One of the most electrifying smaller weight fighters of the 1980s captured his first World Championship nearly 40 years ago in San Juan, Puerto Rico. That’s when, Hector “Macho” Camacho won the vacant WBC super Featherweight Title on August 7th, 1983, knocking out Rafael “Bazooka” Limon in the fifth round.
To set the stage, the unbeaten Camacho (21-0) was the number one ranked Contender by the WBC, when newly-crowned champion Bobby Chacon of California refused to come to terms and fight him.
Promoter Don King had been offering a hefty payday to Chacon to fight Camacho in San Juan in a fight that would be nationally televised on Saturday afternoon on CBS in the United States. When Chacon refused, the WBC stripped him of their 130 lbs. title.
And, they designated their former Champion, Limon, who had lost the title to Chacon in December of 1982 by controversial 15 round Split Decision, as the opponent for Camacho for the now vacant belt.
After the Mexican Limon agreed, the fight was set for Hiram Bithorne Stadium near downtown San Juan giving Camacho a decided raucous home country edge.
And, it was obvious from the outset that the young Puerto Rican sensation was too fast and too savvy for Limon.
After controlling the first two rounds with a steady straight left hand and right hooks behind it, Camacho scored his first knockdown of the fight with one second remaining in the third. He dropped Limon to his knees with a quick left on the chin. Referee Richard Steele counted to 8 after the Bell had rung and Limon went to his corner.
The former champion had recovered enough in the fourth round to survive, but clearly Camacho’s speedy combinations were presenting problems, and Limon struggled to hit Camacho with more than one punch at a time, every once in awhile.
That brought on the final round, the fifth, where Camacho scored a series of punches including a good left hook and short right to the body and Limon was down, again. He beat the count but Camacho rushed in and scored with a lightning flurry of lefts and rights. Then, another left hook sent Limon not only down, but through the ropes and onto the ring apron, with under :30 remaining.
Limon rose wearily, but Steele allowed the former champ one more chance. Camacho again rushed in, landed a couple of more solid lefts and Steele stopped the fight for a 5th round TKO.
Limon, who had won his first World Title fight in 1977, would go on to fight throughout the rest of the 80s and into the first part of the 1990s, including losing battles against Julio Cesar Chavez and Rodger Mayweather later in his career.
Camacho would go on to a 38-0 record before his first loss. It was part of a Hall of Fame career winning world titles in three weight divisions, while fighting and beating the likes of “Boom Boom” Mancini, “Sugar Ray” Leonard and Roberto Duran. He also lost to all time greats Julio Caesar Chavez and Oscar De La Hoya later in his career finishing 79-6-3.
Sadly, he was shot death in November of 2012 at the age of 50. Macho was inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame posthumously in 2016.
And, his first World Title win was August 7, 1983.