SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The family of Hector "Macho" Camacho tried to decide Wednesday whether he should be removed from life support after a shooting in his Puerto Rican hometown left the former boxing champion clinging to life and his fans mourning the loss of a dynamic and often troubled athlete.

Doctors at the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan found that Camacho had irregular and intermittent brain activity late Wednesday, said Dr. Ernesto Torres, the center's director.

"We can't declare him brain dead," he said. "We're going to ask the people of Puerto Rico to keep praying."

Torres said doctors will conduct additional tests early Thursday but warned the prognosis remains dire.

"The changes have been more negative than positive," he said, adding that Camacho does not have enough blood coursing through his brain.

Doctors initially had said Camacho was in critical, but stable condition and expected to survive after he was shot Tuesday night in the city of Bayamon. But his condition worsened overnight and his heart stopped at one point, Torres said.

The 50-year-old Camacho was shot as he and a friend sat in a Ford Mustang parked outside a bar. Police spokesman Alex Diaz said officers found nine small bags of cocaine in the friend's pocket, and a 10th bag open inside the car.

Camacho's mother, who flew in Wednesday from New York, will lead the discussion about whether he should be removed from life support, said Ismael Leandry, a longtime friend and former manager who was also at the hospital.

"We just have to wait to see if `Macho' gets better. It's a hard battle," Leandry told The Associated Press as he joined friends and family outside the emergency room.

Torres said Camacho's mother, Maria Matias, spent about 20 minutes with her son, one of the most dynamic boxing personalities of his era, and was expected to return for a second visit on Wednesday night.

"His mother came and she is devastated," he said. "She knows the prognosis is not at all favorable."

A godson, Widniel Adorno, said the family has discussed the possibility of organ donation but no final decision has been made.

Camacho's friend, identified as 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno, was killed in the attack. Police said two assailants fled in an SUV but no arrests have been made and no motive has been disclosed.

Camacho was rushed to Centro Medico, where doctors initially said the bullet passed through his jaw and lodged in his shoulder. Torres said the bullet damaged three of the four main arteries in his neck and fractured two vertebrae, which could leave him paralyzed if he were to survive.

Steve Tannenbaum, who has also represented Camacho in the past, had been told earlier by friends at the hospital that the boxer would make it.

"This guy is a cat with nine lives. He's been through so much," he said. "If anybody can pull through it will be him."

Friends and family members waited anxiously at the hospital, fondly recalling Camacho's high-energy personality and his powerful skills in the ring.

"He was like a little brother who was always getting into trouble," said former featherweight champion Juan Laporte, a fellow Puerto Rican who grew up and trained with Camacho in New York.

Camacho has been considered one of the more controversial figures in boxing, but also popular among fans and those who worked in the sport.

"The Macho Man was a promoter's dream," renowned promoter Don King told AP. "He excited boxing fans around the world with his inimitable style. He was a nice, amiable guy away from the ring."

King had promoted Camacho but was caught off guard by news of the attack on the former champion. "What a tragedy this is," he said. "I'm very sorry for Hector and his family. My prayers go out to him."

The fighter's last title bout came against then-welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya in 1997, a loss by unanimous decision. He last fought in May 2010, losing to Saul Duran. Tannenbaum said they were looking at a possible bout in 2013.

"We were talking comeback even though he is 50," he said. "I felt he was capable of it."

Camacho was born in Bayamon, one of the cities that make up the San Juan metropolitan area

He left Puerto Rico as a child and grew up mostly in New York's Harlem neighborhood, one of the reasons he later earned the nickname "the Harlem Heckler."

He went on to win super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s.

Camacho has fought other high-profile bouts in his career against Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez and Sugar Ray Leonard. Camacho knocked out Leonard in 1997, ending what was that former champ's final comeback attempt.

Camacho has a career record of 79-6-3.

In recent years, he has divided his time between Puerto Rico and Florida, appearing regularly on Spanish-language television as well as on a reality show called "Es Macho Time!" on YouTube. In San Juan, he had been living in the beach community of Isla Verde, where he would obligingly pose for photos with tourists who recognized him on the street, said former pro boxer Victor "Luvi" Callejas, a neighbor and friend.

"We all know what Macho Camacho has done, but in the last couple of months he hasn't been in any trouble," Callejas said as he kept vigil outside the hospital. "He has been taking it easy. He's been upbeat."

Drug, alcohol and other problems have trailed Camacho since the prime of his boxing career. He was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in prison for the burglary of a computer store in Mississippi. While arresting him on the burglary charge in January 2005, police also found the drug ecstasy.

A judge eventually suspended all but one year of the sentence and gave Camacho probation. He wound up serving two weeks in jail, though, after violating that probation.

