Camacho

By Ted Sares on January 12, 2012
Camacho
“He understood the value of self-promotion," said Larry Merchant, "and was good at it.”

In the end, Hector “Macho” Camacho has left the game on his own terms and he did it HIS WAY. Few have done that…

“Hey, if this is macho, I don’t want no part of it.”—A busted up Hector Camacho after his fight with Edwin Rosario

Hector Louis “Macho” Camacho has had his share of legal problems, having been charged with burglary, drug possession and assault all on different occasions, so let’s get through that knothole at the outset. Camacho can be very controversial and obnoxious, but so what? It’s what happens in the ring that counts (unless, of course, a boxer’s life style impacts his or her ring performance). Let’s take a look at Camacho’s body of work now that he finally seems to be retired—and let’s do it on the basis of what he has accomplished in the square circle.

Record

W 79 (KO 38) L 6 D 3 Total 88. That’s a lot of fights in today’s boxing world, but the “Macho Man” spaced his fights carefully over his very long career. Back in the pre ‘80s, he was a multiple N.Y. Golden Gloves Champion. Born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, he moved to New York early and became the first Puerto Rican to have won the World Boxing Championship (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) championships in the lightweight division. The following highlights his accomplishments:

Amateur Record: 96-4

1978 New York Golden Gloves Flyweight Sub-Novice Champion
1979 New York Golden Gloves Bantamweight Open Champion
1979 Intercity Golden Gloves 119-Pound Champion
1980 New York Golden Gloves Bantamweight Open Champion
1980 Intercity Golden Gloves 125-Pound Champion

Pro Titles

1981 NABF super featherweight title
1983 WBC super featherweight title
1985 NABF lightweight title
1985 WBC lightweight title
1989 WBO light welterweight title
1995 IBC welterweight title
1996 IBC middleweight title
1998 IBC light middleweight title
2001 NBA super middleweight title
2008 WBF International light middleweight title
2008 WBE Light Middleweight Title

Quality of Opposition

It was outstanding and if the total won-loss record of Camacho’s opponents (coming in) were tallied, the results would be astounding. He defeated Ray Mancini (for the vacant WBO light welterweight title), Roberto Duran twice (though some—including me—think he was given a gift in one of those), Sugar Ray Leonard who he finally retired in head-snapping fashion, Tony Menefee (62-4), Heath Todd, undefeated Gary Kirkland, heavy-handed Luis Maysonet, well-traveled Jorge Vaca (63-21-1), touted Todd “Kid” Foster (33-3), Pat Lawlor, Reyes Antonio Cruz (37-2-1), slick and tough Tony Baltazar (34-3-1), Ken Sigurani (22-2), Olympian Howard Davis Jr. (29-3-1), former world champion Cornelius Boza Edwards (44-5-1), Lonnie Horn (24-2), Freddie Roach, former two-time champion Vinny Pazienza (for the WBO light welterweight title), and, of course, fellow Puerto Rican Edwin “Chapo” Rosario (28-1).

He also whipped ultra- tough Greg Haugen and durable Jose Luis Ramirez (both of whom are members of the World Boxing Hall of Fame), Rafael “Bazooka” Limon (for the vacant WBO light welterweight title), and Rafael Solis (29-3-2) whose career he essentially ended as Solis went 1-9 thereafter. A “prospect assassin” of sorts, Camacho beat Canadian Rick Souce (14-1), Cuban Irleis “Cubanito” Perez (25-0), John Montes (22-1), Louis Loy (15-0-1), Greg “Candy Man” Conversion (32-0), Melvin Paul (16-0), Panamanian contender Rafael Williams (19-1), Troy “TNT” Lowry (24-1), and Louis Burke (19-1).

He was defeated by Hall inductee Julio Cesar Chavez (81-0 coming in), future inductee Felix Trinidad (22-0), Greg Haugen (27-3), against whom he lost a SD when he was penalized inexplicitly, stubbornly,  and stupidly (on his part) for not touching gloves before the last round; however, he won the rematch by SD, Oscar De La Hoya (25-0), someone named Irish Chris Walsh (19-7-1) by a cut-induced TD in 2003, and finally by veteran Saul “Baby” Duran on May 14, 2010. He also had a draw with Yori Boy Campas (92-14) in 2009. He never fought Bobby Chacon or Pernell Whitaker. Chacon unwisely chose to fight Ray Mancini and the Duvas wisely never made the match with Whitaker. Yes, the Macho Man lost to the best opponents he faced, but most occurred when he was fading and he took them like—well a Macho Man.

