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Hector Camacho: 1962—: Boxer

Lightning Speed

When Camacho was 14 he began working with Robert Lee Velez, an ex-gang member who had also spent time in jail as a youth. Velez, then 38 years old, had become a butcher and moonlighted in his spare time as a boxing instructor. Impressed after seeing Camacho box, Velez began coaching him, turning the teenager from a slugger into a finesse boxer, and teaching him to use strategy along with his lightning speed to his advantage.

Camacho began attending Manhattan High School, a school for troubled kids who were too disruptive in regular high schools. There he received support and guidance from Pat Flannery, a language-arts teacher. When Camacho arrived at the school at the age of 15, he was basically illiterate. Flannery became his mentor, teacher, and father figure. He taught him how to read and helped him clear up his nearly unintelligible diction. At first Flannery discouraged Camacho's dreams of becoming a boxer, but when the boy persisted, Flannery supplied him with boxing shoes and helped him sign up for the Golden Gloves competition. It was Flannery who came up with the nickname "Macho Camacho." In 1982, with an amateur record of 96-4, Camacho quit school during his junior year to pursue a full-time boxing career.

During 1980 Camacho fought twice, winning both matches. During 1981 he stepped up his schedule, entering the ring ten times and winning all, half by KOs. In December of 1981 he beat Blaine Dickson in New York City in a 12-round contest to take the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) junior lightweight title (super-feather weight). In 1982 Camacho successfully defended his NABF junior lightweight title three times. During that year Camacho began to fight outside of New York, with bouts in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. His bout with Johnny Sato in August of 1982 earned him space in Sports Illustrated, which noted that Camacho has "the purist's blend of artistry and speed, and only occasionally reverts to some of the less refined moves he learned in the streets. He has been known to hit on the break and has a knack for spinning an opponent and then whacking him from behind." Camacho's flashy style in and out of the ring made him a prime candidate for television, and CBS booked him for six bouts that were nationally televised, greatly increasing Camacho's name recognition.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Katie Burke (1953–) Biography - Personal to Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944) BiographyHector Camacho: 1962—: Boxer Biography - Born To Fight, Car Theft And Prison, Lightning Speed, Won Titles, Later Career Wins And Losses