“Macho” Camacho documentary to air Friday December 4, 2020

Hector “Macho” Camacho always put on quite a show.

The premiere of the Hector “Macho” Camacho documentary is set to air Friday, December 4, 2020 at 9 p.m. on SHOWTIME, two weeks after the eighth anniversary of his tragic death. Camacho died November 24, 2012 at the age of 50, after being shot multiple times in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. He had been in intensive care until doctors finally ruled he was brain dead and the family reluctantly agreed to have him disconnected from the respirator.

The report contains interviews with María Matías his mother, as well as her sisters and Camacho’s son Héctor Camacho Jr. who recounts the struggles his father had with addiction and the emotional problems he suffered in his life while being one of the most prominent figures in the sport of Boxing in his generation. Camacho, a 5’6 1/2″ tall southpaw, retired with a record of 79-6-3 with 38 KOs on May 14, 2010 after an unanimous decision loss to a super middleweight by the name of Saul Duran (36-16-2).

In that last fight, a 10 rounder, the 37 year old Duran, a first round knockout victim in his previous fight, was the aggressor throughout and scored a 10 round unanimous decision victory over the 48 year old Camacho in a war of jabs and holding. The bout was basically won in the first round after Duran landed a straight right to drop Camacho for a flash knockdown resulting in a 10-8 round. Camacho did try to mount a comeback of sorts in that round by landing quite a few two punch combinations. However, from that point on, Camacho showed the effects of aging and spent the majority of the fight grabbing and holding.

In rounds 2 thru 5, both fighters threw a lot of jabs which either missed or were not effective. In the fifth round, well behind on the scorecards, the referee took a point away from Camacho for excessive holding. Camacho then came back and won the 6th and 7th rounds with power shots and much better ring generalship. While the eighth looked pretty much even, Duran did land some hard body shots at will on the extremely tired Camacho, who by this time was gassed and grabbing on to survive. The final round featured more jabs and holding with the advantage going to Duran. In the end, with his 79 career wins, Camacho still had his legs under him, but his skills were now just memories. He no longer had the power or hand speed to win a 10 round fight against a limited Mexican fighter who had lost 8 of his last 10 bouts. The judges’ scores: Judge Don Balas 97-91, Judge Alex Levin 97-91 and Judge Fred Fluty 96-91, all favored Duran.

Macho Camacho’s charisma, boxing prowess and unique style had made him a sports legend, but now for the first time, it was crystal clear that was all in the past. There’d be no more ‘Macho Time’. During his illustrious career Camacho fought battles with some of the very best boxers in the sport, Roberto Durán, Julio César Chávez, Félix “Tito” Trinidad, Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar de la Hoya. At this point, all that was ancient history.

They say what hurt most was the fact that this “shocker” had been broadcast live from the Kissimmee Civic Center in Florida on pay-per-view.

My own, personal run in with HectorMacho” Camacho? In late 1989, boxing standouts Vinny Pazienza and Hector Macho Camacho came to Cox Cable in San Diego for a pre-fight Press Conference to promote their upcoming fight on Saturday, February 3, 1990 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. After setting things up on the 3rd Floor, management got more than a little on edge when they discovered their invites to the local Press had been ignored. That’s when our sales and installation department was urged to come up one flight of stairs and fill up the chairs of the no-shows.

On the right of this long white table was combatant #1 Vinny Pazienza and in the center was the ego-maniac Hector “Macho” Camacho. Within seconds, the adrenalin was flowing and some harsh comments were exchanged. Then came the solicitation for comments from us Cox Cable employees. For whatever reason yours truly got up on his feet and gave the following opinion: “To my way of thinking, Mr. Pazienza is the far superior Boxer/puncher and what he needs to do is stand in the middle of the ring and wait for “El Conejo, Hector Macho Camacho, to come to him. If Mr. Pazienza starts running around the ring after “El Conejo”, he’s just going to wear himself out. Save your energy and let him come to you.”

Camacho hesitated for a few seconds, perhaps until he was certain as to what I had just said and then he was up and out of his seat, like fireworks on the 4th of July. Everyone was on edge and started going crazy as they tried to stop this explosive situation and get the Champion down off that table. After all, he could have injured himself. As you might imagine, cooler heads prevailed and the Press Conference ended with everyone saying sweet things to Macho Camacho, the man with the injured ego. At this time Macho Camacho was an egomaniac with 36 wins, 0 losses and this upcoming WBO Junior Welterweight World Title fight set to take place at the Convention Hall in Atlantic City was to be the first defense of his title.

Before I had a chance to leave that Press Conference, the much celebrated Vinny Pazienza made certain that we spoke and that I received this personnally autographed photo.

