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    Hector Camacho, 50, attention-grabbing boxer

    Hector Camacho defeated “Sugar” Ray Leonard in 1997.
    Charles Rex Abrogast/Associated Press
    Hector Camacho defeated “Sugar” Ray Leonard in 1997.

    NEW YORK — Hector ­Camacho, a boxer known for his lightning-quick hands and flamboyant personality who emerged from a delinquent childhood in New York’s Spanish Harlem to become a world champion in three weight classes, died Saturday in San Juan after being shot while sitting in a parked car. He was 50.

    Mr. Camacho had a heart attack and died a short time later after being taken off life support.

    He was shot in the left side of the face Tuesday night, police said. The bullet fractured his vertebrae and was lodged in his shoulder when he was taken to the Puerto Rico Medical Center.


    Mr. Camacho, who was widely known as Macho Camacho, won titles as a super featherweight (maximum 130 pounds), a lightweight (135 pounds), and a junior welterweight (140 pounds). In his last title bout, at age 35 in 1997, he fought at 147 pounds and lost to the welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya.

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    Terrifically agile and fast afoot, Mr. Camacho was a precise, rapid-fire puncher and deft counterpuncher.

    ‘‘Not only quick, but accurate,’’ Sugar Ray Leonard said in 1982. He added: ‘‘I told him that people are always asking who’s going to take my place. I told him he could.’’

    Fifteen years later, Mr. ­Camacho, who was six years younger than Leonard, ended Leonard’s attempt to make a comeback at 40, knocking him out in the fifth round.

    As a teenager Mr. Camacho was a brawler, shoplifter, drug user, and a car thief.


    He won his first professional fight in 1980. His record was 79-6-3, with 38 knockouts.

    Mr. Camacho was married once and divorced.

    He leaves his mother; his ­father, Hector; five siblings; four sons, Hector Jr., Taylor, Christian, and Justin; and two grandsons. Hector Jr. is also a professional boxer.