Life support decision divides Camacho family

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, November 24- The mother of Hector “Macho” Camacho, the Puerto Rican ring great declared brain dead after being shot, said he will be taken off life support, a move the ex-champion’s eldest son opposes.

Camacho’s mother, Maria Matias, said in a press conference that she has accepted the doctors’ verdict rendered Thursday that the three-time world champion was clinically brain-dead and could not recover.

She said the family would wait until Saturday, so that all of Camacho’s children will have a chance to say goodbye.

But Camacho’s eldest son, Hector Camacho jnr, insisted Friday night that “the fight is not over until the final round,” and that he believed Camacho should stay connected to the respirator keeping him alive.

“Doctors make mistakes. Men make mistakes. God does not make mistakes,” Camacho jnr said after visiting his father again at Centro Medico hospital in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. “He is a fighter and the fight will continue until the end.”

However, Camacho jnr acknowledged that the final decision would belong to Matias – “my grandmother, the woman who gave birth to my papa.”

Flanked by friends and family members, Matias told reporters that on Saturday she would do the only thing left she could do for her son.

“I lost my son three days ago,” she said in a firm and determined voice.

“He’s alive only because of a machine. My son is not alive. My son is only alive for the people who love him.”

She said that she had been told by one friend who had visited Camacho in hospital that he remained alive, that his legs had moved.

“But in reality, it’s electricity,” she said. “The reality is that my son has gone.”

Dr Ernesto Torres said Thursday morning that Camacho showed no sign of brain activity.

The 50-year-old ex-fighter was shot on Tuesday while in a car in San Juan outside a liquor store. The boxer’s driver, Alberto Mojica Moreno, 49, was killed in the shooting.

It was not immediately clear if they were deliberately targeted or simply caught up in a random act of violence. The bullet damaged three arteries in Camacho’s neck, crippling the flow of blood to his brain.

Camacho was one of the most colorful boxers of the 1980s, winning world titles at super lightweight, lightweight and light welterweight.

With a career record of 79-6-3 with 38 knockouts, he took on all comers, including big names Oscar De La Hoya, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sugar Ray Leonard, Felix Trinidad, Ray Mancini and Greg Haugen.

But battles with drugs and alcohol led to numerous brushes with the law outside the ring.

Earlier this year, US police charged him with child abuse for allegedly slamming his son into a floor at his ex-wife’s home in Florida.

Ismael Leandry, a friend and former manager and a key figure in Camacho’s ring career, told AFP that Puerto Rico’s secretary of recreation and sport, Henry Neumann, along with the boxing commission, were already preparing a tribute to the fighter.

While a public funeral could be held in Puerto Rico, some in the family have expressed a desire to see him buried in New York, where he spent much of his life.

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