“It’s always Macho Time!” bellowed Hector Camacho Junior upon agreeing to speak with this website.
Indeed, it will always be Macho Time for the millions of fans of the former multi-weight champ who added so much flamboyance, style, excitement and, yes, greatness to the sport during the 1980s and 1990s.
As fans know, Camacho was tragically killed by gunshot in 2012, his life being ended far too young at age 50. There have been many tributes put forth since – not least the superb 2020 film ‘Macho: The Hector Camcho Story’ by Eric Drath – and in May of this year, a street in Spanish Harlem in New York City will be renamed in Camacho’s honor – ‘Macho Camacho Way.’
Here, 44 year old Hector Camacho Jr kindly takes the time to speak about the street renaming and other things:
Q: “Hello, Hector. It’s great to be able to speak with you. I’m calling from the UK.
Hector Camacho Jr: “Hello. My dad has many fans out there, Macho Camacho fans.”
Q: Absolutely. Your dad is a true legend. You followed in his shoes of course…..
H.C: “They were special shoes, brother. They were very special shoes.”
Q: The street naming is coming up in Spanish Harlem in New York – on the 24th I believe, your father’s birthday?
H.C: “It’s actually gonna be on the 20th, which is a Saturday. But first of all, it’s so much emotion when I think about it. When I hear the accomplishments my father had, and when I hear the respect and the honour people give him. The thing is, he was the American dream. I mean, a young lad that came from Puerto Rico, didn’t speak a lick of English. As a young kid from the streets, a trouble maker, who was taken into boxing and he became special. So special he became a Hall of Famer. He actually was invited to the White House to meet president Reagan! He [Reagan] wanted to meet this shining star. So now, to have a street named after him, it’s great, it’s wow, it’s top of the top.”
Q: Just touching briefly on your dad’s career, because there is so much we could talk about, time permitting. He maybe had the fastest hands in ALL of boxing? Maybe he did?
H.C: “The hands, the coordination. He brought his own style to boxing. Macho Camacho was what you called a teenage, Puerto Rican Muhammad Ali. He brought his own style. If you look at boxing, there are only a few fighters who threw their hands so beautifully – only a few. You look at Sugar Ray Leonard, of course Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson. They had grace, they were great. But [today] you still see 90 percent of boxers in America, from their shorts to the way they try to move their hands, mimicking Hector Camcho! They forget who gave it to them. Not only was a he a great boxer, he was a pioneer of boxing.”
Q: What are your favourite fights of you dad’s?
H.C: “My personal favourite is the Edwin Rosario fight (Camacho winning a split decision). That was 1986. I came in the ring with my father for that fight. My dad was in with a really dangerous fighter and he showed balls. Also, I like the fight with the great Julio Cesar Chavez (Camacho losing a decision in 1992). That was a huge fight that mixed styles and he showed huge balls in that fight! The fight where he looked spectacular, that was the fight with Jose Luis Ramirez (Camacho winning via UD in 1985). In my opinion, that was when you saw Hector Macho Camacho at his best.”
Q: Following in his footsteps as you did, how did you handle the pressure of expectation?
H.C: “You know what? I give most of the credit to my momma. It wasn’t my father who brought me into boxing. He took me to a couple of training camps, but that’s all. I was actually picked on as a kid because I was Hector Camacho Junior. But my mother moved me to Orlando, Florida – my mom and dad were separated. At the time of the Chavez fight, in 1992, there were all these sports [open to me], like basketball and baseball. In 1994, my mom took me to a boxing gym.
“By 1996, I was the number-one fighter, going into the Olympic trials. That’s what got me into boxing. I knew how great my father was and I didn’t want to be compared to my father. I wanted to be the best that I could be. And I think I did that. I fought on HBO, against a guy called Rocky Martinez, and my father was on my under card! That was the highlight of my career. My father would teach me never to take things for granted. He was my superhero. I used that pressure [of following his footsteps] as a light.”
Q: The street naming, there will be some dignitaries there?
H.C: “We’re hoping the fans will come, the Macho fans who never got to meet him, they can come and show some love. And on May 18, I’m doing an amateur card in honour of my dad, in New York – in the same projects where he was made. I’m giving back to the people with this show; it’s free to the public.”
Q: If your dad had lived – we will never know of course – but what would he be doing today?
H.C: “Well, there is a feature film coming out. I can’t say any more than that. But he would have kept his name out there the way I’m doing, and he would have been giving back to the people, the way I am. You know, his education was boxing. He showed how people can make it. He never went to college. He showed you can make it some place if you work hard enough and if you believe in yourself. My dad came from the bottom, he never had money. He did it his way.”