The Memory Bank: Part Eleven

By Ted Sares on June 29, 2012
The Memory Bank: Part Eleven
Mike Rossman and Victor Galindez provide lots of drama during their respective careers


“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 Galindez

A bull in the ring, colorful “Vicious Victor” Galindez (the real “Vicious Victor”) captured both the Argentine and South American light heavyweight titles in 1972. On the way up, he beat tough Argentine fighters like Juan Aguilar and Jorge Ahumada. In 1974, he challenged for the vacant WBA light heavyweight championship and TKO’d Len “The Pumper” Hutchins in the 13th round. A busy champion, Galindez traveled the world defending his title 10 times over formidable foes like Pierre Fourie, Alvaro “Yaqui” Lopez (yes, that Yaqui Lopez), Richie Kates, and Eddie Gregory.

Galindez also got very familiar with many of his opponents as he fought Aguilar nine times, Avenamar Peralta six times, Ahumada five times, Domingo Silviera three times, Adolfo Cardozo twice, Lopez twice, Kates twice, Jesse Burnett twice, Rossman twice, Ramon Cerrezuela twice, Raul Loyola twice, Pedro Rimovsky twice, Ruben Macario Gonzalez twice, and Fourie twice.

In 1978, he met a distinct underdog by the name of Mike “The Jewish Bomber” Rossman. Mike, a New Jersey native, was a solid and formidable professional who had fought top-flight competition. He prided himself as an Old School ethnic fighter who toiled in the ring with a Jewish Star on his trunks. He was Italian on his father’s side and Jewish on his mother’s. His real name is Michael Albert DePiano.

Positioning himself for the Galindez battle, Rossman lost a verdict to the crafty Tony Licata (52-3-3 coming in) in June 1976, but then halted Christy Elliot in three rounds. A few weeks letter Rossman and Elliot battled to a draw. Rossman then outscored rugged Mike Quarry. Then he halted Akron’s longtime contender Ray Anderson in four rounds. Mike Quarry tried again but was brutally stopped in six—a beating that some say did irreparable harm to Mike. Marcel Clay was dispatched in one while the crafty Gary Summerhays went the route.

But then Rossman met one of the best fighters who never won a title in Alvaro “Yaqui” Lopez on March 2, 1978 at the Garden in New York City. Lopez took Rossman to school that night and battered him for a sixth round KO. Hanging tough, Mike bounced back with knockout wins over Lonnie Bennett and Matt Ross.

Inspiration

On September 15, 1978, Mike met Victor Galindez for the WBA light heavyweight title in New Orleans. In a tremendous upset that had to be seen to be believed, he hammered, bloodied, and outfought the champion to win the title on a 13th round TKO. Rossman’s energy resonated and on this night he was truly inspired; he simply would not be denied. He fought a savvy fight against Galindez, coming on in the middle rounds and gave Galindez fits with angles and sharp combos, not to mention crunching left hooks that ripped the tender flesh around Victor’s eyes eventually forcing the stoppage. A shocked and humiliated Vicious Victor returned to Argentina with his first loss in seven years and 44 fights.

However, Galindez regained the title in a rematch the following year again in New Orleans. Rossman claimed to have broken his right hand during the bout, severely limiting his boxing ability.

Not long after, Galindez was forced to retire after undergoing surgery to repair two detached retinas; sadly, during his brief retirement, Victor was killed in a horrible auto racing accident in De Mayo, Argentina on October 26, 1980 at the young age of 31. Auto racing had become his new love, but his life was snuffed out before he had a chance to truly embrace it.

Galindez was the first Argentinean to win the title at home, though he never defended it there. Curiously, he was more at home in South Africa and Italy. Still, he was a national and beloved hero, and tens of thousands of mourners came to pay their respects the day his coffin was placed on view in Luna Park, the fabled arena in which he had won the title from Hutchins. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002.

Mike Rossman finished with his fine career in 1983 with a mark of 44-7-3. He was world ranked for years in the 1970s, and for several months in 1978-79, he was rated as the world’s number one light heavyweight by every boxing magazine out there. Mike was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995.

