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Héctor Camacho (born May 24, 1962), nicknamed "Macho Camacho", is a boxer. Carrier of Muhammad Ali's flamboyance, and personal, controversial style, Camacho became a three time world champion, yet he always lacked the support of boxing writers. Some claim that he was treated very unfairly by boxing critics and experts around the world.


Early life and career

Camacho was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, but his family moved to New York when he was a little kid. He ran into trouble there as a teen, getting into fights and landing in jail at 15. He also learned boxing and karate as a teenager, and since he demonstrated talent as a boxer, he chose that sport as a career.

It has been said that Camacho's flamboyant style brought a lot of fun to the sport of boxing, but it also made him garner the hate of the same critics who, ironically, had loved Ali just a few years before. Ali and Camacho's style was adopted by Roy Jones Jr.,Jorge Paez and Naseem Hamed, just to name a few, and it may bring excitement to their respective fans..

After a stellar amateur career, Camacho began a quick rise through the professional rankings, first in the Featherweight and then in the Junior Lightweight division. He felt so good from the start that the young fellow was sure he could beat World featherweight champions Salvador Sánchez and Eusebio Pedroza. However, Sanchez died when Camacho was still coming up in the ranks.

Up at Junior Lightweight, he defeated top contenders Irleis Cubanito Perez, Melvin Paul, John Montes and Refugio Rojas (Both Montes and Rojas lasted one round, and Rojas would later last seven in a world title challenge of Julio Cesar Chavez for Chavez's world Jr. Lightweight championship).

World Junior Lightweight championship

When World Junior Lightweight champion Bobby Chacon refused to go to Puerto Rico to defend his title against Camacho, the WBC declared the world championship vacant, and the man Chacon had taken the title from, Rafael Bazooka Limon, filled in for Chacon. It was the first time Camacho was in a ring with a former world champion, and he didn't show any lack of experience, dropping Limon in rounds one and three before the referee put a stop to the fight in round five.

His first defense also came in San Juan where he met fellow Puerto Rican Rafael Solis, whose family included former world bantamweight champion Julian Solis. Camacho got tested in this fight for the first time, shaken in round three by a Solis uppercut, but he flattened Solis with a right to the chin in round five, knocking him out to retain the title.

Next came a move to Lightweight, where he won the United States title with a twelve round decision of Roque Montoya. By then Camacho was appearing on the covers of all the boxing magazines and making quite a few fans among teenaged girls.

His next fight made him a two time world champion. Fought on HBO, the channel that realized Camacho was a potential legend after televising his fight vs Solis, Camacho beat the Mexican defending world champion, Jose Luis Ramirez in Las Vegas to win the world Lightweight championship. Camacho dropped Ramirez in round three and went on to win the fight by a unanimous twelve round decision.

What could have been a blessing, may have started Camacho's downfall instead. The two other reigning world champions in his division at that time, Livingstone Bramble and Jimmy Paul were reluctant to unify the crown with Camacho, and so he had to settle for a decision win over Freddie Roach before his next fight of importance came along, ten months after beating Ramirez.

He met Edwin Rosario at the Madison Square Garden in New York, once again on HBO. In a famous fight, Camacho, in the minds of many fans, dominated rounds one to four, but had to hang on for dear life in rounds five and six. He came back to take the middle rounds, but Rosario came back during the eleventh and twelfth. It was a close decision, but Camacho retained the title with a split decision.

Personal troubles and the start of decline

Camacho's personal life ran into trouble after the Rosario fight, being charged with possession of drugs. However, the charges were later lifted and Camacho could resume his boxing career.

Camacho then retained his title vs former World Junior Lightweight champion Cornelius Boza Edwards in Miami on a unanimous decision before going up in weight again. After a few fights there, he met former world lightweight champion " Ray Boom Boom Mancini", who had a record of 29-3 with 23 knockouts coming into this fight, for the vacant WBO version of the world Junior Welterweight title. Camacho was the fresher of the two and ended up winning a unanimous twelve round decision, joining that exclusive group of world champion boxers who have become three time world champions.

Camacho next met Vinny Paz, winning on points again, then challenger Tony Baltazar, from Phoenix. Baltazar was another points victim on an HBO televised bout, but then Camacho lost his undefeated record and world championship to the former world Lightweight champion Greg Haugen. However, as an unidentified substance was found on Haugen's urine, a rematch was ordered and Camacho regained the title, beating Haugen on a close but unanimous decision.

This set the table for his showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez, in Las Vegas in the year 1992. Camacho, dressed as Captain America coming into the bout, lost a unanimous decision on HBO's Pay Per View leg that night.

Camacho has spent the last few years winning a handful of smaller organization titles, while getting a couple of shots at world titles. Among his notable wins since 1992 there are two over the legendary possible future hall of famer Roberto Duran, beaten on points twice, once in Atlantic City and another time in Denver. He lost title tries for the world welterweight championship vs Félix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya, both by unanimous decisions. After each of those fights, he kept fighting and winning but seeing as title shots are now hard to come by for him, he seems to be currently semi-retired.

Camacho hasn't officially announced his retirement, but nowadays, he is more visible as a trainer of his son, Junior Welterweight prospect Hector Machito Camacho Jr..

On December 5 of 2003, and in preparation for a possible rematch with Chavez, Camacho recovered from a first round knockdown (the third against him in his career) to defeat Craig Houk by a knockout in round three.

Camacho won, on July 4, 2004, a unanimous ten round decision over Clinton McNeil. He hopes for a world title try against Daniel Santos, the WBO's world Jr. Middleweight champion.

On January 6, 2005, Camacho was arrested by police in Mississippi on charges of trying to burglarize an electronic goods store and carrying ecstasy on him.

Ismael Leandry, Camacho's manager, told El Vocero newspaper that Camacho had been offered a computer by a store representant the day before he got arrested. Camacho, who was in Mississippi for a fight, allegedly bought the computer and went into his hotel room, where he tried to hook it up. The computer, according to Leandry's allegations, did not work, and Camacho went early in the morning the day he was arrested to trade it for a new one. When he saw that the store was not opened, according to police records, he broke into the store and took a brand new one. Leandry said that Camacho left the one he had originally purchased from the vendor, grabbed a new one and left his room's telephone number in case someone from the store had a question. Camacho was excarcerated soon after the arrest.

This case is still pending, and the fight in Mississippi went on as scheduled.

Camacho has a record of 78 wins, four losses and 2 draws, with 38 wins by knockout.

Héctor Macho Camacho is possibly a future member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame.

Also see

edit  ( Sports in Puerto Rico

Roberto Alomar | Carlos Arroyo | BSN | Wilfred Benitez| Ivan Calderon (baseball player) | Ivan Calderon (boxer) | Hector Camacho | Roberto Clemente | Orlando Cepeda | Jose Cruz | Gigi Fernandez | Wilfredo Gómez | Jorge Gonzalez | Belinda Laracuente | Mario Morales | Jose Ortiz | Victor Pellot | Puerto Rican National Basketball Team | Puerto Rican Pop Culture | Edwin Rosario | Ruben Rodriguez | Daniel Santiago | O.J. Santiago | Sports in Puerto Rico


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