An injury sustained by Hector Camacho Jr. earlier this week delayed his 60th career fight that was scheduled to take place last night at Foxwoods Resort. This fight total may make those of us who remember his father, the original "Macho" who lit up during his prime in the 1980's, feel quite old. It seems like yesterday that we were entertained by the likes of Camacho, Aaron Pryor, Leon Spinks and Julio Cesar Chavez. Today, the descendants of these fighters carry the same names as their famous relatives but not necessarily the same boxing gene.
The 33-year old Camacho Jr. has been fighting professionally since 1996 and is currently competing as a middleweight. He has a professional record of 53-4-1 (28 KO's), which on the surface appears rather impressive. In reality, Jr. racked up this record by fighting any Tom, Dick or Harry every 1-2 months and traveled all over the map to do it. In July 1999, he fought twice in one week, traveling from Illinois to Atlantic City.
Fighting at this frequency severely limited the quality of his opposition. He has never faced world champion caliber fighters, with Jesse James Leija being the best he has been up against. His resume includes bouts with two different 0-11 fighters, one of them taking place in 2007 after almost 11 years of his turning professional.
His father, on the other hand, faced all of the big names in the super featherweight through welterweight divisions during his career. Camacho Sr. swiftly rose through the super featherweight ranks and defeated former lightweight champion Edwin Rosario in a war in June 1986. He became a three-division titlist when he beat Ray Mancini in March 1989 for the light welterweight crown. He went on to fight the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez, Vinny Pazienza, Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya. Camacho also defeated two aging legends, twice defeating Roberto Duran and knocking out Sugar Ray Leonard in 1997. "Macho" finally retired in 2010 with a record of 79-6-3, 38 KO's.
Aaron Pryor Jr., 33, most recently fought in December 2011 against super middleweight contender Adonis Stevenson, losing by ninth round TKO and dropping to 16-5 (11 KO's). Pryor Jr. went undefeated in his first 11 bouts but lost some steam after suffering his first loss in December 2008, losing four of his next nine fights.
The only loss Pryor Sr. suffered in his 40 fight career came after an ill-advised comeback in 1987. He was a powerful light welterweight champion in the early 1980's, best known for his two fights against Alexis Arguello. He retired in 1990 with an impressive record of 39-1 (35 KO's).
Leon Spinks III, the grandson of former heavyweight Leon, made his professional debut earlier this month. The 24-year old Spinks, fighting as a welterweight, got off on the right foot with a first round TKO victory on March 16. His grandfather started his career off with a heavyweight championship in only his eighth professional fight in 1978 at the age of 24, making him the only fighter to beat Muhammad Ali while "The Greatest" held a world title.
Unfortunately for Spinks I, his fall from the limelight was as fast as his rise to championship glory. He lost to Ali in a rematch seven months later and he never won another title again, with subsequent failed attempts against Larry Holmes and Dwight Muhammad Qawi. He finished his career with a disappointing 26-17-3 (14 KO's) record.
However, great uncle Michael and uncle Cory had more success in their respective careers. Michael Spinks (31-1, 21 KO's) was a world champion at heavyweight and light heavyweight in the 1980's, while Cory Spinks (39-6, 11 KO's) was an undisputed welterweight champion in the mid-2000's and held the IBF light middleweight title as recently as August 2010. Cory will attempt to reclaim the title when he fights Cornelius Bundrage on June 23, 2012.
The most well-known of this group of descendants is WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Like Camacho Jr., Chavez Jr. has an inflated record of 45-0-1 (31 KO's) that consists primarily of frequent fights against inferior opposition. Although he holds the middleweight title, he did not win it against the true recognized champion, Sergio Martinez. The criticisms of the handling of Chavez Jr. have been well documented, leaving many underwhelmed by this young champion.
The same can not be said of his father, who is conceivably the greatest Mexican fighter who ever lived. Chavez, a 6-time world champion in three different weight classes, was considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters during his reign. He successfully defended his titles a record 27 consecutive times and did so against the top ranked contenders and best fighters of his time. Even while fighting against quality opposition, Chavez maintained an undefeated streak that ran 13 years, going 89-0-1 before suffering his first loss to Frankie Randall in 1994. When all was said and done, Chavez finished his career with a record of 107-6-2 ( 86 KO's).
It must be incredibly difficult to compete in the individually driven sport of boxing while sharing the name of a successful, high profile fighter. What's in a name? As Shakespeare conveyed in Romeo and Juliet, what matters is what something is, not what it is called. This applies to this particular group of boxing descendants.
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