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Boxing | International

Cocaine found on Macho's friend



Nine small bags of cocaine were found on the man who was killed next to Hector Camacho on Wednesday.

A tenth bag was found open inside the car, police said on Thursday, adding that two assailants had fled in a sports utility vehicle. No arrests have been made and no motive has been disclosed.

The 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno and 50-year-old Camacho, who was critically wounded, were outside a bar in a parked Ford Mustang in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, when they were shot.

Police spokesman Alex Diaz said officers found cocaine in Mojica's pocket.

"Macho" Camacho was clinging to life on Wednesday night. Doctors and his family were expected to decide whether to remove the former champion from life support.

Doctors initially said Camacho was expected to survive after he was shot in his hometown of Bayamon. But his condition worsened overnight and his heart stopped at one point, said Dr Ernesto Torres.

"He's battling minute to minute. This is the most important fight of his life," Torres said, adding that doctors were trying to determine Camacho’s level of brain activity.

Specialists would then consult with other doctors and Camacho's mother, who flew in from New York, to discuss whether he should be removed from life support, said Ismael Leandry, a long-time friend and former manager.

MOTHER ‘DEVASTATED’

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 on Wednesday night.

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

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

Torres said the bullet damaged three of the four main arteries in his neck and fractured two vertebrae, which could leave him paralysed 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.

ALWAYS GETTING INTO TROUBLE

"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 was considered one of the more controversial figures in boxing, but was also popular among fans and those who worked in the sport.

"The Macho Man was a promoter's dream," renowned promoter Don King said. "He excited 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. "What a tragedy this is," he said. "I'm very sorry for Hector and his family. My prayers go out to him."

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 neighbourhood, 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.

In recent years, he has divided his time between Puerto Rico and Florida, appearing regularly on Spanish-language television and reality shows.

In San Juan, he had been living in the beach community of Isla Verde, where he would obligingly pose for photos with tourists who recognised him on the street, said former professional boxer Victor Callejas, a neighbour and friend.

"We all know what Macho Camacho has done, but in the last couple of months he has not been in any trouble," Callejas said. "He has been taking it easy. He's been upbeat."

Drugs, alcohol and other problems have trailed Camacho since the prime of his boxing career.



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