By: Sean Crose
“The people have been great,” says Hector Camacho Jr of Mexican fans, many of whom will likely be tuning into his Saturday exhibition bout against all-time great Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. “(There’s) a lot of love.” Although the fight is said to be the main event of a pay per view card, most might be watching to see Chavez’ infamous son, Julio Jr, face MMA great Anderson Silva. No matter, Camacho, son of the late legend Hector Camacho Sr, is happy to be facing his father’s former opponent. “I thought I’d come to hostile territory,” Camacho Jr says of arriving in Mexico. “I feel at home.”
It’s clear that the 59-7-1 fighter is pleased with the leadup to Saturday’s fight. “I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” says Camacho. “It’s probably my last fight, as well.” It’s a fitting way to leave the sport. Back in 1992, the senior Camacho battled Chavez in a major bout, losing by decision. Now, by facing his father’s conqueror his final time in the ring, the younger Camacho will have completed the circle. Not that there’s any animosity involved in the pre-fight atmosphere. “He was great friends with my father,” Camacho says of Chavez. “I love Chavez. My father’s my idol, of course, but I love Chavez, as well.”
As for the rules for the bout, Camacho is open. “I told Chavez whatever he wants to do I’m fine by,” he says. Still, the New York – by way of Puerto Rico – fighter, wants to make clear that even exhibitions can be dangerous. “Any shot can hurt him,” he says, “especially at his age.” Camacho also makes it clear that, exhibition or not, this is a fight. He was asked at the press conference, for instance, about Chavez wanting to fight at least part of the bout without headgear. “Tell you what,” he says, “if he takes it off, I’m not taking it easy.”
Novelty bouts are all the rage at the moment, though this one feels a bit different. There’s no young social media stars involved, nor are there any lingering questions (“Who was really better, Tyson or Jones?”) to be answered. There’s simply two men, separated by age and size – Camacho is considerably bigger than the older Chavez – boxing for a few minutes in a ring.
“I’m sharing the ring with a legend,” says Camacho, “an all-time great.” Few fighters can utter such words. As Camacho claims repeatedly, he intends to “enjoy the moment.”
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