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Camacho’s death magnifies Puerto Rico’s violence

By Dennis M. Ayotte, Jr. | 28 de noviembre de 2012

Puerto Rico.- If Puerto Rico were a state it would have the highest homicide rate in the United States, more than doubling that of its nearest competitor, Louisiana, according to a report by the ACLU.

Puerto Rico’s out-of-control violence tallied a record-breaking 1,136 murders in 2011.

Unfortunately Héctor Camacho’s death reminds us of the staggering numbers.

His death was sudden. Camacho, 50, was shot in the face while he sat in a car with a friend, 49-yearold Adrian Mojica Moreno in his hometown of Bayamon, Puerto Rico last Tuesday.

The bullet fractured his vertebrae and was lodged in his shoulder when he was taken to the Puerto Rico Medical Center. The friend, Moreno, was also killed.

On Friday, the boxer’s mother, Maria Matas told reporters outside of the hospital she had decided doctors should remove life support, but only after his three sons arrived in Puerto Rico on Saturday to see him one last time.

“I lost my son three days ago. He’s alive only because of a machine,” Matas said Friday. “My son is not alive. My son is only alive for the people who love him,” she added.

His death was reported by Dr. Ernesto Torres, the director of the Centro Médico trauma center in Puerto Rico, who said Camacho had a heart attack and died a short time later after being taken off life support.

He was pronounced dead at 1:45 a.m. (AST)

The police said that two men fled the scene in a sport utility vehicle but that no arrests had been made.

Police spokesman Alex Diaz said officers found nine small bags of cocaine in the friend’s pocket and a 10th bag open inside the car.

Despite his life struggles with substance abuse, in the ring Camacho was a boxing promoters dream.

The ever-poised, fiery product of New York’s Spanish Harlem fought all the greats during his boxing career.

He knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard, defeated Roberto Duran twice and challenged Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad during his decorated career.

“He excited boxing fans around the world with his inimitable style,” promoter Don King told The Associated Press.

Camacho was at the epicenter of boxing heyday and fought in 88 professional bouts from 1980 to 2010, his record stands at 70 wins (45 by KO), six losses and three draws. He held major championships in the super featherweight (WBC, 1983), lightweight (WBC, 1985), and junior welterweight (WBO, 1989 and 1991) divisions.

 

Dennis M. Ayotte, Jr. is a reporter for La Prensa de San Antonio.  He may be reached at dayotte@laprensasa.com.

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