The death of boxing legend Hector "Macho" Camacho didn't just cast a shadow over the sports world.
The shooting that left Camacho on life support for days before passing away on Saturday shined a spotlight once again on Puerto Rico’s out-of-control violence, fueled by a recent surge of drug trafficking. The island territory tallied a record-breaking 1,136 murders in 2011.
Police are investigating last week's double homicide, but have yet to disclose a motive. Armed men shot Camacho and his friend Alberto Mojica Moreno while the two were parked near a liquor store outside the capital of San Juan. Police found nine bags of cocaine on Mojica, and a tenth open bag inside the car, according to Puerto Rican daily El Nuevo Día.
If Puerto Rico were a state -- which won’t happen any time soon, despite the recent status vote -- it would boast the highest homicide rate in the United States, more than doubling that of its nearest competitor, Louisiana, according to a report by the ACLU.
“The violence we’re experiencing isn’t right,” Camacho’s son Hector “El Machito,” also a boxer, said in a press release last week. “Let this serve as message to the youth that we have to change the way we’re living.”
Part of the problem owes to increased drug trafficking, according to outgoing Gov. Luis Fortuño. He told NBC News that the federal government has “ignored” his calls “We’ve been banging on Washington’s door,” he said.
“I think the cartels are smart,” Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman Michael McCaul told NBC News. “They realize we’re putting all our efforts on the Southwest border. We’re not paying attention to the third border, the Caribbean, so now they’re exploiting that.”
Complicating matters further, the island’s police have also been implicated in violence.
Puerto Rico has more than double the U.S. average of police officers per resident, according to the ACLU, but suffers a homicide rate of of 26.2 per 100,000 residents -- higher than Mexico’s. The report says a “culture of violence and corruption” permeates the Puerto Rican Police Department.
The U.S. Justice Department echoed the sentiment last year, saying the PRPD’s excessive use of force and suppression of first amendment rights violated the Constitution and federal law.
Hector Macho Camacho
The three-division world champion, Hector “Macho Camacho,” was a professional Puerto Rican boxer and TV celebrity. His aggressive style, extravagant personality, along with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/24/hector-macho-camacho-dead_n_2184184.htmlthree-division">his problems with drugs and the law followed him throughout his life until his recent death </a>on Nov. 24. “I’m very humble, very tactful," Camacho said<a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/biofile-interview-with-hector-camacho-1995"> in an interview with The Examiner</a>. If you see me away from all this, I’m very humble. Yes I am. When the respect is mutual, I’m very tactful. And I’m a good human being. Good father and good friend. I feel very good and fair,” (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)
Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto, is a four-time world champion in three World Boxing Association divisions: light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight. One of his most memorable <a href="http://tubehangout.blogspot.com/2011/11/miguel-cotto.html">defeats was in 2008 against the Mexican Antonio Margarito</a>. The event sparked controversy after Margarito was later found using illegal hand-wraps. Cotto demanded a rematch and won in 2011. “My experience in training has evolved and I've never been more ready in my life. Now my focus is not to look back, only forward... I'm on top of my game and defeat is not a word in my vocabulary. I think people like to watch the moments of past defeats and obstacles, but my past has just accelerated me here and now," <a href="http://voces.huffingtonpost.com/miguel-cotto/miguel-cotto-camino-al-exito_b_1466183.html">Cotto said in his blog in The Huffington Post </a>earlier this year. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Oscar De La Hoya
<a href="http://www.biography.com/people/oscar-de-la-hoya-9542428">Known as the “Golden Boy” of the boxing world</a>, Oscar De La Hoya, was born in Los Angeles, California and is of Mexican descent. He won a gold medal during the Barcelona Olympics Games in 1992, and has been world champion in six different weight divisions. His problems with alcoholism and addiction marked the end of his professional boxing career, though he managed to make a comeback with his boxing production house, Golden Boys Promotions, which represents boxers including Danny García and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. "This addiction is going to be the toughest fight of my life. Day and night, I feel like someone from above gave me a second chance in life and I will take it to be a better person. This is like training for a fight that never comes," <a href="http://entretenimiento.aollatino.com/2011/08/31/oscar-de-la-hoya-adiccion-entrevista/">confessed to Univision show "Aquí y Ahora"</a>. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Roberto “Mano de Piedra” Duran
