Vicious Victor Galindez
By Ted Sares:
Article posted on 07.08.2008
When I was a child, I wanted to be a leopard, to be free, to be hunted, to escape. I became one. I wanted to be a champion. I became one. I lived my life the way I wanted. I think I’d now like to become a champion auto racer. It’s a sport less dangerous than boxing. You can die at any moment in boxing. Racing is a lot safer. You don’t have to take any punches in racing.
Victor Emilio Galindez was the fist fighter from Argentina to win the title at home; though ironically he never defended it there. He was more at home in South Africa and Italy. Still, like the great Carlos Monzon, he was a national hero notwithstanding his ring persona of pugilistic evil.
This colorful warrior hailed from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and amassed a 52-9-4 amateur record. He represented Argentina at the 1968 Olympic Games before turning professional in 1969. Galindez captured both the Argentine and South American light heavyweight titles in 1972, beating tough Argentine fighters like Juan Aguilar and Jorge Ahumada. He suffered his first pro defeat when Aguilar beat him via a 10 round decision. Aguilar had “Vicious Victor’s” number, as they fought three more times in 1970 with Galindez failing to beat him with another point’s loss, a draw and a no contest.
Now focusing more on boxing than partying (for which he had a wild reputation), he then put a long unbeaten streak on the line; he met Len “The Stinger” Hutchins on December 7, 1974 for the vacant WBA light heavyweight championship. Fighting like a ferocious bull, he stopped “The Stinger” in 13 rounds at Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires Galindez was a great counter puncher-- tough and vicious as his disposition and reputation. He became one of the greatest light-heavies of all time fulfilling the role of ring villain with gusto. He also got to know his opponents very well and might well be the champion at fighting opponents multiple times. During his storied career, he fought Aguilar nine times, Avenemar Peralta four times, Ahumada five times, Domingo Silviera three times, Adolfo Cardozo twice, Alvaro Lopez twice, Richie Kates twice, Jesse Burnett twice, Mike Rossman twice, Ramon Cerrezuela twice, Raul Loyola twice, Pedro Rimovsky twice, Ruben Macario Gonzalez twice and Pierre Fourie twice.
An active champion, he toured the world as a global road warrior defending his title ten times over formidable foes like Fourie, Alvaro Yaqui Lopez (yes, that Yaqui Lopez), Kates and Eddie Gregory. He lost the crown to an inspired Mike Rossman in 1978 (his first loss in seven years and 44 fights), but regained it in a rematch the following year knocking Rossman out in 10 rounds He then lost the title to Marvin Johnson. Galindez only fought once more, losing to mediocre Jesse Burnett in 1980.
Two detached retinas left him no alternative but to retire reluctantly on Aug. 28, 1980, with a record of 55-9-4-2 with 34 KO’s. Victor then turned his attention to auto racing something for which he had a well known passion. He loved cars and the speed and power of racing. In fact, at one time he reportedly owned five Mercedes Benz, four Torinos, four Peugots, four Fords, two Coupes, a Camaro, a Corvair, a Tullieta, a Corvette, a Trans Am, a BMW, a Chevy pickup along with two Kawaskis and a Yamaha motorcycle.
Galindez had no experience in auto racing, so he visited a mechanic-race driver friend named Antonio Lizeviche and asked him to help him learn the sport. Galindez wanted to start as a co-driver and then race his own car when he had enough experience. Lizeviche finally agreed and helped Galindez get his racing license. On October 26, 1980, the pair competed in their very first race together in De Mayo, Argentina. Sadly, it would be his last Turismo Carretera race.
Shortly after the start, the engine broke down. As the two were leaving their disabled car to go to the pits, other drivers screamed at them to get back inside and wait for help. Suddenly, they were struck and killed instantly by an out-of-control Formula One car going 125 miles per hour. Both Antonio and Victor lay lifeless on the side of the racetrack as cars sped by. It had all happened in a split second and in plain sight of thousands of stunned and horrified fans. Victor was just 31 years of age.
Tens of thousands of mourners came to pay their respects the day his coffin was on view in Luna Park, the fabled arena in which he won the title. Like Nicolino “El Intocable” Locche and the great Monzon, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002.
In the end, Argentina cried for its beloved Victor.
Visit the author’s web site at www.tedsares.com
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