It was "Macho Time" in the South Bronx yesterday when over 200 community leaders, residents, veteran activist and elected officials gathered at the Juan La Porte Boxing gym on Southern Boulevard to honor the memory of Hector "Macho" Camacho.
Ponce Lespina, Director of the gym and youth center, activist attorney Ramón Jimenez and Julio Pabón, President of Latino Sports, organized the event. Mr. Lespina started the event with an invocation and presentations by both Mr. Pabón and Mr. Jimenez.
Mr. Pabón acknowledged the multitude of key Puerto Ricans that were gathered there for Camacho and thanked Mr. Lespina for the idea of organizing the gathering. However, he also stated that it should not take a funeral vigil of a Puerto Rican champion to get so many important and key Puerto Ricans together. He reminded everyone of the importance of the Puerto Rican community in New York and especially in the South Bronx. "I am proud that the first event for Macho Camacho is being held here in the South Bronx, not in Manhattan, not in Brooklyn, or Westchester County, but here in the Condado de La Salsa where we Puerto Ricans have made this an extension of Puerto Rico."
Mr. Pabón also urged everyone to continue the spirit of Camacho who gave his company, Latino Sports support when it was first started by wearing Latino Sports apparel during one of his championship fights. He explained how Camacho was offered money the night of the fight to switch and wear another company's clothing line, but Camacho stuck to his word and wore Latino Sports apparel. Mr. Pabón used that example as a lesson for the Puerto Rican community to not allow divisiveness and "bochinche" to keep dividing the community, but to work to unite and work towards the true potential of the Puerto Ricans in New York.
Mr. Ramón Jimenez used the occasion to remind every young person in attendance to learn from the example of Camacho who came from the streets of El Barrio to achieve greatness. He urged them to also fight against the drugs and violence that surrounds the community.
Mr. Lespina then invited 10 community activist to sound the bell as a tribute to the passing of Hector Camacho, among them was one of the greatest of Puerto Rican fighters three-time world boxing champion, Carlos Ortiz.