The funeral of former boxing champion Hector “Macho” Camacho erupted into chaos after a fight broke out between Cynthia Castillo, a woman claiming to be his girlfriend, a former lover and his sisters.
Family, fans and fellow boxers had gathered in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Tuesday to say goodbye to the slain former world champion fighter, known for his flamboyance in and out of the ring.
The brawl broke out after 28-year-old Cynthia Castillo, dressed in a pink T-shirt emblazoned with Hector Camacho’s face, leaned down to kiss his body in the open casket.
Cynthia Castillo then walked into an area reserved for family – causing tensions to spill over with the boxer’s sisters and former lover, 50-year-old Gloria Fernandez.
The scuffle migrated outside the memorial service, followed by a pack of journalists brandishing camera phones and police who separated the women.
Cynthia Castillo said she was the boxer’s girlfriend before he died, calling him “my partner, my friend, my brother”, according to El Nuevo Dia.
Police urged the young woman to leave the scene while the sisters returned to the service.
There were emotional scenes throughout the day as members of Hector Camacho’s immediate family approached the coffin.
The boxer’s mother Maria Matias wept and caressed her son’s face in the coffin, which was draped in a Puerto Rican flag.
“They killed him,” she wailed at one point.
Hundreds of people filed past Hector Camacho’s open casket, displayed inside a gymnasium decked out for the occasion with black carpet and curtains.
The boxer wore white, along with a large gold crucifix and a necklace spelling out his nickname, “Macho”, in capital letters.
Hector Camacho was shot on November 20 while sitting in a parked car with a friend outside a bar in his hometown of Bayamon. The friend died at the scene and the boxer 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.
After the family, came a cross-section of Puerto Rican society that included parents with young children, the elderly, road crew workers in neon safety vests, U.S. soldiers in uniform and a who’s who of Puerto Rican boxers.
“Everybody loved him here in Puerto Rico,” said Henry Neumann, the secretary of the U.S. island territory’s sports and recreation department.
“He is one of those athletes who transcended the barriers of his country not only for his skill inside the ring but for his personality.”
Hector Camacho, who was 50 when he died, left Puerto Rico as a child and moved to New York.
He went on to win 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 and was a showman in the ring, chanting “It’s Macho time” before fights and wearing garish jewelry.
He battled drug and alcohol problems throughout his life and had frequent run-ins with police.
Hector Camacho was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in prison for the burglary of a computer store in Mississippi. While arresting him on the burglary charge in January 2005, police also found the drug ecstasy.
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Boxing world champion Hector “Macho” Camacho, known for skill and flamboyance in the ring as well as for a messy personal life and run-ins with the police, was declared dead on Saturday, four days after being shot in the face.
Hector Camacho was 50.
Shot while sitting in a parked car outside a bar Tuesday with a friend in the city of Bayamon, Hector Camacho was declared dead at the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The friend, 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno, died at the scene of the shooting. Police said Adrian Mojica Moreno had nine small bags of cocaine in his pocket and a 10th bag was found open in the car.
Originally from Bayamon, just outside San Juan, Hector Camacho was long regarded as a flashy if volatile talent, a skilled boxer who was perhaps overshadowed by his longtime foil, Mexican superstar Julio Cesar Chavez, who would beat him in a long-awaited showdown in Las Vegas in 1992.
Hector Camacho fought professionally for three decades, from his humble debut against David Brown at New York’s Felt Forum in 1980 to an equally forgettable swansong against Sal Duran in Kissimmee, Florida, in 2010.
In between, he fought some of the biggest stars spanning two eras, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Roberto Duran.
“This is something I’ve done all my life, you know?” Hector Camacho told The Associated Press after a workout in 2010.
“A couple years back, when I was doing it, I was still enjoying it. The competition, to see myself perform. I know I’m at the age that some people can’t do this no more.”
Hector Camacho’s family moved to New York when he was young and he grew up in Spanish Harlem, which at the time was rife with crime. He landed in jail as a teenager before turning to boxing, which for many kids in his neighborhood provided an outlet for their aggression.
Former featherweight champion Juan Laporte, a friend since childhood, described Camacho as “like a little brother who was always getting into trouble”, but otherwise combined a friendly nature with a powerful jab.
“He’s a good human being, a good hearted person,” Juan Laporte said as he waited with other friends and members of the boxer’s family outside the hospital in San Juan after the shooting.
“A lot of people think of him as a cocky person but that was his motto … inside he was just a kid looking for something.”
Juan Laporte lamented that Camacho never found a mentor outside the boxing ring.
“The people around him didn’t have the guts or strength to lead him in the right direction,” Juan Laporte said.
“There was no one strong enough to put a hand on his shoulder and tell him how to do it.”
Drug, alcohol and other problems trailed Hector Camacho after the prime of his boxing career. He was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in prison for the burglary of a computer store in Mississippi. While arresting him on the burglary charge in January 2005, police also found the drug ecstasy.
A judge eventually suspended all but one year of the sentence and gave Camacho probation. He wound up serving two weeks in jail, though, after violating that probation.
