In the ring, Camacho donned flamboyant outfits complemented by his signature over-the-forehead curl and gold jewelry. Outside the ring, he appeared on Puerto Rican variety shows like Super Sabado singing, dancing, and play fighting, After hanging up his gloves his showmanship morphed into a sort of Latino minstrel show, in part due to limited options available to men of color in general, but especially in sports and media. He appeared on reality and gossip shows including Univision¹s Mira Quien Baila and El Gordo y la Flaca. Earlier this year he starred in his own dating show web series, Es Macho Time!, where women "competed" over him.
How much of this was part of maintaining a certain lifestyle for himself and his family? He was proud of being able to support his four children, his siblings and his mother. "I love my mother - I love buying her things, I love giving her money," he was filmed saying in a recently-released tribute video.
Demons of crime, drugs, and violence followed Camacho throughout his personal life, both as victim and perpetrator. He did a short stint in jail as a teen for burglary and more recently was shot in a carjacking attempt in Puerto Rico in 2011. At the time of his death, he was awaiting trial for allegedly physically abusing one of his sons. But the demons didn't die with Camacho. The media in both the U.S. and Puerto Rico hungrily perpetuates the telenovela we all love to watch as a society feeds upon the clichés.
Meanwhile In El Barrio, the Bronx, and Bayamón, fans lined up to pay their final respects with a question lingering, can a Puerto Rican boxer ever rise to be the cultural hero that Muhammad Ali was or does the current state of sports and media relegate our own to be perpetual clowns in life and in death?
This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.