It was the summer of 1991. I was a teenager hanging with my friends at Hot Wheels Skating Center in Kendall for a concert. I can't recall who was performing, but I will never forget the flamboyant, muscular Puerto Rican dude in a tight shimmering silver mesh shirt and skinny black jeans. He was popping and locking on roller skates while flashing a wide grin. I recognized Hector Camacho instantly because of his signature split curl hanging down the middle of his forehead.
By then, the Macho Man's illustrious boxing career was starting to unravel due to mounting brushes with the law. He had conquered titles in three different weight classes to cement his place in boxing lore, but he couldn't conquer the demons that eventually claimed his life.
On Saturday, Camacho's mother pulled him off life support. He died at 50, succumbing to gunshot wounds to his face and shoulder that shattered his vertebrae; injuries he sustained on November 20 while sitting in a car in a parking lot outside a bar in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
While in his prime, Camacho split his time between South Florida, Orlando, and Clewiston. Banana Republican compiled his brightest and darkest moments in the Sunshine State:
Sept. 27, 1986: In front of a sold-out crowd at the Miami Beach Convention Center, then 24-year-old Camacho scores a 12-round unanimous decision over Cornelius Boza-Edwards to retain the World Boxing Council lightweight championship. He improves to 31-0.
Feb. 2, 1988: Clewiston, Florida, police officers arrest the Macho Man for aggravated assault after a teen boy accuses him of pulling a gun on him. While Camacho was waiting to get booked, a cop spotted him trying to hide a small plastic bag of cocaine in his underwear. He was also charged with coke possession.
March 15, 1989: Camacho loses control of his Lotus sportscar while driving at excessive speeds on a Clewiston road. Despite slamming into a palm tree, he emerged unscathed.
Oct. 13, 1991: Police in Ft. Myers arrest the Macho Man for driving with a suspended driver's license after pulling him over for driving too slow in his Ferrari while a woman was sitting on his lap.
Nov. 5, 1992: Camacho runs out of the Miami International Airport Hilton's lobby being chased by a pair of county cops who saw him carrying a small bag of marijuana. In the parking lot, while Camacho brawling with the cops, he allegedly yelled, "I'm the Macho Man!" He was charged with pot possession, disorderly conduct and three counts of battery on a police officer.
June 27, 1995: Camacho scores a seventh-round technical knockout over Juan Arroyo in a junior middleweight bout in Fort Lauderdale's War Memorial Auditorium. He improved to 53-3 with 25 TKOs.
Oct. 1, 1996: Camacho and his then-18-year-old son Hector Jr., become the third father and son tandem in boxing history to fight on the same card. Junior won a unanimous decision over Lou Martinez in a four-round junior welterweight bout. His dad scored a sixth-round TKO over Heath Toddin in front of a crowd of 1,120 at the War Memorial Auditorium.
Aug. 11, 1998: Camacho wins the IBC junior-middleweight title in a unanimous 12-round decision over Tony Menefee at the Miccosukee Indian Gaming casino resort in west Miami-Dade. He entered the ring as a masked tiger in a hooded cape and fringed loincloth trunks. He left the ring with his fourth world title.
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Jan. 20, 2001: The Macho Man is booked into an Indian River County Jail after being picked up on warrants for burglary and failure to pay child support. His ex-wife called in the cops after he made an unannounced visit to her Orlando home to see their children, violating a restraining order against him.
Feb. 3, 2001: Camacho gets into a tussle with his brother Felix at the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach. According to the police report, Felix got into an argument with his sibling's girlfriend, grabbing her and throwing a glass across a table. Hector came to her defense. Felix was arrested for criminal mischief and battery. Later that evening, the two brothers scored victories in separate fights during a boxing event at a South Beach nightclub.
May 14, 2010: He loses a unanimous decision to Mexican fighter Saul Duran at the Civic Center in Kissimmee. It was his last fight and the loss drops his overall record to 79-6-3.