Wednesday 21 February 2018

Real-life tragedy of Macho death

Eamonn Sweeney

When Hector 'Macho' Camacho burst on the scene in the 1980s, he was like some Platonic Ideal of a boxer. Incredibly fast, skilful and elusive and well able to deliver and withstand a big punch, you'd have bet on him becoming one of the greatest fighters of all-time.

By 1985, when he was just 23, the Puerto Rican had won WBC titles at both super featherweight and lightweight level without much difficulty. The following year he came out on top in one of the classic fights of the decade, earning a close points decision over Edwin Rosario.

And that, effectively, was all she wrote for Hector Camacho. For though he would fight on for another 24 years, ending with just six losses from 88 fights and adding a world light-welterweight title, Camacho came to be seen as one of the sport's great cases of unfulfilled potential.

The consensus was that Camacho's love of the high life had prevented him from getting the most out of his abilities. And when he faced three true all-time greats in title fights, Julio Cesar Chavez, Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya, he suffered comprehensive decision losses which knocked the gloss off his record.

Yet perhaps the critics were harsh. Camacho was still better than the majority of world champions and it may be that the Rosario fight, an absolutely gruelling war, took an enormous amount out of him.

He'd been in trouble outside the ring from an early age, doing jail time as a 15-year-old in New York where he was raised. And in recent years he'd been charged with drugs offences and convicted of burglary, had been shot in what he claimed was an attempted carjacking and was due up on charges of physically abusing his teenage son. Last week he was shot in his home town of Bayamon. Police found bags of cocaine in the car Camacho had been sitting in. His life support machine was switched off yesterday. He was 50.

Instead of a sporting tragedy, we had a real one. Edwin Rosario is dead too, gone at 34 from an embolism after horrendous problems with drugs and drink.

Let's be careful out there.

Sunday Indo Sport

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