Boxer Hector "Macho" Camacho remains on life support

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:49pm EST

1 of 2. Ernesto Torres (2nd L), director of the hospital where former welterweight boxing champion Hector 'Macho' Camacho is being treated after a drive-by shooting incident, gives a news conference on Camacho's condition in San Juan November 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Alvin Baez

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Reuters) - Relatives of Hector "Macho" Camacho, who has been declared brain dead after being shot in the face, are still hoping for a miracle and said they would not remove the three-time world boxing champion from life support.

Doctors at the Rio Piedras Medical Center in San Juan declared Camacho, 50, brain dead on Thursday, two days after he was struck in a drive-by shooting.

"Macho is a fighter, and he's going to keep fighting until the last bell," his son Hector "Machito" Camacho told reporters on Friday after visiting his father. "He's still alive."

Ismael Leandry, Camacho's former manager, told El Nuevo Dia newspaper that the boxer was still "responsive" and that his mother would not take her son off life support despite several tests by doctors that showed no brain activity.

"The doctors say many things," added Camacho's son. "They keep saying we have to make a decision soon."

The newspaper also said the family was planning a funeral in New York, where Camacho grew up, and possibly a public wake in Puerto Rico.

The younger Camacho lamented the crime and violence confronting Puerto Rico. "You have to stop the violence and the drugs. Rap singers have to stop glorifying violence. This is for the youth. All the street promises them now is death, drugs, and jail."

Police are investigating the shooting. Two gunmen opened fire on Camacho and a friend, Adrian Mojica Moreno, 49, as they sat in a car outside a liquor store in the San Juan suburb of Bayamon, Camacho's birthplace.

Mojica Moreno, the driver of the car, was killed and Camacho was shot in the jaw. The bullet fractured two vertebrae and lodged in his shoulder, damaging the arteries that carried blood to the brain, doctors said.

Police found nine small bags of cocaine in the driver's pockets and one open in the car. No arrests have been made.

Camacho, a left-handed fighter who grew up in New York's Spanish Harlem neighborhood, had a record of 79-6-3 with 38 knockouts. His three-decade career featured fights with a "who's who" of boxing and a flamboyant style that included entering the ring in an outfit based on the Puerto Rican flag.

(Reporting by Reuters in San Juan, Editing by Jane Sutton and Peter Cooney)

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