Both Mike Rossman and Victor Galindez provide lots of drama during their respective careers, but on that one hot evening in New Orleans in September 1978, Mike joined Lighting Lonnie Smith (over Billy Costello), James “Buster” Douglas (over Mike Tyson), and Sean O’Grady (over Hilmer Kenty) to put on one of the most inspired battles I have ever witnessed—one that has a lasting place in my memory bank.

The Memory Bank: Part One
The Memory Bank: Part Two
The Memory Bank: Part Three
The Memory Bank: Part Four
The Memory Bank: Part Five
The Memory Bank: Part Six
The Memory Bank: Part Seven
The Memory Bank: Part Eight
The Memory Bank: Part Nine
The Memory Bank: Part Ten
The Memory Bank: Part Eleven

Visit the author’s website at www.tedsares.com

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Victor Galindez vs Mike Rossman (rds 1,2,3) - WBA Light Heavyweight Championship '78



Victor Galindez vs Mike Rossman (rds 4,5,6)



Victor Galindez vs Mike Rossman (rds 7,8,9)



Victor Galindez vs Mike Rossman (rds 10,11,12)



Mike Rossman vs Victor Galindez (last round)



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  1. Benny Adler 01:39pm, 07/07/2012

    I jumped 5 ft in the air when Michael stopped Galindez.
    When the fight started, I was alone in the back, by fights end, there were 10 people celebrating with me.
    I never liked Galindez, and yeah, I am partial to Michael, but he did fight
    the perfect fight and stooped the bastard in the 13th.
    Later, Michael said some terrible shit regarding his Jewish fans,
    that’s his problem, on that night, he was unbeatable, the bEST 175lber
    in the world, (Scott,Franklin or Mustafa included), it was simply his night.
    He should never have taken the Galindez rematch, (they did not want the
    title in America), fuck them and the title together.
    Michael (Jimmy DePiano) should have taken the offer to fight Ali after he
    won the rematch against Spinks at Heavyweight, foolish move .
    BTW, ALL the credit should have gone to Mr Slim Jim Robinson, not
    DePiano, the fight plan was brilliant & successful.
    I wish Mike would come out of his shell and talk to his fans, we’re still out
    here.

  2. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 08:36am, 07/01/2012

    I was never sold on Mike Rossman….... No pun intended….... I just never have been thrilled with 1 title defense type champs who suddenly vanish after losing the crown….... I like how Galindez lost his title in ‘78 and then came back in ‘79 to regain it…....... I respect them type of champs….....

  3. mikecasey 03:09am, 07/01/2012

    I remember the thrill of this at the time, Ted. I was a great fan of Mike Rossman. His win over Mike Quarry was a good one too as you point out. There just seemed to be a missing piece where Rossman was concerned - dedication, commitment, whatever. i have always wanted to get to the truth of the story - and perhaps one of our brothers here might know - that ex-welter champ Curtis Cokes (after he had lost his title) knocked out a light-heavy champ in a sparring session. I’ve always wondered if it was Mike!

  4. TEX HASSLER 08:39am, 06/30/2012

    Mike Rossman fought and beat a great champion when he beat Galindez. Rossman trained hard and stuck to a winning fight plan. Galindez toughness overcame Mike in the rematch. Galindez will always be remembered as a great fighter who defended his title many times. Thanks Mr. Sares for bringing these two good men to our attention. I saw both of them fight in TV years ago.

  5. The Thresher 04:12am, 06/30/2012

    MRBILL, He always came to fight

  6. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 12:04pm, 06/29/2012

    Victor Galindez was tuff and rugged with a solid chin, but he had struggles with 175 pounds on the scales here and there… He was a great warrior and a fan favorite, yet he does get overshadowed a lot by Bob Foster and Michael Spinks since he was sandwiched in between the two…..

  7. The Thresher 06:52am, 06/29/2012

    Thanks, Irish and Don from Prov

  8. Don from Prov 04:40am, 06/29/2012

    Indeed, the real Vicious Victor.  I remember a host of great fights that Galindez fought in, not the least of which was the classic with Rossman.  I honestly cannot think of one Galindez fight that was a stinker, and Mr. Rossman was capable of bringing his own intensity to battle———

    Great memory of a truly classic pairing.  Okay, Mr. Ted!

  9. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 12:05am, 06/29/2012

    Ted Sares-It’s not just that you remember….it’s the way you remember.

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