‘Macho’ Camacho Cold Case Collapses As Witness Flees Island
Hector "Macho" Camacho was a legend in the ring before his 2012 murder outside a bar in Puerto Rico.
Jeffrey Asher/ Getty Images

A judge in Puerto Rico tossed charges against five suspects in the 2012 murder of world-famous boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho after a witness fled and the government’s case collapsed.

Camacho, who held world titles at three different weight classes and compiled a record of 79-6-3 in an illustrious 30-year career that began in 1980, was shot in the face in November 2012 outside a Puerto Rico bar. He died several days later. The case went unsolved for years, but recently five suspects were charged.

The charges were dropped after a star witness fled the island, although no further details were available. The suspects, who were arrested in March, included three men already serving time in Florida for unrelated crimes, a fourth who was arrested in the northern city of Bayamón, the same city where Camacho was killed, and a fifth suspect currently serving time in Puerto Rico. Two other suspects had since died. The arrests were announced with fanfare and dubbed “Operation Knockout,” as authorities sought to solve a cold case involving an island legend.

During his storied career, Camacho defeated such legends as Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Durán and also fought Julio Cesar Chavez and Oscar De La Hoya. He held the WBC super featherweight and lightweight titles, as well as the WBO junior welterweight belt.

Camacho was also notable for entering the ring garbed in flamboyant costumes, including feather crests and brightly colored robes.

“Camacho brought a lot of excitement to boxing. He was bright, colorful, and always gave something to talk about with his walks to the ring, with his unique style of entering, and the costumes he wore,” Ed Brophy, director of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, said at the time of his death, adding that Camacho was “an exciting fighter, and one of the greats.”

Camacho battled drug addiction and courted controversy throughout his career. He pleaded guilty to a 2005 burglary charge, was shot by carjackers in San Juan in 2011 and was awaiting trial in Florida for allegedly abusing his son when he was killed.

Camacho, 50, was fatally shot November 20, 2012, while he and a childhood friend, Adrian Mojica Moreno, were parked in a Ford Mustang outside a bar. Police reportedly found nine bags of cocaine in the car. Moreno died, and Camacho was clinically brain dead but remained on life support for several days before being flown to New York for burial.

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