junior lightweight title against Camacho, leaving the latter to stop Rafael "Bazooka'' Limon in five destructive rounds for Chacon's vacated title, so notching up the self proclaimed Macho Man's first of four world titles.
Again, this became a consistent feature of Camacho's career – normally formidable world champions and leading contenders such as Livingstone Bramble and Jimmy Paul refused to clash with Camacho and when future American ring coaching great Freddie Roach agreed to venture where Bramble and Paul had feared to tread he was soundly outboxed by Camacho.
Similarly, Camacho demonstrated his massive mastery of the pugilistic arts by defeating legendary champion boxers straight from the 20th-century boxing nobility equivalent of Burke's Peerage.
Thus Camacho defeated and ended the illustrious career of Sugar Ray Leonard, whom he stopped in five rounds in 1997; another stellar legend, Roberto Duran, was beaten twice; as was former world lightweight champion Ray Mancini when the pair contested the WBO light-welterweight crown in 1989.
Overall, Camacho defeated five other world title holders ranging from Britain's Cornelius Boza Edwards to Greg Haugen and Vinny Pazienza. Of his six losses, three were to men who were even more outrageously gifted with their fists than he was: Julio Caesar Chavez, Oscar De LaHoya and Felix Trindad, all at the peak of their boxing powers when they traded ring leather with Camacho.
There were other unique claims to ring fame for Camacho. He was the first and only world champion to lose his world lightweight title because the referee deducted a point from Camacho in the last round for refusing to honour the custom of touching an opponent's gloves in the final round – against Greg Haugen when the referee had both men level on points.
Camacho was also the first ever father to box on the same bill as his son, Hector junior, in 2005. Although the younger Camacho never attained the boxing heights of his illustrious dad.
But the downside of this catalogue of dazzling boxing achievements was that, not uniquely among great ringmen, Camacho had an ongoing penchant for self- destructive behaviour which was the antithesis of the highly disciplined skills he used to bring ring success.
He was also accused over the years of various criminal offences such as burglary, drug possession and beating up one of his children in Florida in 2011.
So the recent shooting in Peurto Rico which cost him his life is only symptomatic of the turbulent life style that he had embraced in his post-fight career. Without doubt, at his peak in the ring, he was truly a formidable and memorably talented performer.
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