SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Former champion boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho was seriously wounded Tuesday in a shooting outside the Puerto Rican capital, and doctors and his spokesman said he was expected to survive.
At least one gunman opened fire on the 50-year-old Camacho and another man as they sat in a car in the city of Bayamon. The other man, whose relationship to the former boxer wasn’t immediately known, was killed, according to a statement from police.
Camacho was rushed to Centro Medico, the trauma center in San Juan, where he was in critical but stable condition, Dr. Ernesto Torres, the hospital director, told reporters.
The bullet apparently struck him in the jaw but exited his head and lodged in his right shoulder and fractured two vertebrae, Torres said. The doctor said the boxer, who was trailed by drug and alcohol problems during a career that included some high-profile bouts, was at risk of paralysis from the shooting.
Camacho representative Steve Tannenbaum said he was told by friends at the hospital that the boxer would make it. “This guy is a cat with nine lives. He’s been through so much,” he said. “If anybody can pull through it will be him.”
The fighter’s last title bout came against then-welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya in 1997, a loss by unanimous decision. Tannenbaum said he was going to fight two years ago in Denmark until his opponent pulled out and that they were looking at a possible bout in 2013.
“We were talking comeback even though he is 50,” he said. “I felt he was capable of it.”
Camacho was born in Bayamon, one of the cities that make up the San Juan metropolitan area. He won super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s.
Camacho has fought other high-profile bouts in his career against Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez and Sugar Ray Leonard. Camacho knocked out Leonard in 1997, ending what was that former champ’s final comeback attempt.
Camacho has a career record of 79-5-3, with his most recent fight coming in 2009.
Drug, alcohol and other problems have trailed Camacho since the prime of his boxing career. He was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in prison for the burglary of a computer store in Mississippi. While arresting him on the burglary charge in January 2005, police also found the drug ecstasy.
A judge eventually suspended all but one year of the sentence and gave Camacho probation. He wound up serving two weeks in jail, though, after violating that probation.
Twice his wife filed domestic abuse complaints against him, and she filed for divorce several years ago.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)