The Panamanian professional boxer Roberto “Manos de Piedra” (Hands of Stone) Duran, <a href="http://www.mibio.tv/mx/biografias/Mano-de-piedra-Duran.html;jsessionid=4477DEDCC505389ACA28FD0348700B9A">is considered the one of the greatest fighters</a> of the past three decades. He held world titles in four different weights including lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight. "The name of “Manos de Piedras” came when I started fighting professionally, after almost eight professional fights... First was the "Cyclone of Limo", then it was the "Canalero", time passed and then I used to hit hard with both hands, and because of that they named me "Hands of Stone,” <a href="http://espndeportes.espn.go.com/story?id=352498">Duran said of his pseudonym in an interview with ESPN </a>. (Photo credit should read GUIDO BLANDON/AFP/Getty Images)
Felix "Tito" Trinidad
Five-time world champion in three different categories, <a href="http://iconos.aollatino.com/icono/tito-trinidad/">Felix “Tito” Trinidad </a>is considered one the best Puerto Rican boxers of all times. <a href="http://www.latinosportslegends.com/Trinidad_Felix_bio.htm">His love for boxing came from his father</a>, a former Puerto Rican national boxing champion in the mid-1970s, who trained him until his retirement at the young age of 35. "I know that all the fans would love to see me fight again. This has been a great sport for me and I honestly think it's time for me to be out of it. So I believe that I'm done and I consider myself out of boxing for sure... I will be involved in some way. Maybe a manager, I don't know. This sport gave me everything I have, the money to live, the fans as well as recognition. So definitely I will be involved in boxing, but definitely not as a boxer," said <a href="http://www.boxnews.com.ua/en/news/1953/2005-09-21/Exclusive-Interview-Felix-Tito-Trinidad">Trinidad in an interview with Box News</a>. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Julio Cesar Chavez
<a href="http://www.juliocesarchavez.net/">Julio Cesar Chavez González</a> is considered by many to be the greatest fighter in Mexico’s history. Chavez had over 115 professional fights, 37 of them had world championships being disputed. Over more than 25 years and 115 fights, he battled against giants including Meldrick Taylor, Hector Camacho, Pernell Whitaker, Oscar de la Hoya and Kostya Tszyu. Like his compatriot Oscar De La Hoya, Chavez also recently admitted having drug problems in the past, for which he had to be admitted to a rehabilitation center. Nowadays, he helps support his son’s boxing career, who is now following his steps, and making a name for himself in the ring. "For a long time I hid my problems with alcohol and drugs because I felt ashamed. I didn't wanted people to see me like that, beaten," said the Mexican champion. "It was very hard, I never thought I could hurt myself so badly. Now that everything has passed, I know I'm a strong person and I will make it. That's why I want to help others," <a href="http://deportes.aollatino.com/2011/06/10/julio-cesar-chavez-adicciones/">said Chavez about his problems </a>with addiction. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Following his father steps, the boxing legend Julio César Chávez, boxer from Sinaloa was a former World Boxing Council Middleweight Champion <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/16/sergio-martinez-julio-chavez-jr-fight-boxing_n_1888627.html">until he lost the title to Sergio “Maravilla” Martínez </a>in 2012. <a href="http://voces.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/julio-cesar-chavez-jr_n_1939292.html">His recent problems with drugs</a>, led the World Boxing Council to ratify the indefinite suspension of Chavez Jr. after testing positive for marijuana following his Martinez bout. "<a href="http://voces.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/julio-cesar-chavez-jr-marihuana_n_1943091.html">This defeat to Sergio Martinez strengthened me</a>, now I have more hungry to come back and I think that everything that has happened was for good. I have no excuses, this is a sport and the beauty of it is that you can win or lose," the fighter said. (Photo AP/El Paso Times, Victor Calzada)
Juan Manuel Marquez
Born in Mexico City, Juan Manuel Marquez is considered one of the <a href="http://ringtv.craveonline.com/ratings">best boxers pound by pound</a>, with a very stable career that has won him several world titles in four different weight categories. He is currently the World Boxing Organization light welterweight champion. “I got up after three takedowns in the first round and gave him a boxing lesson for the final 10 rounds. There is no doubt in my mind that I won the fight, and I'm sure there was no doubt in Paquiao’s mind as well,” Márquez told <a href="http://voces.huffingtonpost.com/juan-manuel-marquez/marquez-va-por-la-revancha_b_2131910.html">The Huffington Post about his most recent fight </a>against Manny Pacquiao.
