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“He's everything I'd thought he'd be,” - Louie Burke after being stopped by

Hector " Macho" Camacho in five rounds in Atlantic City.

Excerpted from KO June 1985

THE MACHO MAN'S whole game is based on one element: motion. The motion of his fists, the motion of his feet, and now the motion of his emotion. Watch Hector Camacho move in the ring. The steps are small, and while the bounce is nowhere near as fluid or beautiful as Muhammad All's, for Camacho's purposes, it's better. Watch Camacho move right and then left, never ashamed to walk away from a particularly violent exchange or grab his onrushing opponent and start all over again. He fights on his terms, when he wants. Watch Hector create that unique Latin street beat by rat-tat- tatting on his man's head and then, in mid-assault, changing angles and rat- tat-tatting some more. Watch Hector Camacho at all times. He moves so much, you just might lose him.

Constant motion.

And emotion. Watch Hector Camacho, everybody's friend, poolside at a Las Vegas hotel, puckishly slapping rumps, smiling in the sunlight, posing radiantly for every Instamatic, joking about the woman he turned down this morning, the woman he made last night, the woman he wants tonight. Watch Camacho the city rat toughen up in Spanish Harlem as he talks nasty and tough about manager Billy Giles, who said last year that his former fighter was "drowning in drugs." And watch The Macho Man on national television in Atlantic City, resting his little boy head on the shoulder of CBS' Tim Ryan and crying the most famous jock tears since Mary Decker at the Olympics.

"I just hope everybody keeps supporting me and stays my friend because I need friends," Camacho told Ryan and then broke down. Is Hector Camacho vulnerable manchild or genuine Macho Man?

“I was caught off-guard because I wasn't working with a monitor and I couldn't see what was going on until he put his head on my shoulder," said Ryan. "It was an awkward moment, but a human one. When I realized he was weeping, I knew was a culmination of his feelings for the events of thepast eight months. He felt isolated from the people he could trust. He was vulnerable. He had come back, he had won, he had looked good. All that on his mind caught up with him."

The motion and emotion of Hector Camacho. The former dazzles his opponents; all 25 have left the ring dazed and dizzy. The latter keeps both him and us off balance and sets up the next chapter, whatever that will bring.

ON AUGUST 7, 1983, Hector Camacho, perhaps the hottest boxer in the fight game, kayoed Bazooka Limon to win the vacant WBC super featherweight title. It should have been the beginning of the second phase of the Camacho success

Lightning" Brown last July, never strays from a style that

perfectly complements quick counterpunchers like

Camacho. When The Macho Man was rising in the early-

'80s, Giles matched him intelligently with brass knuckle

types like Johnny Sato, Louie Loy, and John Montes Jr., and

most of Camacho's nationally televised performances were

spectacular. Harold Weston Jr., the Garden's matchmaker,

realized a similar strategy was now necessary. This was no

time for Camacho to look average.

"Burke leads with his face," said one observer, perfectly

summing up the matchup.

Armed with courage, conditioning, determination,

aggressiveness, and a dependable chin, Burke was

nevertheless overmatched. That's because Camacho, 25 0

(15), had the answer: speed and, of course, motion.

Looking very much like The Macho Man of 1981 to 1983,

Camacho demonstrated his boxing skills from round one,

catching the willing Burke with continual combinations. It

was at the start of round two, when Camacho opted to stand

still and play one of his macho games, that the former

champion marked the bout with his unique signature. There

they were in ring center, trading furiously, when southpaw

Camacho stepped in with an overhand left. Burke, the

victim of a blow he never saw, unceremoniously craStied to

the floor.

Burke rebounded and refused to slow his wide, desperate

attack. With Camacho resting—he appeared to tire fairly

quickly and easily in this bout—Burke may have carried the

Fighting more flatfooted, Camacho punched with more power. His sizzling third round. But the blood on the bridge of his nose and the

combinations bruised and floored Burke. mouse threatening the line of vision of his left eye told

much more than the judges' pens. Camacho sped through

story. Instead, it was almost the end of it all. Camacho two separate all-out assaults in the fourth and finished the

made one defense, stopping Rafael Solis three months fifth with a pair of straight lefts that convinced referee Larry

later, and then hibernated for the rest of the winter. He Hazzard to institute one of New Jersey's new rules, a

fought only once in 1984, knocking out Panama's difficult standing eight count. The bell rang as soon as Hazzard's

Rafael Williams in the seventh round of a non-title fight. fingers stopped flashing in front of Burke's battered eyes,

Then, either because he didn't want to fight for promoter but the inspection was just beginning. Dr. Frank B. Doggett

Don King, or because he could no longer comfortably examined Burke's face in the corner and decided to close

reduce to 130 pounds, he relinquished his crown. Soon the curtain.

after, he began feuding with longtime manager-trainer Billy "I loved my performance," Camacho said. "I needed

Giles, who made the now famous drug accusation. someone like Burke to come to me and make me move and

Suddenly, boxing was the furthest thing from The Macho do my little tricks that I haven't done in a while. I feel

Man's spinning head. strong. Everything went 100 percent."

