In Memoriam: Hector “Macho” Camacho

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A real macho man

FELT FORUM, NYC – When Hector “Macho” Camacho agreed to defend his world title against fellow Puerto Rican light weight Edwin Rosario at the Felt Forum in 1986, it was instantly the fight of the year.

How big was that fight?  Bouts featuring Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez were on the under card.

And rightly so.  At ages 23 and 24 respectively, the blazing fast Camacho, and the strong, plodding Rosario were both at their peaks.  Their clashing styles also made for a classic match up that did not disappoint.

Camacho danced, jabbed, and flurried.  But he didn’t run.  He was willing to trade punches with Rosario, who stunned him in both the fifth and final rounds.  Camacho proved a worthy champion, surviving both of these pugilistic bombings and winning in a split decision.

A great overview the fight can be found here.

Livingstone Bramble: He was a real person and he looked like this.

There were more victories down the line for both men.  Rosario got a belt in short order by beating Livingstone Bramble, who himself should be immortalized just for his name… if for nothing else.  Meanwhile, Camacho bested Vinny Pazienza and split a pair of bouts with brawler Greg Haugen before losing a unanimous decision to Chavez, and other big ticket bouts to Felix Trinidad and Oscar de la Hoya.

But in some ways, that night in 1986 was the apex for both Rosario and Camacho.  Not long thereafter, each began the kind of  personal descent that is so common for drug-addled, brain damaged fighters.

Rosario fell into debt betting on cock fights and spiraled into drug addiction.  He lost his family, ended up in jail, and died in 1997.  Camacho kept fighting until just a couple of years ago.  He also kept boozing and drugging.  The low light came when he broke into a computer store in Mississippi, stole over $5,000, and peed on the floor.

Camacho’s end came the other night when he caught a bullet in the face while sitting in a car with a friend in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and either doing and/or dealing coke.  The friend died instantly.  Camacho lingered on life support for a few days before his mother had doctors pull the plug.

I usually rooted against Camacho during the late 1980s, back when he was one of the best fighters in the world.  I sure was rooting hard for Rosario that night as I watched the fight at Angry Ward’s house.  We all were.

Real fighters

Though he was NuYorican proud, born in Bayamon but raised in Spanish Harlem, Camacho just kinda rubbed us the wrong way.  His brand of flashiness ruffled feathers.  He was a preening pretty boy, with that single, dark curl dangling on his forehead, and that arrogant smirk we were hoping Roasario would wipe off his face.

But the sonofabitch could fight.  He wasn’t just flash and dance.  He could punch.  And as he proved against Rosario, he could also take one.  Rosario almost put him away twice, but Camacho stayed on his feet and earned that victory, much to our chagrin.

But leather and sweat is one thing.  Coke and lead is another.

R.I.P., Macho Man.  We’ll watch you dance and stick in that big Felt Forum in the sky.

West Coast Craig failed the MTM Concussion Test after slamming his head on his desk after our Steelers lost and cannot go this afternoon. Feel free to talk boxing, football or hot stove here.

 

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About the Author ()

Mattville's George Plimpton, The Public Professor, is indeed a real, honest-to-goodness, legitimate professor at a major Maryland university. But because he doesn't have a cell phone or cable, he's crazy enough to be with us. A member of Angry Ward's Urban Spur Posse, the terrorized Bronx graffiti artist's by correcting their grammar. His loves? The Yankees, Knicks, NY Rangers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also has a real website: ThePublicProfessor.com (http://www.thepublicprofessor.com/).
  • jgclancy

    Nice one Prof.

    On another note-Fireman Ed quits the Jets because he basically thinks the other Jet fans are obnoxious jerks..interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/Cookies_Corner Cookies Corner

    Speaking of ’80′s boxers..whatever happened to Roberto Duran? I appreciate the story about computer theft and peeing on the floor. I say.. nothing like marking your territory. (And if you’re gonna get caught.. why not leave some DNA?)

    Burning question… are Fireman Ed and H*mo Larry the same guy? I mean.. you never see them together in the same place.

  • Big Fat Toad

    Camacho’s wife can’t wrestle, but you ought to see her box! Too soon? We should be talking football anyway. The Giants are back.

    • You Suck

      Too soon. And the joke is old.

      • http://meetthematts.com/ Meet The Matts

        Too soon, probably… Sam’s-A-Fan and jg clancy will have to judge that… But as a joke, it’s as reliable as beer.

  • http://ThePublicProfessor.com The Public Professor

    I think we need to dedicate some space to Fireman Ed, who’s sudden retirement is a blessing to us all. It is now safe to burn down the Jets.

    • AngryWard

      Fireman Ed is right, of course, but this is one of those cases where the expression, “It takes one to know one” really applies.

    • http://meetthematts.com/ Meet The Matts

      Ed stepped down because of unruly fans. Jet fans. ‘Nuff said.

  • Sam’s-A-Fan

    Great column Prof! I had the same disdain for the Macho Man for similar reasons, but your words here have given me pause, and I will take a minute to remember the positive aspects of his career which you have highlighted quite well.

  • WestCoastCraig

    There was simply no other way for a man to live and die when born with a name like Macho Camacho. Excellent tribute…how can I follow that up? I just can’t. And man the Steelers are terrible. Rashard Mendenhal must be the best practice squad runner in the NFL for the coaches to keep calling him their “ace.”

  • WestCoastCraig

    also, Livingstone Bramble would make a great band name.

  • AngryWard

    Terrific column and a reminder of just how great boxing used to be. Camacho was a good fighter but, as far as I was concerned, anyone claiming to be “macho” who wasn’t a member of the Village People was just an impostor. Beginning of the end for Bramble was when he changed his name from Livingstone to Ras-I. What was he thinking? Prof, I look forward to a future column on your boy, John “The Beast” Mugabe.

  • Yankee Joe

    Pubic Prof is a Piss-burgh fan and so we get nothing about the NEW YORK GIANTS SPANKING THE FUDGE PACKERS??!!!

  • http://twitter.com/CheesyBruin Cheesy Bruin

    A knockout column PP. Couldn’t stand Camacho as he beat two of my all time faves in Boom-Boom and Sugar Ray but to his credit, he fought EVERYBODY and was almost always successful.

  • AngryWard

    Little known fact. Short Matt got his start at the Felt Forum, playing Marvin Martian in Bugs Bunny in Outer Space.

  • Grote2Dmax

    All these guys from the 80′s had insane coke habits that never went away. Gooden, Taylor, Strawberry are the lucky ones because they are still around.

  • http://meetthematts.com/ Meet The Matts

    Pub Prof: Nice work… again. You didn’t go sappy on us or anoint St. Macho. Too bad he didn’t straighten out… Now, how about them Giants?! And Cookie, the Denver Peytons ain’t that good. Brady Quinn, who couldn’t start for Notre Dame right now, almost beat them.

  • http://twitter.com/JunoirBlaber Junoir Blaber

    Nice work Prof. RIP Macho!!

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