Ricardo Mayorga is a World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council champion, who's won 18 <a href="http://profiles.incredible-people.com/ricardo-mayorga/">titles in the Middleweight and Welterweight divisions</a>. The Nicaraguan was also famous for his confrontational trash talking against his ring opponents. During his long career he's fought against prominent names in the boxing world such as Miguel Cotto, Oscar de la Hoya, Felix Trinidad, among others. "May God bless the land of all the ladies that are here. I came to beat your champion… With all respect to the Puerto Ricans, wear a black shirt ... I'm going to knock him out in four rounds. I am going to knock him out weather you like it or not,” said Mayorga <a href="http://deportes.aollatino.com/2011/01/20/cotto-mayorga-puerto-rico/">about opponent Miguel Cotto at a press conference </a>in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico in 2011. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez
Born in Buenos Aires, Maravilla (The Wonder) Martinez, is a middleweight boxing champion <a href="http://ringtv.craveonline.com/ratings">currently ranked as the number three pound for pound best boxer </a>in the world. His most recent victory against boxer Julio Cesar Chávez, Jr. by unanimous decision, earned him the new World Boxing Council Middleweight title. “First I would make sure you have a strong amateur program that focuses on the young fighters looking to enter the sport of boxing and give them adequate training. More often than not, especially in Spain and the United States, many of the younger athletes tend to gravitate more towards football and basketball,” said Martínez to <a href="http://voces.huffingtonpost.com/sergio-martinez/necesario-mejorar-los-pro_b_1837717.html">HuffPost Voces when asked what would he do to fix the sport </a>of boxing if he was given the power. (AP Foto/Tim Larsen)
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez
Mexican-born Saul Canelo Alvarez, is the current World Boxing Association Light Middleweight champion. A <a href="http://www.canadastarboxing.com/fighters/canelo-alvarez--bio.html">member of Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions</a>, Canelo has fought and won over fighters such as Miguel Cotto, Carlos Baldomir and Kermit Cintrón among others. "In every fight there is more and more pressure and attention. The way I take it is going fight by fight. I follow my training and try to grow every day. I want to learn and want to keep learning. Not that I'm the best, but I am a world champion and I want to beat the best," said Alvarez during an <a href="http://voces.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/canelo-alvarez-entrenamiento_n_1844253.html">interview with HuffPost Voces</a>. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)
Originally from Philadelphia but of Puerto Rican decedent, Danny Garcia is currently undefeated, and holds the WBC and WBA Light Welterweight titles. "I came to die in the line and it worked. I knew that if I won I would be given a prestigious place in boxing," <a href="http://voces.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/14/danny-garcia-nocaut-amir-khan_n_1673972.html">said the Puerto Rican after winning over </a>the Mexican Erik Morales in October, 2012. (Photo AP/Jason DeCrow)
Former WBA and IBF Featherweight Champion, Yuriorkis Gamboa, <a href="http://www.fightsaga.com/Fighters/item/407-Yuriorkis-Gamboa"> became an Olympic gold medal winner </a>during the 2004 Summer Olympics. In 2006, the boxer defected from the Cuban national team, escaped to Colombia and made his way to Miami where he became a professional boxer. (Photo AP/Gregory Payan)