Hundreds of fans of Hector “Macho” Camacho turned out on Friday for the public wake in the neighborhood where the former boxing world champion grew up in New York.
A carriage drawn by white horses carried Hector Camacho’s body around the streets of Spanish Harlem, taking the casket cover with a Puerto Rican flag to St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church.
On a cold afternoon, people waited patiently on the crowded sidewalks around the church. They chanted “Macho time!” – the phrase Hector Camacho regularly used before his fights.
“Thank you, Nueva York,” said Hector Camacho’s mother, Maria Matias.
The boxer’s son, Hector Camacho Jr., had similar feelings.
“I was feeling down, feeling down, but these people definitely woke me up and lifted my spirits up,” he said.
Hector Camacho, a native of Puerto Rico, was shot in the face on November 20th while sitting in a parked car with a friend outside a bar in Bayamon, his hometown in the U.S. territory. The friend, Adrian Mojica Moreno, died at the scene and the boxer was declared dead three days later after doctors removed him from life support.
Police have said they have suspects but have not yet arrested anyone for the shooting.
Hector Camacho, who was 50 when he died, moved to New York as a child.
Known for his flamboyant displays in the ring, he won super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s and fought high-profile bouts against Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez and Sugar Ray Leonard. He had a career record of 79-6-3.
Leaving the church, people showed off pictures of Hector Camacho’s body that they took with smartphones and tablets. T-shirts with Hector Camacho’s images were being sold for $10.
“The scene inside was peaceful. Everybody is here supporting. He come out of Spanish Harlem and make something out of himself,” said Christian Camacho, one of Hector Camacho’s four sons.
“All his people are here supporting him, showing that they love him.”
“He didn’t deserve to die in such manner,” said Minerva Martinez, a 60-year-old from East Harlem who showed a photo of Hector Camacho with a Puerto Rican flag.
“He was a great fighter and a wonderful person, always happy.”
After a Mass at the church on Saturday, Hector Camacho is to be buried at the St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx.