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Doctors: 'Macho' Camacho is clinically 'brain dead'

9:07 AM, Nov 22, 2012   |    comments
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Doctors say famed Puerto Rican boxer Hector 'Macho' Camacho is clinically "brain dead" after being shot in the face.

Dr. Ernesto Torres said at a news conference Thursday that doctors are still performing tests on Camacho before meeting with his family. Torres had said late Wednesday that Camacho was showing irregular and intermittent brain activity.

The 50-year-old Camacho was shot as he and a friend sat in a Ford Mustang parked outside a bar Tuesday night. Police spokesman Alex Diaz has said officers found nine small bags of cocaine in the friend's pocket, and a 10th bag open inside the car.

Doctors initially said Camacho was in critical but stable condition and was expected to survive after he was shot Tuesday night in his hometown of Bayamon. But his condition worsened overnight and his heart stopped at one point, said Dr. Ernesto Torres, director of the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan.

"We just have to wait to see if 'Macho' gets better. It's a hard battle," Ismael Leandry, a longtime friend and former manager who was at the hospital, told the AP.

Torres said Camacho's mother, Maria Matias, spent about 20 minutes with her son, one of the most dynamic boxing personalities of his era, and was expected to return for a second visit Wednesday night.

"His mother came, and she is devastated," he said. "She knows the prognosis is not at all favorable."

A godson, Widniel Adorno, said the family had discussed the possibility of organ donation but no final decision had been made.

Camacho's friend, identified as 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno, was killed in the incident. Police said two assailants fled in an SUV, but no arrests had been made and no motive had been disclosed.

Camacho was rushed to Centro Medico, where doctors initially said the bullet passed through his jaw and lodged in his shoulder. Torres said the bullet damaged three of the four main arteries in Camacho's neck and broke two vertebrae, which could leave him paralyzed if he were to survive.

Friends and family members waited anxiously at the hospital, fondly recalling Camacho's high-energy personality and his powerful skills in the ring.

"He was like a little brother who was always getting into trouble," said former featherweight champion Juan Laporte, a fellow Puerto Rican who grew up and trained with Camacho in New York.

Camacho has been considered one of the more controversial figures in boxing but also popular among fans and those who worked in the sport.

"The Macho Man was a promoter's dream," renowned promoter Don King told the AP. "He excited boxing fans around the world with his inimitable style. He was a nice, amiable guy away from the ring."

King had promoted Camacho but was caught off guard by news of the attack on the former champion. "What a tragedy this is," he said. "I'm very sorry for Hector and his family. My prayers go out to him."

The fighter's last title bout came against then-welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya in 1997, a loss by unanimous decision. He last fought in May 2010, losing to Saul Duran. Tannenbaum said 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 left Puerto Rico as a child and grew up mostly in New York's Harlem neighborhood, one of the reasons he later earned the nickname "the Harlem Heckler."

He went on to win super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s.

Camacho has fought in other high-profile bouts in his career

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