In an explanation that at first might seem contradictory, It was true: Camacho had been sharp in his return, and

Camacho said that during his layoff, he felt like taking time he appeared to carry the 135 pounds well. But not all

off and fooling around with the girls and, as a result, lightweights were going to be as easy or made-to-order as

suffered through the worst period of his life. He played Burke had been. It was anticipated that Camacho's next

footsie with several managers and promoters who desired test would come against young powerpuncher Juan Ramon

his services, trained intermittently, and heard all the Cruz or slick speedster Darryl Tyson. After that, because of

rumors. Was drugs the reason for the suddenly haphazard The Macho Man's marketability, it would be time for a

motion and emotion? Was that the reason Hector Camacho world title try. Which champion? Camacho just might have

buzzed from station to station at 78 rpm while the rest of LIS his pick. Three titlists, three different promoters. Bob Arum

cruised at 45? has indicated that Camacho versus IBF champion Harry

"Drugs, liquor, women, people talk a lot, but that's all it Arroyo would be a fine midsummer attraction. Don King has

is —talk," said veteran Los Angelino Jimmy Montoya, who hinted that Camacho versus WBC king Jose Luis Ramirez

Camacho finally chose as his new trainer. (Carnacho's would sell a few seats and interest a few networks. (King

managerial contract with Giles expires in May.) "In all my has apparently convinced the Macho Man, because

years in boxing, I've never seen a fightPr who works harder Camacho has signed with King, and a Ramirez bout is

or who's in better condition." tentatively set for June.) And Dan Duva, though

The words were Wonderful, but we wanted to see for understandably preoccupied with WBA titlist Livingstone

ourselves. Get Camacho in the ring and we'll be the judges. Bramble's defense against Ray Mancini, isn't likely to much

Carnacho's rush to the lightweight title began with a longer ignore a money match like Camacho-Bramble. How

CBS-te-?y,seci battle against Alt), muercluo. New MOXiCO, would 1 he Macho Man fare against these three very

Lowe Burke, 19-2 (12), In d bout promoted by different opponents?

Square Garden. Burke, the loser in a close and • Harry Arroyo: Camacho-Arroyo. It sounds better on

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Will pamacho finally reach the stardom at lightweight that was predicted for him when he was a junior lightweight? The

Macho Man will probably compete for one of the three lightweight titles in 1985.

lightweight counterpunchers in the business, and while Camacho by unanimous decision.

their styles are hardly identical, there would be little offered • Livingstone Bramble: For Camacho, the most difficult

for each to work off. George needed Gracie, and Abbott foe of the three. Bramble moves forward behind a good jab

wasn't very funny without Costello. With neither fighter and can battle southpaw if the need arises. There would be

leading, who would get to deliver the punchlines? no Louie Burke-like rushes for Camacho to counter against

Arroyo's advantages would be height and reach, stamina, in this rumble. The WBA champion is also an excellent

and, perhaps, punching power. Camacho would have an counterpuncher, should Camacho decide to initiate the

edge in speed, defense, and movement. Arroyo has been action. And don't expect to ever see Bramble lose a bout

all-too-proficient in giving away early rounds, and the Macho because of fatigue.

Man would assume an early lead. Then what? What would No, Bramble isn't a Superman. Make him wrestle along

happen after five rounds? Because of his ability to strike and the ropes or exchange chest-to-chest and he becomes

either retreat out of range or clinch unashamedly, Camacho unpredictable and occasionally sloppy. But unless

would eventually force Arroyo, behind on points, to come Camacho drastically alters his style, that's not the Macho

forward. Speed burns, and Arroyo would begin to taste Man's way. Camacho's best chance would be to utilize

Camacho's full arsenal. In the end, the difference would be side-to-side movement, allow Bramble to chase him, and

Camacho's ability to determine the pace. Arroyo's finest pick his moments to score with those flashy flurries, much

virtue, patience, will cost him the decision and the fight. like he did against another taller, heady boxer, Cubanito

• Jose Luis Ramirez: Certainly the champion with the Perez. The 15-round distance would favor the stronger

style most likely to complement Camacho, but also the most Bramble. We call this one a pick 'em affair.

dangerous. Ramirez, a fellow southpaw, is a harder puncher In analyzing his chances against the lightweight

than either Arroyo or Bramble. And he has the scars of champions, we have considered the variables and

several wars to prove that he is at least as resilient. More circumstances of the Burke fight and decided that Hector

than a few boxing observers still question Camacho's chin, Camacho remains near his best. Suffice to say that a

and if it is indeed a weakness, this Mexican might just Camacho fighting at less than 100 per cent—physically or

knock The Macho Man into the eighth row. In fact, in the mentally—would not dethrone any of these three titlists.

"Head To Head" feature of last month's KO, three of the Motion and emotion. For Camacho to be the Macho Man,

four panelists selected Ramirez over Camacho, citing the he needs to control them as he has never controlled them

Mexican's superior strength and power. We disagree. before. History tells us that in recent years, more than one

exquisitely talented young fighter has abused his prime,

Ramirez is simply too slow and immobile to steamroll

wasted God's gifts, and spun himself into the ground and

Carnacho. The challenger would score almost at will, hut

wisely never trade toe to-toe long enough to feel Ram irez's then under. Toward the end of 1984, Camacho was against

hammers. It wouldn't be the prettiest win, with Camacho the ropes, dizzy and reeling, the target of blows he could


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