Hector Camacho Sr, who was just critically wounded by a drive-by shooting, will be eligible for the IBHOF in 3 more years. Although "Macho" Camacho's skills began to erode in the early 1990s, he didn't have his final fight until 2010 when he dropped a decision to Saul Duran. Considering the Duran fight came 30 years after Camacho debuted, no one cares that Macho lost. To be honest no one should really care about any of his losses from the 1994 Felix Trinidad fight onward. I don't care that he just beat Sugar Ray Leonard before he fought Oscar De La Hoya in 1997. Leonard was nearly 41 years old and hadn't fought since getting his butt whooped by Terry Norris 6 years earlier.
However, whether or not you recognize Macho's greatness should come down to how much you respect his wins rather than criticizing his losses. Camacho was given split decision victories over the likes of Edwin Rosario, Ray Mancini, and Greg Haugen. Anyone who actually agrees with all those verdicts would be highly irrational to deny Camacho enshrinement at Canastota's boxing hall of fame. Obviously those wins alone don't merit the hall of fame, but when you group them with the rest of Macho's resume, there is no doubt. And without further ado, I present my 10 reasons:
1) Defining all of Hector Camacho's world titles is a bit complicated. I suppose most would say he's a 4 time world champion in 3 weight classes. He won the vacant WBC super featherweight title against Rafael Limon in 1983, the WBC lightweight title from Jose Luis Ramirez in 1985, the vacant WBO light welterweight title against Ray Mancini in 1989, and the WBO light welterweight title again from Greg Haugen in 1991. In Camacho's later years he additionally picked up International Boxing Council (IBC) titles in the welterweight, middleweight, and junior middleweight divisions. Do I recognize the IBC? No. But no one recognized the WBO when Camacho held their title in the junior welterweight division, either. Now they do. So who knows what the history books will read 100 years from now when I'm long dead. No matter how they want to look at it, it's still a feat very few fighters have ever accomplished. I'm fairly sure there are currently less than 40 fighters that have been major world champions in 3 different weight divisions. From eyeing the following list composed by Wikipedia, most of the ones not yet in the hall of fame are expected to make it once they become eligible. And can you honestly rate Hector Camacho below any of the ones unlikely to get in?
2) Camacho retired with a record of 79 wins, 6 losses, and 3 draws (2 of which were technical and could have easily been no contests in other states). In those 88 fights over his 30 year career he fought big to monstrous punchers the likes of Rafael Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez, Edwin Rosario, Ray Mancini, Julio Cesar Chavez, Felix Trinidad, and Oscar De La Hoya. Whether he was in his prime or shot to pieces NOONE ever stopped the Macho Man. 30 years. 88 fights. Fought the best. Never stopped. To be honest I don't think anyone can say this. Harry Stone might have had 220 fights without ever being stopped but he didn't last 30 years and he damn sure didn't fight the level of opposition that Camacho did. For James Toney or Bernard Hopkins to break this record both will need to fight until 2018. Hopefully both retire and get into the hall of fame on the 1st ballot before then. They won't actually retire that "soon", but I hope they do...
3) Camacho defeated at least 9 former, current, or future world champions: Rafael Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez, Edwin Rosario, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Ray Mancini, Vinny Pazienza, Greg Haugen, Roberto Duran, and Sugar Ray Leonard. Granted Camacho beat better non-champions than the heavily faded versions of Duran and Leonard, Camacho was still pretty faded himself and naturally smaller. It also helps that Duran and Leonard are arguably among the 10 greatest fighters ever.
4) Camacho gave 5 fighters their first loss: Louis Loy, Melvin Paul, Greg Coverson, Irleis Perez, and Gary Kirkland. None were legitimate world champions but you have to at least respect Paul and Perez. Paul would later narrowly fall short of winning the IBF lightweight title against Charlie "Choo Choo" Brown while Perez would have the same luck against Jimmy Paul for the exact same title...
5) Generally fighters that start as young and last as long as Camacho don't have substantial amateur careers. Camacho on the other hand compiled an amateur record of 96 wins and 4 losses with 3 New York Golden Gloves championships and 2 Intercity Golden Gloves championships. Amateur credentials do influence hall of fame inductions. How else do you think Laszlo Papp got in?
6) Edwin Rosario is already in the hall of fame. A quick look over Rosario's resume will tell you he's less accomplished than Camacho and Camacho beat him. So I suppose this comes down to whether or not you agreed with that decision if you can support Rosario in the hall and not Camacho. Personally I scored the fight 116-113 Macho but find a 115-113 Rosario card perfectly reasonable. I thought rounds 3, 4, 7 and 8 could have gone either way. I scored them Camacho, Rosario, Camacho, and even respectively. Either way I felt the fight was close enough that I would respect the decision even if I thought Rosario won. But while we're on the subject of relevant questionable decisions that Camacho got, let's keep it real on the Ray Mancini and Greg Haugen fights. Camacho should have won all of them (including the 1st Haugen fight that he officially lost due to the bogus point deduction in the last round). But feel free to disagree...
7) As Camacho represents Puerto Rico it's important whether or not he lowers the bar for his nation. Can you honestly tell me Jose Torres is a greater fighter? I think not... While Camacho may have gone life and death with the likes of a prime Edwin Rosario, Torres did the same with 40 year old Eddie Cotton. I also scored the fight for Cotton as did the great Joe Louis who was on commentary that night. Will Eddie Cotton ever get into the hall of fame? No!
8) Before Camacho was about 157 years old in boxing years he had only clearly lost to Julio Cesar Chavez Sr (arguably Mexico's greatest fighter of all time), Felix Trinidad, and Oscar De La Hoya. Chavez got into the hall of fame on the first ballot and Trinidad and De La Hoya most likely will too. Camacho fought all of them in their best weight class (or at least the one they get the most acclaim for). Camacho on the other hand peaked in the lightweight division. The point is the deck was stacked against him.
9) Five out of six of Camacho's first round KOs came at lightweight or below. Two of the five came against legitimate contenders Refugio Rojas and John Montes. Camacho was the only fighter to stop Rojas or Montes in 1 round. Pernell Whitaker, Julio Cesar Chavez, Rocky Lockridge, and Edwin Rosario all failed to replicate.
10) Camacho's extended resume includes the likes of Howard Davis Jr and Tony Baltazar. Each easily could have been a world champion if they followed a different career route or just had better luck. More importantly they're just better than some of the faded world former champions that Camacho beat. Ultimately Camacho defeated over a dozen credible fighters that boxing fans should know and respect. Now go look at hall of famer Barry McGuigan's resume and tell me if you can come up with half of that.
Previous Editions of 10 Reasons:
10 Reasons why Arturo Gatti will make the Hall of Fame
10 Reasons why Pongsaklek Wonjongkam should make the Hall of Fame