Era: 1980-2010

“He was bigger in America [than Puerto Rico]—he was a New Yorker.”—His promoter Mike Acri

Unlike beloved Puerto Rican legends such as Wilfred Benítez, Wilfredo Gomez, and Tito Trinidad, Camacho was really a New Yorker who happened to be Puerto Rican and he never really endeared himself to Puerto Rican fans the way other Puerto Rican legends did.

He fought in multiple eras during a 30-year boxing career. When you consider that Archie Moore’s career spanned 27 years, you get a better perspective, though Hector’s fights have been far and few between in recent years. Nevertheless, he fought at or near the top of his divisions during eras that included great fighters. As indicated above, the list of his opponents reads like a “Who’s Who.” And to Camacho’s credit, he has never been stopped and has been down only once.

In 1989, when he met former world lightweight champion Ray “Boom Boom ” Mancini (who was 29-3 with 23 knockouts coming in), Camacho won a unanimous decision for the vacant WBO Junior Welterweight title. In so doing, he joined an exclusive “club” of boxers who have become three-time world champions.

Style

“From old ladies to little girls, I hear, ‘You better knock him out for me. I hate him.’ I say, ‘OK, I’ll try.’ I don’t know what it is. People just don’t like him.”—Oscar De La Hoya

An imitator of Muhammad Ali’s controversial and flashy style and flair, few could out-finesse or out-speed him, but his over-the-top costumes (such as the Gladiator outfit he wore coming into the SRL fight) and the not-so-macho flamboyance turned off many fight fans. But in his early career, experts and fans raved about him. What separated Hector from the rest were his in-and-out speed, extraordinary foot movement, cute turns and angles, and slick and often unorthodox counter moves. The Ali and Camacho style was adopted by Roy Jones Jr. and Naseem Hamed to name two, and it brought excitement to their fights.

However, Camacho then met fellow Puerto Rican Edwin “Chapo” Rosario in1986. He dominated the early rounds, but had to hang on in rounds five, six and seven when he caught the fury and power of Rosario. He came back to take rounds eight and nine, but Rosario came on late. Camacho won the title fight by split decision (the scoring went as follows: judge Tony Castellano 113-115,  judge Luis Rivera 114-113, and judge Stuart Kirshenbaum 113-115), but afterwards his style changed dramatically into a more defensive one designed to avoid the kind of punishment “Chapo” meted out.

Said Larry Merchant,” I don’t know whether his personality undermined him or if how he started to fight after the Rosario fight did, when he decided he’d rather be a cautious fighter than a crowd-pleasing one…His crowd-pleasing would come in his personality, not his fighting, with the ring entrances and costumes. He understood the value of self-promotion and was good at it.”

With his more conservative style, he fought a long list of top contenders and former champions but his nickname of “Macho” no longer seemed appropriate.

In 1994 with his speed eroding, the Macho Man changed his style once more using flatfooted power to score some impressive stoppages. Included among his victims were contenders Luis Maysonet and Todd Foster. He drew with Jorge Vaca in 1999 and then began to cut back on the frequency of his fights. His last fight appeared to be in July 2005 when he beat the limited Raul Munoz by UD in Tucson. Three years later, he came back to punish and stop Percy “The Punisher” Ballard (20-1) in Houston for something called the vacant World Boxing Foundation International Light Middleweight Title and the WBE Light Middleweight Title. A year later, he drew with equally well-traveled “Yori Boy” Campas (92-14 at the time), setting up what appeared to be his final bout with Saul Duran in Kissimmee, Florida on May 14, 2010. However, even though he lost, he did not announce his retirement. As the Macho Man approaches 50, that seems academic unless he pulls a Saul Mamby (who was 60 at the time of his last fight in 2008).

Future

Hector has become an affable regular at the Boxing Hall’s induction ceremonies in upstate New York and some have gone so far as to speculate (or maybe fantasize) that he might fight at least one more time, maybe in Florida where an aging Roy Jones Jr. could be made available. But that’s more fantasy than speculation.

