Former world boxing champion Hector “Macho” Camacho's condition has worsened after he was shot in the face, with doctors and family members expected to decide whether to remove him from life support.
Doctors had said Camacho was in critical, but stable condition and expected to survive after he was shot on Tuesday night in his hometown of Bayamon. But his condition worsened overnight and his heart stopped at one point, said Dr. Ernesto Torres, director of the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan.
"He's battling minute to minute. This is the most important fight of his life," Torres told The Associated Press outside the hospital in the Puerto Rican capital.
Torres said that two specialists will examine the boxer to determine his level of brain activity.
The specialists will then consult with other doctors and Camacho's mother, who was expected to arrive from New York, to discuss whether he should be removed from life support, said Ismael Leandry, a longtime friend and former manager who was also at the hospital.
"We just have to wait to see if `Macho' gets better. It's a hard battle," Leandry told AP.
Camacho was shot as he sat in the passenger's side of the car outside the Puerto Rican capital Tuesday and was rushed to the trauma center in San Juan. Doctors said he was in critical but stable condition after suffering cardiac arrest at 4:15 a.m. on Wednesday.
Another man in the driver's seat of the car, identified as Adrian Alberto Mojica Moreno, 49, of Toa Baja, died in the attack, in which at least one gunman opened fire on their vehicle in Bayamon, according to a statement from police.
No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting, police said.
Camacho was rushed to Centro Medico, where doctors initially said he was fortunate in that the bullet passed through his head and lodged in his shoulder. Torres did warn, however, that 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.
The fighter's last title bout came against then-welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya in 1997, a loss by unanimous decision. He last fought in May 2010, losing to Saul Duran. Tannenbaum said 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."
Camacho was born in Bayamon, one of the cities that make up the San Juan metropolitan area
He left Puerto Rico as a child and grew up mostly in New York's Harlem neighborhood, one of the reasons he later earned the nickname "the Harlem Heckler."
He went on to win super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s.
In recent years, he has divided his time between Puerto Rico and Florida, appearing regularly on Spanish-language television.
Drug, alcohol and other problems have trailed 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. While arresting him on the burglary charge in January 2005, police also found drugs.
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.
His wife filed for divorce several years ago.