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Thursday 28 August 2014

Memorial for slain boxer Camacho

Published 27/11/2012 | 19:29

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Maria Matias, mother of the former boxing champion Hector 'Macho' Camacho is embraced as she weeps at her son's memorial service (AP)

Family, fans and fellow boxers have said goodbye to Hector "Macho" Camacho at a memorial and wake for the slain former world champion fighter known for his flamboyance in and out of the ring.

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Hundreds of people filed past 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.

First up were members of his immediate family, including his mother Maria Matias who 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.

Camacho was shot November 20 while sitting in a parked car with a friend outside a bar in Bayamon, his hometown. The friend died at the scene and the boxer three days later after doctors took him off 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, US 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 US 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."

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 jewellery.

He battled drug and alcohol problems throughout his life and had frequent run-ins with police. When he was shot, police found an open package of cocaine in the car and nine unopened packages on his friend.

Press Association

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