Now then, at the end of the fight, what counts most is whose hand the referee raises. In the case of Hector Camacho Sr., his hand was raised 79 times and that’s pretty darn impressive. He fought great opposition; he became one of youngest World Champions in boxing history; he was a three-time world champion; he never quit on his stool; he fought over a long period of time; and he fought in some 20 different locations. Those are rock solid credentials. However, he needs to retire officially so the clock can begin counting for his inevitable induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and into the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

In the end, Camacho has left the game on his own terms and he did it HIS WAY. Few have done that.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Hector "Macho" Camacho VS Rafael "Bazooka" Limon - WBC Super Featherweight Title Fight 1983



Hector 'Macho' Camacho | Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini (HL) 1/2



Hector 'Macho' Camacho | Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini (HL) 2/2



Hector "Macho" Camacho vs. Edwin Rosario Part 1



Hector "Macho" Camacho vs. Edwin Rosario Part 2



Hector "Macho" Camacho vs. Edwin Rosario Part 3



Hector "Macho" Camacho vs. Edwin Rosario Part 4



Hector "Macho" Camacho vs. Edwin Rosario Part 5



Hector "Macho" Camacho vs. Edwin Rosario Part 6



Hector "Macho" Camacho vs. Edwin Rosario Part 7



Hector Macho Camacho vs Sugar Ray Leonard



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  1. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 10:07pm, 01/25/2012

    I know Camacho is about age 49 / 50 soon, but is he still considered an active fighter??? Last I heard he drew with Yory Boy Campas a year or so ago…. WTF?

  2. the thresher 09:19am, 01/25/2012

    Thanks, Rax

  3. raxman 03:29pm, 01/16/2012

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redbelt

    thats the wikipedia link so you can read up on - probably best to avoid the plot section as its full of spoilers.

    i did download the film but it wasn’t easy to find my first couple of attempts ended up being polish dubs -dóh!

    i’m at work now but when i get home tonight i’ll go thru my history and find the link for the dl. i think i searched thru filetube and eventually found a good copy at filesonic or fileserve i can’t remember which. you can probably find easier in the states thru one of those paid services you got - netflicks is it? if it was only going to cost a few bucks its probably worth it just to see boom boom alone.

  4. the thresher 03:22pm, 01/16/2012

    Rax, how about a link?

  5. raxman 03:18pm, 01/16/2012

    did you guys see mancini in the david mamet film red belt? like mamet and actor ed"al bundy"o’neil, boom-boom has become a skilled and devoted practioner of brazillian ju jitsu. its not a bad film if you’re into the mamet style of indy film making.

  6. the thresher 03:15pm, 01/16/2012

    hahahahaha

  7. raxman 03:12pm, 01/16/2012

    i dont know that i’ve ever disliked a fighter more than camacho. and unlike others - prince naseem for one - who given time i’ve come to appreciate their skills, with camacho i’m still a straight up hater. one of my most favourite 90’s boxing moments was watching the JCC school camacho over 12.

  8. the thresher 09:21am, 01/14/2012

    WOW!! My main man B-RED is in the house. Welcome aboard bro, ya dig!

  9. the thresher 09:20am, 01/14/2012

    MRBILL, Rosario is already in the Hall and Camacho will get in without any trouble IMO.

  10. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 02:18am, 01/14/2012

    Too bad neither Camacho or Rosario ever truly lived up to their full potential cuz of their outside distractions and things, but both are serious IBHOF candidates in my book….. C’mon, both vato’s won titles from various “ABC” groups and fought excellent competition, as well….. Dude’s like “Rosario, Camacho and Don Curry” belong in the IBHOF!!!

  11. B Red 05:50pm, 01/13/2012

    That Rosario fight was a great fight. I though Edwin pulled it out.

  12. BOSS MAN 04:42pm, 01/13/2012

    MRBILL, ONCE AGAIN YOU SHOW YOUR BRILLIANCE IN BOXING AND YOUR FOUL TASTE IN MOVIES.

  13. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 03:43pm, 01/13/2012

    I’ll be at my sis’ crib tonight and tomorrow night since they are going to Charlotte for the weekend… I rented Dudley Moore in the classic “Arthur” on DVD and I’m looking to burn it before I return it… I saw the new Arthur with Russ Brand and I liked it, too….