Hector Camacho’s former wife, Amy, obtained a restraining order against him in 1998, alleging he threatened her and one of their children. The couple, who had two children at the time, later divorced.
He divided his time between Puerto Rico and Florida in recent years, appearing on Spanish-language television as well as on a reality show called Es Macho Time! on YouTube.
Inside the boxing ring, Hector Camacho flourished. He won three Golden Gloves titles as an amateur, and after turning pro, he quickly became a contender with an all-action style reminiscent of other Puerto Rican fighters.
Long promoted by Don King, Hector Camacho won his first world title by beating Rafael Limon in a super-featherweight bout in Puerto Rico on August 7, 1983. He moved up in weight two years later to capture a lightweight title by defeating Jose Luis Ramirez, and successfully defended the belt against fellow countryman Edwin Rosario.
The Rosario fight, in which the victorious Hector Camacho still took a savage beating, persuaded him to scale back his ultra-aggressive style in favor of a more cerebral, defensive approach.
The change in style was a big reason that Hector Camacho, at the time 38-0, lost a close split decision to Greg Haugen at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas in 1991.
Hector Camacho won the rematch to set up his signature fight against Chavez, this time at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Camacho was roundly criticized for his lack of action, and the Mexican champion won a lopsided unanimous decision to retain the lightweight title.
It was at that point that Hector Camacho became the name opponent for other rising contenders, rather than the headliner fighting for his own glory.
He lost a unanimous decision to another young Puerto Rican fighter, Trinidad, and was soundly defeated by De La Hoya. In 1997, Hector Camacho ended Leonard’s final comeback with a fifth-round knockout. It was Hector Camacho’s last big victory even though he boxed for another decade.
“Hector was a fighter who brought a lot of excitement to boxing,” said Ed Brophy, executive director of International the Boxing Hall of Fame.
“He was a good champion. Roberto Duran is kind of in a class of his own, but Hector surely was an exciting fighter that gave his all to the sport.”
The fighter’s last title bout came in 1997 against welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya, who won by unanimous decision. Hector Camacho’s last fight was his defeat by Duran in May 2010.
Hector Camacho had a career record of 79-6-3.
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Former world boxing champion Hector “Macho” Camacho has been left brain dead after being shot in his native Puerto Rico, with his family facing the agonizing decision of taking him off life support as his condition worsened.
Doctors had earlier said Hector Camacho would survive after he was shot in the face while sitting in a car on Tuesday night in his hometown of Bayamon.
However, his condition deteriorated overnight and his heart stopped at one point, said Dr. Ernesto Torres, director of the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan.
“It would be a miracle for him to recuperate,” Dr. Ernesto Torres said on Wednesday.
Specialists consulted with Hector Camacho’s mother Maria Matias, who arrived from the U.S. mainland, and had a nervous attack at the hospital.
The family faced the agonizing choice of when he should be removed from life support, said Ismael Leandry, a longtime friend and former manager who was also at the hospital.
The 50-year-old Hector Camacho was outside a bar in a parked car with a friend when he was shot in the face.
The friend, whose name has not been released, was killed. No arrests have been made and no motive has been disclosed.
At least one gunman opened fire on their vehicle in the city of Bayamon, according to police. The bullet struck Hector Camacho in the jaw but exited his head and lodged in his right shoulder and fractured two vertebrae, Dr. Ernesto Torres said.
He had said the boxer, who was trailed by drug and alcohol problems during a career that included some high-profile bouts, could be paralyzed from the shooting.
“Camacho’s condition is extremely delicate,” Dr. Ernesto Torres told Telenoticias.
“His physical condition will help him but we will see.”
Hector Camacho’s representative Steve Tannenbaum said he was told by friends at the hospital that the boxer would make it.
“This guy is a cat with nine lives. He’s been through so much,” he said.
“If anybody can pull through it will be him.”
Hector Camacho’s last title bout came against then-welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya in 1997, a loss by unanimous decision.
Steve Tannenbaum said he was going to fight two years ago in Denmark until his opponent pulled out and that they were looking at a possible bout in 2013.
“We were talking comeback even though he is 50,” he said.
“I felt he was capable of it.”
Hector Camacho was born in Bayamon, one of the cities that make up the San Juan metropolitan area.
He won super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s.
He has fought other high-profile bouts in his career against Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Hector Camacho knocked out Leonard in 1997, ending what was that former champ’s final comeback attempt.
He has a career record of 79-5-3, with his most recent fight coming in 2009.
Drug and alcohol problems have trailed Hector Camacho since the prime of his boxing career.
He was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in prison for the burglary of a computer store in Mississippi. During the arrest in January 2005, police found him in possession of ecstasy.
A judge eventually suspended all but one year of the sentence and gave Camacho probation. He wound up serving two weeks in jail after violating his probation.
He divorced from his wife several years ago after she filed multiple domestic abuse complaints against him.
Hector Camacho was born in Puerto Rico but raised in Spanish Harlem, New York. His son Hector Camacho Jr. is also a boxer.