The first place Eric Drath went was the scene of the crime, a parking spot outside a strip mall in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, where boxing legend Hector “Macho” Camacho was fatally shot in 2012.
Drath, a documentary filmmaker, then interviewed the local police, talked to potential witnesses, tracked down Camacho’s last known girlfriend, even investigated the neighborhood of the purported shooters.
Drath hoped he might be able to crack the case of Camacho’s murder, which remains unsolved to this day.
But as he was putting together his documentary on the flamboyant fighter, Drath realized he needed to change course. So, he scrapped a rough cut of the film and rebuilt it into “Macho: The Hector Camacho Story,” which debuts Friday on Showtime (9 p.m. ET).
“I just said to myself, I have to deliver a film about his life, not just about his death,” Drath told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “At that point, about seven months ago, I basically said I’m going to kind of take this apart and rebuild it in a different way because I really felt that I had lost a lot of his life in just doing a film about his death.”
Camacho was shot while sitting in a parked car on Nov. 20, 2012, and was declared dead four days later at age 50. A friend also died at the scene of the shooting, where police said they found several bags of cocaine.
Camacho’s death was emblematic of a life marked by a delinquent childhood in New York’s Spanish Harlem and ongoing drug use and run-ins with the law throughout his life.
In the ring, the “Macho Man” was known for his outrageous pre-fight outfits and won titles as a super featherweight, lightweight and junior welterweight.
In the documentary, former CBS sportscaster Tim Ryan tells the story of how Camacho was “completely out of his mind drug-wise” on the eve of his 1983 lightweight bout against John Montes in Alaska, but recovered enough to deliver a first-round knock out the next day.
“It is amazing and also I wonder what his career would have been like had he not had this demon inside, had he been able to kind of escape his street life,” Drath said. “But the street life is also what made him and it’s also what brought him down.”
Drath, a former journalist and two-time Emmy award-winning director, said the material he filmed about the investigation into Camacho’s death could find its way into a future film, and that he is in negotiations with Showtime about that project.
He also said he has a “strong theory about who put the hit on,” but he declined to elaborate.
“I’d really like to get into that at another point because I don’t want to hamper the investigation, and we are going to continue to shoot,” Drath said. “I don’t want to play my hand yet because I don’t want to walk into any danger.”