By T.K. Stewart
When the news streamed across the information super highway earlier this week that former boxing champion Hector Camacho, Sr. was being sought by police and then was subsequently arrested for burglary and drug possession it meant that he had finally come full circle. Camacho grew up on the crime ridden streets of Spanish Harlem in New York, had fathered a child by the age of 15 and bragged that he had once chased a man down Harlem’s Third Avenue with a sawed-off shotgun. In between those days and now he reached perhaps the penultimate of his sport by becoming a well-known prizefighter who often times earned several million dollars per fight, won titles in multiple weight divisions and defeated some of the best fighters that three decades had to offer. Camacho was an elite fighter and popular in the mainstream sports world for his flamboyant behavior and flashy ring attire. At one time in the not too distant past, the “Macho Man” was a millionaire, resided in multi-million dollar homes and fought big name fighters from Sugar Ray Leonard to Oscar De La Hoya. Camacho had gotten about as far away from his breeding ground as was possible.
However, they say you can take the kid out of the street, but not the street out of the kid, and this week that axiom was proven true again. Nearly 25 years after he debuted (to great fanfare) as a professional boxer, the Hector Camacho story turned much more sinister and dark. The reports said the 42 year-old Camacho was being sought by the Biloxi, Mississippi police department for the December 2, 2004 burglary of a Gulfport, Mississippi computer business. The evidence pointed toward Camacho, and late this week the Biloxi police got their man. When the boys in blue finally got the cuffs on the elusive “Macho Man”, he was holed up in a $35 a night hotel room at the Imperial Palace hotel and casino in Biloxi. Keeping him company in the room was a small stash of illegal pills called Ecstasy.
The mighty had fallen. Literally. It is alleged that Camacho broke into the computer business called ZDI Computer Center by crashing down through the ceiling tiles and into the business. Owners Solomon and Samantha Wheeler discovered their business had been broken into and ransacked. Someone had stolen seven laptop computers and cash. "Whoever did this had to have held himself up on the rafters to move through the building. It looks like the burglar fell right through the ceiling", said Mr. Wheeler.
Pictures taken by the Wheelers showed blood splattered on computers and walls. But here's the part that bothered the Wheelers the most - there was urine soaking parts of Mrs. Wheeler's office. "He actually peed in my fax machine, and down around the carpet," Mrs. Wheeler said. Her husband then continued with the lurid details. "The only thing we could think of was maybe he fell through the ceiling and urinated in the process, because everything from about head level down in that corner was soiled upon, and I had to clean that up. It was quite disgusting."
The desperate motivation as to what drove a possible future hall-of-fame inductee and grandfather to crash through ceiling tiles and steal laptop computers is only known to him. But clearly, the millions of dollars that Hector Camacho earned over the past twenty-five years have been siphoned away by a lifestyle void of self-control. Over the past two and a half decades there have been sporadic, and often times sensational reports relating to Camacho that would surface in the press and on the gossip pages. Erratic behavior, cocaine possession and domestic violence charges have all drifted within the aura that is Hector Camacho. Perhaps the most sensational charge was that of being pulled over by a policeman while having sex with a woman perched atop his lap while he was at the wheel of his Ferrari.
Customarily, Camacho would come into the ring prior to his bouts to the cheers or jeers of thousands of people. Camacho is still a polarizing figure within the sport of boxing and he is either loved or hated with very few fans that reside in the middle. Hector was always adorned in flashy robes with matching sequined shoes and trunks, and he and his followers would chant “It’s Macho Time!”
All the stories and antics over the years have added to the folklore and reputation of the “Macho Man”. But this week, as he was led from the Harrison County jailhouse in handcuffs appearing bloated and bleary-eyed, it was evident that Spanish Harlem was a long way from Biloxi, Mississippi and that the sands in "Macho Time" hourglass had run out.