  14. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 03:36pm, 01/13/2012

    I don’t think Mancini was robbed in ‘85 against Bramble at all. The ref and doc. were looking to stop the fight cuz of Ray’s badly cut eye. I agree that Liv Bramble should’ve TKO’d Mancini again, but Mancini proved game…. Yet Mancini didn’t do enough to take the belt back from Bramble…. The decision was fair….

  15. the thresher 02:58pm, 01/13/2012

    Mancini had badly stiffed in his second fight with Bramble. That was sickening.


    Agreed Yank, that the act was wimpy.

  16. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 02:50pm, 01/13/2012

    I thought Mancini landed enough punches and displayed enough aggression to get the decision over Camacho in 1989…. It was close…. I have it too on video…..

  17. "Old Yank" Schneider 01:27pm, 01/13/2012

    From Sept 22, 1997 Sports Illustrated: “He’s the better fighter, too. He fought a damn great fight, but he did not knock me out.” [said Camacho]
    “For that reason Camacho insisted he was within his rights to renege on a bet he’d made with De La Hoya. He was not giving up his spit curl, the devilish hank of hair that dangles on his brow. Supposedly, if Camacho won, De La Hoya would have paid him $200,000; if De La Hoya won, he’d get to play barber. ‘But he didn’t knock me out, so he don’t get spit,’ Camacho declared.” I continue to see this as wimping out on his bet with De La Hoya. There is ZERO doubt had Camacho won, that De La Hoya would have forked over the $200,000. I clearly remember De La Hoya standing in the ring with scissors in hand expecting to ceremoniously give Camacho a “trim”. It was one of the reasons why I watched the bout; an expectation to watch De La Hoya play barber when it was over. I see the act (not the fighter) as a wimp-out.

  18. the thresher 10:13am, 01/13/2012

    “it exposed his mouthy arrogance as little more than a shrinking wimp.” Naw, it was all hype. This guy was hardly a “wimp,”

    His hype techniques were not all that good, but once the bell rang, he was all fighter and took his beatings like a man. As it turns out, if anyone was a “wimp,” it was the “fish net kid.” who quit on hi stool against Pac Man.

  19. the thresher 10:10am, 01/13/2012

    Camacho did something that was very progressive in Boxing. He eliminated the middle man and did much of that wrok himself. He was able to retain more earnings that way, and I believe he has invested his money smartly.

  20. Cheekay Brandon 09:44am, 01/13/2012

    Fantastic piece! I’ve always believed that Camacho was one of the more underappreciated fighters of his era.  He was flashy, but was all grit inside the ring.

  21. Iron Beach 07:31am, 01/13/2012

    Worked in the same gym in Orlando when Hector was living there, both he and his son worked out there. Sr. was a pro thru an thru…Jr. not so much. Always liked his scraps for the theatrics and let’s face it the guy was very talented whether you cared for his antics or not. Hope he finds Peace in his life now and has truly exorcised his demons.

  22. "Old Yank" Schneider 07:24am, 01/13/2012

    Camacho was hard to warm up to but clearly slick and skilled. I can’t say that it was a pleasure to look forward to his contests; his arrogance was painfully hard to swallow. His refusal to make good on his bet with De La Hoya (who brought scissors into the ring after the bout to “trim” Camacho of his “tail”) will always stick in my mind as a punk thing to do – it exposed his mouthy arrogance as little more than a shrinking wimp. But time has passed and I’ve grown to appreciate how much he really accomplished in the ring.

  23. the thresher 07:07am, 01/13/2012

    Uh-oh, have just been attacked by a nasty virus on the computer. I’ll be back when I get it removed ????

  24. the thresher 06:40am, 01/13/2012

    MRBILL, I AGREE

  25. Joe 06:04am, 01/13/2012

    The Rosario fight was a great one that’s for sure.  The Macho Man was a super exciting fighter during his heyday and I thought his little macho man would have been a better fighter but the son’s of greats don’t have the same fire for it.  Love that interview when he says, to paraphrase, “you n-words can get some too”.  It was TOTALLY OK coming from Hector.  What a personality.  A true New Yorker.

  26. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 12:56am, 01/13/2012

    I taped and still have my VHS copy of “Camacho-Rosario” from June 1986 off HBO and it was a great lightweight title fight…... I still favored Camacho…..... Rosario won a few rds with power punching, but Camacho still out-boxed him on points, as was official…..

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