Hector Camacho, the flamboyant former world boxing champion dubbed “Macho Camacho” for his antics inside and outside the ring, was on life support yesterday after being shot in the face as he sat in a car outside a bar in Bayamon, just south-west of the Puerto Rican capital.
The 50-year-old, who won the super-featherweight, lightweight and junior-lightweight world titles during his 25-year career in the ring, was rushed to the Centro Medico trauma facility in San Juan following the drive-by shooting on Tuesday night. A second man, identified in reports as Adrian Mojica, who was in the car with Camacho, was killed in the attack.
Camacho was reported to have gone into cardiac arrest yesterday morning before being stabilised by doctors. They warned he was fighting for his life after a bullet struck him in the jaw, pierced his head and ended up in his right shoulder, fracturing two vertebrae.
“The situation with ‘Macho’ is very delicate,” Centro Medico’s director Dr Ernesto Torres said in an early-morning briefing yesterday. “The prognosis is not good.”
“He went into cardiac arrest. The doctors were able to get his heart started again with the medicine and we are maintaining his blood pressure and [keeping his] pulse stable medically right now to see whether during this morning, afternoon or evening we see a positive change,” he added, according to ESPN.
Dr Torres told the Associated Press that the boxer was “battling minute to minute” in what was “the most important fight of his life”.
As the morning progressed yesterday, a close friend of the boxer’s told the Associated Press that Camacho’s condition had worsened, so much so that he could be taken off life support. Ismael Leandry, a friend and ex-manager of Camacho’s, said doctors were waiting for his mother to arrive from the US mainland to decide how to proceed.
Earlier, Dr Torres warned that in the event of a recovery, the severity of the attack could leave Camacho paralysed.
No arrests have been made since the shooting, which occurred outside a bar, according to Wapa TV, a local CNN affiliate. The suspects are reported to be two men who escaped after a gun battle with the police.
One of Camacho’s best-known bouts was with Sugar Ray Leonard, who was making a comeback attempt in 1997. Camacho’s punch put an end to that, however, with the Puerto Rican fighter knocking Leonard out in the fifth round. But the attack is the latest in a series of dark chapters in the life of the former world champion.
Born in Bayamon but raised in New York, Camacho was one of the sport’s most controversial figures. Along with drug and alcohol issues, he was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2007 for the burglary of a computer store in Mississippi, a term later commuted to one year and probation.
Earlier this year he was charged with child abuse amid allegations he had hit and stomped on his son during an altercation at his ex-wife’s home.