His wife also filed domestic abuse complaints against him twice before their divorce several years ago.

____

Associated Press writer David Skretta in Kansas City contributed to this report.

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  • Hector Macho Camacho, Marty Cohen, Don King

    FILE - In this Dec. 9, 1986 file photo, Hector "Macho" Camacho WBC lightweight boxing champion, is escorted by Marty Cohen, left, and boxing promoter Don King, right, during a news conference in New York. Famed Puerto Rican boxer Camacho is clinically brain dead, doctors said Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, though they said family members were disagreeing on whether to take him off life support. Dr. Ernesto Torres said doctors have finished performing all medical tests on Camacho, who was shot in the face Tuesday night. (AP Photo/David Bookstaver, File)

  • COMACHO LEONARD

    FILE - This March 1, 1997 file photo shows Hector Camacho of Puerto Rico, right, landing a punch on the chin of Sugar Ray Leonard during the second round of their IBC middleweight title fight in Atlantic City, N. J. Police in the Puerto Rican city of Bayamon say they found drugs inside the car in which former champion boxer Camacho was shot and critically wounded. Camacho was in critical condition Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, at the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

  • In this Sept. 13, 1997, photo provided by Las Vegas News Bureau, Hector Camacho, left, fights Oscar De La Hoya in a boxing match at Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Camacho's family tried to decide Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, whether he should be removed from life support after a shooting in his Puerto Rican hometown left the former boxing champion clinging to life and his fans mourning the loss of a dynamic and often troubled athlete. (AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau, Darrin Bush)

  • DURAN CAMACHO

    FILE - This June 22, 1996, file photo shows Hector "Macho" Camacho being lifted into the air after his unanimous decision over Roberto Duran in an IBC middleweight title fight at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. Police in the Puerto Rican city of Bayamon say they found drugs inside the car in which former champion boxer Camacho was shot and critically wounded. Camacho was in critical condition Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, at the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan. (AP Photo/Donna Connor, File)

  • CAMACHO DE LA HOYA

    FILE - This Sept. 13, 1997 file photo shows Hector Camacho, left, of Puerto Rico, and Oscar De La Hoya of Los Angeles exchanging blows in the first round of their WBC welterweight championship in Las Vegas. Police in the Puerto Rican city of Bayamon say they found drugs inside the car in which former champion boxer Camacho was shot and critically wounded. Camacho was in critical condition Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, at the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan. (AP Photo/Mike Salsbury, File)

  • Hector Camacho

    FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2006, file photo, Hector "Macho" Camacho arrives for an event in Miami Beach, Fla. Police in Puerto Rico say former boxing champion Camacho has been shot and critically wounded. Camacho was shot in the face while in a car outside a bar in Bayamon, one of the cities that make up the San Juan metropolitan area. A statement from police in Bayamon said he was shot Tuesday night, Nov. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez, File)

  • An official International Boxing Federat

    An official International Boxing Federation (IBF) Championship belt signed by boxing greats Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Hector Camacho and Sugar Ray Leonard (Est: USD $4,000-$6,000) is on display at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, California on the first day of Julien's Music Icons and Sports Legends auction, June 23, 2012. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Hector Camacho

    This photo released by the Orange County Sheriff's Office is of Hector Camacho after he was arrested on a felony count of child abuse, Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Orange County Sheriff's Office)

  • Hector Macho Camacho

    Former boxer Hector Macho Camacho, foreground center, poses for photographers at his arrival at the Premio Lo Nuestro Music Awards in Miami, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

  • Premio Lo Nuestro a La Musica Latina - Arrivals

    MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 16: Hector 'Macho' Camacho arrives at the Premio Lo Nuestro a La Musica Latina at American Airlines Arena on February 16, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images)

  • Elkins v Camacho

    8 Apr 2000: Hector Camacho celebrates after defeating Bob Elkins at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Camacho won by technical knockout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Pidgeon/ALLSPORT

  • De La Hoya V Camacho

    13 Sep 1997: Boxer Oscar De La Hoya clenches Hector Camacho during a match at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn /Allsport

  • De La Hoya V Camacho

    13 Sep 1997: Oscar De La Hoya celebrates after defeating Hector Camacho at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn /Allsport

  • De La Hoya V Camacho

    13 Sep 1997: Boxer Oscar De La Hoya battles Hector Camacho during a match at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • De La Hoya V Camacho

    13 Sep 1997: Boxer Oscar De La Hoya battles Hector Camacho during a match at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • De La Hoya V Camacho

    13 Sep 1997: Boxer Oscar De La Hoya battles Hector Camacho during a match at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn /Allsport

