In the world of sports and movies, villainy is a worthy pursuit. From Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago to Jason, Michael Myers and Freddie Kreuger, we will pay to vicariously evade evil or to pursue and destroy.
‘Vicious’ Victor Galindez
In boxing, much of the massive influx of ticket purchases and PPV proceeds materializes from the primal human need to see evil perceived, projected or real, vanquished. Some showcases are fueled by the ugly side of human nature, derived from an overblown sense of nationality, race, ethnicity, etc. An example of this would be the Louis-Schmeling affairs. Joe Louis and Max Schmeling were two honorable fighters who respected their opponents. This became a bizarre international theatre of hatred, and Max Schmeling in particular was an unwilling pawn of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler.
This edition of Scar Tissue, however, is about a villain of the ring, one who was very good at his craft and sculpted a self-image that inspired intense adoration from his fans and a strong desire for his demise among his detractors.
‘Vicious’ Victor Galindez, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina came into his own around 1973, after a rocky career start. He set his mold as a counterpuncher as vicious as his disposition. Winning the WBA light heavyweight title vacated by Bob Foster via thirteenth round knockout of Len Hutchins, he began a reign that would last five years, including his brief second reign.
He defeated everyone of note within the division. Jorge Ahumada, Jesse Burnett, Richie Kates, Yaqui Lopez, Eddie Gregory all came with their best and left without the title.
Over the course of his career, he developed heavy scar tissue around both eyes. The clock was ticking and those in whom animosity had been stirred watched and waited. On the undercard of Ali-Spinks II, the wish was fulfilled as Mike Rossman’s jab and right cross carved up Galindez en route to a 13th round stoppage win.
In the 1979 rematch, the Galindez of old came with his A-game and nearly removed Rossman’s head from his shoulders with an awe-inspiring display of counter-punching. Rossman had a broken right hand, but it surely seemed as though he wouldn’t have been able to defeat Victor with three fists on this night. After the bout concluded, a frenzied Galindez taunted and yelled at Rossman after the stoppage. Outside the ring and in front of television sets, seething began to roll to a boil.
The waiting wouldn’t last long. Satisfaction came just seven months later with a cracking overhand left by hard punching southpaw Marvin Johnson. Galindez toppled to the canvas with a broken jaw. On top of the scar tissue, Galindez’ skills had eroded greatly.
Though I was among those waiting for his demise the following venture to the cruiserweight class and the thorough whipping he received from Jesse Burnett seemed almost like overkill. The thrill was gone with Victor’s awesome skills. Burnett was a good solid fighter who was not quite in the same class as Galindez. He had beaten Burnett twice as a light heavyweight. Now he was being throttled by Burnett on national TV.
There is an empty feeling when your favorite villains fade. The ability to work yourself up into a good lather, jerking with every punch that finds their chin, speaking words of animosity as you watch but deep down respecting them immensely.
Galindez had seemed larger than life at a point. He seemed like a tough, mean representative of pugilistic evil. He seemed almost unbeatable, which was most of the adversarial appeal. I had pulled for Burnett in the 1980 cruiserweight bout. After the bout I felt somehow sad and deflated at the loss of an anti-hero.
It was a shocking and cruel follow up punch when Galindez was killed instantly when struck by an out of control Formula One car while participating in another of his passions after his ring career had ended. Reading the news left a huge empty feeling inside and a large gap in the fraternity of living boxing legends.
Victor Galindez was one of the greatest light-heavies of all time. He also fulfilled the role of villain with skill and gusto.
Here’s to Vicious Victor, the best villain of his era.
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Also See: Scar Tissue Part 1: Louis vs. Ali
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 2: Holmes vs. Frazier
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 3: Liston vs. Foreman
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 4: Imposters unmasked
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 5: Going after Goliath
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 6: Marciano vs. Holyfield
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 7: Brutality borrowed
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 8: A hook for the books (Weaver vs. Tate)
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 9: De La Hoya vs Duran
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 10: The Minister of Defense (Wilfred Benitez)
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 11: Felonies in disguise
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 12: The End of Absolutes
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 13: Cream
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 14: Speaking of Ron Lyle
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 15: Dress code violations