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Camacho Jr. ‘pleased’ with win
Looking ahead to fight Fernando Vargas

Postfight report by David Finger
Photos by Chris Cozzone

It may not have been the most dazzling victory of his career, but after scoring a decisive decision over Mexican former champion Luis Ramon “Yuri Boy” Campas in El Paso, Texas this past Friday, Hector “Machito” Camacho Jr looks poised to make a serious run at another world title fight.

The fight was not without a fair amount of controversy.

First was the issue of the scales. Weighing in at 5 1/2 pounds over the junior middleweight limit, Camacho lost his WBC CABOFE light middleweight title before the opening bell. Many observers openly questioned the accuracy of the weights used by the Texas commission because nearly half the fighters on the card weighed in heavy.

This was not the start Camacho wanted for what was the biggest fight of his career since his HBO bout against Jesse James Leija.

Then came the three point deductions from referee Lawrence Cole. Camacho was deducted three points by the referee. A point for a low blow in round three, a point for a punch after the bell in round four and a point for holding in round ten. The fight was at times dirty, but many ringside observers felt that Cole was unfairly penalizing Camacho.

A replay showed that the low blow that cost Camacho a point in third round did not even land near the cup while the point taken in the final round for holding seemed a gross injustice since Camacho didn’t seem to hold all that much in the contest up to that point.

Finally came the scoring. Although the three point deductions made the fight closer, most of the press and the crowd felt that Camacho had won comfortably. But when judge Raul Valencia’s scorecard read 95-92 for Campas it looked like Camacho would leave El Paso the loser of a highly controversial decision. It was enough to prompt a scuffle in the ring between Camacho and members of Campas’ camp.

In the end Camacho did walk out with a spilt decision victory - judges Rocky Burke and Levi Martinez each scored the bout 96-91 and 95-92 for Camacho - and a prospective fight against former junior middleweight champion Fernando Vargas.

Camacho spoke with FightNews after the fight in the lobby of the historic El Camino Real Hotel.

“It wasn’t my best performance,” commented Camacho, “But I was pleased with the win. I was fighting Yuri Boy, Texas, and the crowd too!”

Camacho also didn’t pull punches when describing that Texas boxing commission either.

“I was focused on each round, round by round,” Camacho stated when asked if he though he got a fair shake, “My corner told me, ‘f—k the referee, fight your fight. But he (referee Cole) called shots low and I saw it on the screen (over the ring) that it was nowhere near low.”

Although some onlookers felt that referee Cole was bias toward his officiating of Camacho, many also felt that Camacho made the fight tougher than he should have. It was not the dominant performance that he promised.

“I think I went in a little too heavy,” Camacho admitted afterwards, “I was sluggish.”

For a fighter who had rededicated himself to conditioning and training, it was a costly relapse. He lost his WBC CABOFE junior middleweight title on the scales.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Camacho stated in regards to the loss of his belt, “My next fight will be against Vargas at a catch weight and not for a belt.”

When asked how realistic it was for Vargas, who physical appearance was compared to Chris Arreola due to his weight (which looked to be at least 200 pounds), to make it down to middleweight, or even light heavyweight, for a fight, Camacho responded with scorn.

“His fat ass got to lose some weight. No way he can lose that weight and be the same. But if that’s what they want, I’ll do it.”

Camacho seemed to relish in the opportunity to take on Vargas, however. He recognized that a fight with Vargas, in many ways, would be a natural. Both he and Vargas are trash talkers who know how to take bad feelings into the ring.

“He is a hot head,” commented Camacho on Vargas, “I can see this back and forth getting deeper and more heated. But I would like to put my name on the list of fighters who beat him. The De La Hoya’s. The Trinidad’s.”

Camacho seemed to recognize that the fight with Campas was not the impressive performance he promised but with the biggest win of his career since 2001 under his belt, “Machito” looks poised for bigger and better things in the near future.

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