  • Fighter Hector "Macho" Camacho (L) wraps his arms

    LAS VEGAS, : Fighter Hector 'Macho' Camacho (L) wraps his arms around boxing promoter Bob Arum (C) as they pose with Oscar De La Hoya (R) following a pre-fight press conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas 10 September. Camacho will fight WBC welterweight champion De La Hoya for the title 13 September at the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas. AFP PHOTO/JOHN GURZINSKI (Photo credit should read JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hector Camacho V Eddie Van Kirk

    1 Aug 1992: Boxer Hector Camacho (right) trades blows with Eddie Van Kirk. Mandatory Credit: Holly Stein /Allsport

  • Hector "Macho" Camacho (L) backs away from Sugar R

    ATLANTIC CITY, UNITED STATES: Hector 'Macho' Camacho (L) backs away from Sugar Ray Leonard as referee Joe Cortez steps in to stop the fight in the 5th round of their twelve round IBC Middleweight title fight 01 March at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Camacho won by a TKO (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hector "Macho" Camacho trips up Sugar Ray Leonard

    ATLANTIC CITY, UNITED STATES: Hector 'Macho' Camacho trips up Sugar Ray Leonard (R) in the 1st round of their twelve round IBC Middleweight title fight 01 March at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Camacho won in the 5th round after the referee stopped the fight after Camacho knocked Leonard into the ropes. AFP PHOTO Timothy Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hector "Macho" Camacho shows up in the ring in a R

    ATLANTIC CITY, UNITED STATES: Hector 'Macho' Camacho shows up in the ring in a Roman soldier's uniform before the start of his twelve round IBC Middleweight title fight against Sugar Ray Leonard 01 March at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Camacho won in the 5th round by a TKO after the referee stopped the fight after Camacho knocked Leonard into the ropes. AFP PHOTO Timothy Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Leonard V Camacho

    1 Mar 1997: Hector 'Macho' Camacho (center) pins Sugar Ray Leonard to the ropes as referee Joe Cotez looks on during a bout in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Camacho won the fight with a TKO in the fifth round. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport

  • Leonard V Camacho

    1 Mar 1997: Sugar Ray Leonard (right) and Hector 'Macho' Camacho go toe to toe during a bout in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Camacho won the fight with a TKO in the fifth round. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport

  • Hector "Macho" Camacho

    1 Mar 1997: Hector 'Macho' Camacho celebrates after a bout against Sugar Ray Leonard in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Camacho won the fight with a TKO in the fifth round. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport

  • Hector "Macho" Camacho

    1 Mar 1997: Hector 'Macho' Camacho heads toward the ring for a bout against Sugar Ray Leonard in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Camacho won the fight with a TKO in the fifth round. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport

  • Leonard V Camacho

    1 Mar 1997: Sugar Ray Leonard (right) and Hector 'Macho' Camacho trade blows during a bout in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Camacho won the fight with a TKO in the fifth round. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport

  • Leonard V Camacho

    1 Mar 1997: Hector 'Macho' Camacho (right) lands a blow on Sugar Ray Leonard during a bout in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Camacho won the fight with a TKO in the fifth round. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport

  • Leonard V Camacho

    1 Mar 1997: Referee Joe Cortez begins to count out Sugar Ray Leonard during a bout against Hector 'Macho' Camacho in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Camacho won the fight with a TKO in the fifth round. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport

  • Hector "Macho" Camacho (L) and Sugar Ray Leonard t

    ATLANTIC CITY, UNITED STATES: Hector 'Macho' Camacho (L) and Sugar Ray Leonard trade punches in the second round of their twelve-round IBC Middleweight title fight 01 March at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Camacho won by a TKO in the 5th round after the referee stopped the fight. (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hector Camacho V Eddie Van Kirk

    1 Aug 1992: Boxer Hector Camacho (right) trades blows with Eddie Van Kirk. Mandatory Credit: Holly Stein /Allsport

  • Hector Camacho V Eddie Van Kirk

    1 Aug 1992: Boxer Hector Camacho (right) trades blows with Eddie Van Kirk. Mandatory Credit: Holly Stein /Allsport

  • Hector Camacho V Eddie Van Kirk

    1 Aug 1992: Boxer Hector Camacho (right) trades blows with Eddie Van Kirk. Mandatory Credit: Holly Stein /Allsport

  • Hector Camacho V Eddie Van Kirk

    1 Aug 1992: Boxer Hector Camacho (right) trades blows with Eddie Van Kirk. Mandatory Credit: Holly Stein /Allsport

  • Chavez v Smith Camacho

    15 Sep 1991: Hector 'Macho' Camacho gives the peace sign during the between Julio Cesar Chavez and Lonnie Smith at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Ken Levine /Allsport