The fight billed “Put Up or Shut Up” saw Camacho land 133 of his 442 punches (30%) while Vinny Pazienza connected on 118 punches of 451 (26%). This unique battle-royal (still available for you to watch on You Tube) is no doubt one of the best ever. At one point in the 12th round, the blood-covered Pazienza, after throwing all these wild, often desperate blows, backed away from Camacho, pounded his own face with his gloves and screamed like Tarzan. The elusive Camacho seemed content to just pick off Pazienza’s blows and then land quick counters. The right jabs from his southpaw stance were followed by straight lefts. After blooding Pazienza’s right eye in round three, Pazienza claimed the injury came from a head butt. Later, in round nine, Camacho opened up a blood-spurting gash around Pazienza’s left eye.

Wanting some payback, Pazienza then resorted to some rough stuff of his own. Then, as if the ref, Tony Perez, was in fact on Camacho’s payroll, Camacho coolly awaited his intervention, who up until that point had only stepped in to admonished Pazienza for his tactics. Pazienza’s retribution quickly ended, as Perez penalized Pazienza a point for head-butting which angered Pazienza even more.

From the New York Times’ print archives came the following gem: “At 1 a.m. in the morning, in his black robe and buckskin shoes, Hector Camacho headed out of the Convention Center followed by friends, family and a strange sight for boxing’s leading rogue, a number of well-wishers.

“Just two hours earlier, Camacho’s entry into the building’s prize ring in an Indian headdress and multicolored buckskin trunks (Camacho lives near an Osage reservation in southern Florida) – incited a raucous of boos, the usual reaction to Camacho’s preening and boasting of this outrageous champion.

“But now, as Camacho left the arena, the fans crowded around to pat him on the back, amid these parting cries of ”Macho time” from a follower of the fighter who is known as Macho Man.” This new experience, his lack of running and the holding of his opponent, had turned out very well, like a blessing to endear himself to his fans.

On that Saturday night in Atlantic City against my new buddy Vinny Pazienza, it was indeed “Macho Camacho time”. He did in fact beat Pazienza by a unanimous decision, and did it with nifty footwork and stinging combinations, while largely resisting the jab-and-grab tactics that had become his all-too-familiar game-plan in recent years. Did the wise guy suddenly have an epiphany, a sudden revelation? Most assuredly, it had something to do with his new strategy. With the win Hector “Macho” Camacho had improved to 37-0 while Vinny Pazienza dropped to 28-4.

Against the raging Pazienza, who snarled, butted and shoved, the WBO junior-welterweight champ, showed poise and savvy. It was a bit of the old fluid Macho Man not seen since August 1985, when he out boxed Jose Luis Ramirez to win the WBC World Lightweight title at the Riviera in Las Vegas.

In major bouts that followed that victory over Ramirez – against Edwin Rosario, Cornelius Boza-Edwards plus Ray “Boom-Boom” Mancini – the mastery of Camacho was absent. He had become a shortcut artist in the ring, fighting just enough to win while insisting afterward that the old magic was still there.

But Camacho’s assessment did not jibe with how the public and boxing media viewed him: over the next five years, Camacho was hooted at by crowds and regularly maligned by reporters, even as Camacho kept insisting that the old master of slip-and-bang would return.

Defense and Combinations

Against Pazienza, Camacho deftly used his feet and defense to avoid the wild swings of his emotional foe, and repeatedly intercepted the charging Pazienza with his three and four punch combinations. The counterpuncher timed his blows smartly, shooting them from a variety of angles and landing a high percentage in this 12-round bout. When Pazienza resorted to the rough stuff, Camacho coolly awaited the intervention of referee Tony Perez, who repeatedly warned the challenger for his tactics and eventually penalized him a point.

Outclassed, Pazienza tried mightily to unravel Camacho. That he couldn’t was no discredit to him. With cuts over both eyes, on his right cheekbone, and blood streaming down his face in the final rounds, Pazienza stubbornly resisted the inevitable result.

Going mad with the notion that he couldn’t beat Camacho, in that final round, Pazienza began to hit himself with a flurry of pitty-pat punches and laughed, a touch of dementia occurred at center ring. Later in that same round, when Pazienza threw Camacho into the ropes, the champion began laughing at him while making an obscene gesture.

Was Camacho a braggart to the very end? A quote from after that fight: ”In that fight I looked the best I’ve looked in a long time. I think I’m the only Mr. Excitement out there today.” In that fight, he certainly was. In retrospect, this fly-on-the-wall should never have referred to him as “Un Conejo.”

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