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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hector Comacho: Same Old Story, Same Sad Ending

"Police said Camacho was shot in the left side of the face on Tuesday night as he sat in a black Ford Mustang with a friend, The Associated Press reported. The bullet fractured his vertebrae and was lodged in his shoulder when he was taken to the Puerto Rico Medical Center. The friend, Adrian Mojica Moreno, was also killed.
Police said two men fled the scene in a sport utility vehicle, but that no arrests had been made. They said nine bags of cocaine were found in Moreno’s pockets and a 10th was found open in the car. As a teenager Camacho was a brawler, a serial shoplifter, an admitted drug user and a car thief, and he never put that part of his nature behind him. He was arrested numerous times on various charges, among them domestic abuse, possession of a controlled substance, burglary and trying to take an M-16 rifle through customs. This year he turned himself in after a warrant was issued charging him with beating one of his sons. A trial was pending at the time of his death."

Hector Comacho died on Saturday. He was only 50. That is sad. Too young to die. But, he made his own luck. That is the sad fact of most former boxers. They live high while they are at the top, and they spiral downwards after they retire. That is a tired old story that plays out year after year.
Very few escape this cycle. The ones that do, usually figured it out while they were boxing and had planned their retirement long before it was over. The ones like Comacho can really only think in terms of boxing. Even at 50, Comacho was trying to still box. That is really all he knew, in terms of success in his life. 
Why did he get shot in that parking lot in San Juan, Puerto Rico?
Simply put, he was hanging around with drug dealers. Drug dealers get shot. That is reality. If you hang out with them, you will likely get shot too. 
Hector Comacho made more than enough money as a boxer to live the rest of his life just on that. Of course, that presumes that he would put some of that away. Again, with most boxers, they never do. They earn it, they spend it. Many keep fighting because they have to in order to survive financially. Comacho was no different. Some still fight because they miss it. Comacho also fell into that camp. Either way, they are doomed when they are like that. If they don't get killed by a drug deal,  or bad needle,  or tainted drugs, they will get punched to death, one punch at a time in the ring when they can't defend themselves anymore. We saw that with Muhammad Ali. Sadly. If not for the mercy shown by Larry Holmes that last time, Ali may have died in the ring that night. He was that over matched. That would have been a horrible spectacle to watch. Instead, he has died a slow, living death for another 30 plus years. Watching that fight turned me off of boxing. Not that night, but it was the start of that.

But Ali was hardly the only one who suffered that fate. Just the most glaring one in terms of how that affected him long term. Many have the exact same experience, but just aren't in the spotlight. Boxers simple have a very hard time accepting that they can't fight anymore,  and those that prey on them will keep sending them out there to milk them like a cow until they are bone dry, then discard them to the meat market of life when that becomes the reality.

Two of Comacho's main famous rivals were Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya. Those were two guys who had a plan for their post career and have had successful, uneventful lives after boxing. They are the other side of the coin. It can be done, but it is rare.
Nobody would have heard of Hector Comacho again if he hadn't gotten shot in that parking lot. His time in the sun was long over. The same exact fate happened to Arturo Gatti. He died in a hotel room in Brazil under very suspicious circumstances. It is a tale you hear over and over.

Mike Tyson became a train wreck. That is the only reason anyone cared about him anymore. It seems like he might be one of the few who hit rock bottom and might survive to live a good life, on some level.

The women, the fast cars, the expensive homes, the drugs, the parties, the fame, the mobsters. Shady promoters and managers, and a healthy dose of low education and lack of reason, added to a desire to hold on too long and then try and get it back once it has slipped away forever, and you have a recipe for a bullet with your name on it. 
That is a recipe, that sadly, Hector Comacho cooked up for himself. And in the next 20 or 30 years, there will be many more Hector Comacho's. Always has been, always will be. 

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