Camacho ushered boxing into new era
Hector "Macho" Camacho, the three-division former world champion who lays in a Puerto Rico hospital Wednesday in a battle for his life, was a bridge between boxing's past and its future. During his career, which spanned 30 years, he represented the sport's modern era with his over-the-top personality. He was colorful, he was braggadocious, he was outlandish and, at the height of his game, he was a must-watch attraction.
He debuted more than a decade before the pay-per-view era kicked off, but if ever there were a fighter who was made for pay-per-view, it was Camacho. He could sell a fight as well as anyone who ever lived. "He understood the importance of marketing a fight and selling the fight," said Oscar De La Hoya, who scored a unanimous decision over Camacho in 1997. "He had his fans and they would be behind him so strong, but he also knew how to get under the skin of the opponent's fans and they would watch his fights hoping to see him get beaten.
"When I fought him, that was the first fight I was involved in where the opponent was really selling the fight hard. He was definitely advanced when it came to the marketing side of boxing and selling himself." But Camacho was also a bridge to boxing's past, because unlike so many of the sport's current stars, he eagerly sought out and fought the best of his era. Camacho didn't worry so much about purse-split percentages, pay-per-view shares (because he didn't have to) or billing. He was a throwback to an earlier time in that he possessed an anytime, anywhere mentality.
He demanded attention with his flamboyance, but because of the length of his career, and the high-profile nature of many of his opponents, he hasn't been accorded the kind of respect his 79-6-3 record would suggest he deserves.
There will be a battle, but Camacho clearly deserves induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.