Book Review: Macho Time The Meteoric Rise and Tragic Fall of Hector Camacho
By Chris Akers
Boxing is seen as an escape for so many who choose to participate in the ring. However, the very nature of the sport means that it can be hard for fighters to leave behind any troubles that they were witness to or were part of while growing up. Instead of leaving the streets, the streets can follow fighters into their professional careers.
This can manifest itself in many ways: drug use, wastefulness of money, an entourage of people who come from the same area they have left and so on.
In many ways, this was a problem for Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho. A gifted southpaw with very fast hands and feet and good combinations.
Camacho like a lot of talents seemed certain to achieve the heights his talent warranted. Even Sugar Ray Leonard waxed lyrical about him while co-commenting for HBO.
Yet despite winning world titles at 130, 135 & 140, Camacho’s career seems underwhelming. Although he won world titles in three different weight divisions, the sense with Camacho is that he could and should have achieved more.
Macho Time: The Meteoric Rise and Tragic Fall of Hector Camacho by Christian Giudice (published by Hamilcar Publications) is a tale of a fighter who, regardless of his talents and his achievements, struggled with his past and as a result, that had a big effect on the present outside of the ring and eventually was reflected in his performances.
His flamboyance and extrovert personality seemed to mask the problems he was going through with promoters and significant others.
Eventually, the investment into their career a boxer puts in will manifest itself in later years. Due to a lack of effort, failing to take advice, and issues such as drug and alcohol abuse as well as relationships bust-ups, Camacho’s skills declined quickly. By only his late twenties, he was not the fighter he once was. His inner torment and outer debauchery peeled off his skills like a matryoshka doll.
Despite a mother who loved him, a son who needed his attention, and women who cared for him, Camacho continued to live an at times hedonic lifestyle and lack maturity. This is turn had a deep impact on the relationships with the aforementioned people. The places he took his son and the things he told him to do to teach him how to be a man are disturbing.
‘Macho’ also seemed to be a man who was a lost boy struggling to find his roots. Weirdly, his life at times seemed to resemble an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? – whether in trying to authenticate his Puerto Rican heritage to the boxing world or in the numerous people that he dismissed from his boxing circle,
Giudice does a very good job of describing not only what Macho achieved in the ring, but also the wasted potential of his career. His passing and the way it occurred won’t be a surprise to readers by the time they reach the end of the book.
A fascinating story, but one in which you are left with a sense of a career that should have been more than it was.