July 27, 2021

“I was able to get to Hollywood with Frank Sinatra but it didn’t happen”

Madrid, Jun 15 (EFE) .- “Life has given me more blows than boxing”, confesses José Luis Pacheco, better known in the popular imagination as ‘Dum Dum Pacheco’, a boxer who first achieved glory as an athlete after get out of jail, then as an actor in some mythical films that were box office successes and that were about to reach the United States at the hands of Frank Sinatra.

Pacheco (Madrid, 1949) lived his childhood in Alejandro Dumas street, in the vicinity of the old Vicente Calderón, whose construction caused his family to move further south of Madrid, to the Carabanchel neighborhood. The street was part of his school and also of his sentence in those difficult sixties.

He entered the street band ‘Los Ojos Negros’ as a child and, one of the many altercations in which he was involved, was when he threatened the owner of a nightclub to allow the group Los Dayson to play, of which a young Camilo was part Blanes, later known as Camilo Sesto. “I did not have much relationship with him but I know that he thanked me for that gesture. His brother told me once we met,” he recalls.

At that time, with fights and robberies the order of the day, in the end he ended up in jail, where he coincided with Jesús Gil. “I became a good friend of his to the point that he gave me an Atlético card to go to the stadium. In fact, whenever I went to the field I sat next to him in the box.”

He got out of jail because he managed to save the life of Saturnino García Guirao, the prison priest. “That allowed Don Leoncio, the director, to grant me my freedom and go out on the streets again,” says Pacheco, whose intense life comes to light again with the reissue of the book ‘Piss blood’ (Autsaider División Sesuda ), written in his own handwriting, as he emphasizes.

When he got out of jail, he began training with Pampito González at the Palacio de Deportes, found refuge in boxing and reached glory. First as an amateur, with 90 victories in 93 fights, and later as a professional, with 109 fights, 73 wins by KO, 14 by points and 22 losses. His potential on the ring earned him the nickname ‘Dum Dum’, which was given to him by the journalist Julio César Iglesias because his blows were as powerful as the bullets of that name, which are striated at the tip and, when hitting the target , they open and cause more damage than normal.

The victories allowed him to achieve numerous championships in Spain and be number in Europe. It was then that fame and recognition knocked on his door. “He was going down the street and he didn’t stop signing autographs, it was an incredible thing,” recalls Pacheco, who continues to boast of his friendship with Pedro Carrasco, whom he witnessed at his wedding with Rocío Jurado.

“One of the last people who saw Pedro alive was me,” says Pacheco, also a close friend of Alfredo Evangelista, Urtain, a “person we all appreciated”, and Perico Fernández, whom he confesses that “he died because of of a woman who made his life bitter. “

At the end of the seventies, installed in the social circle and with many friends from the show business, he entered the cinema. First with ‘Juventud drogada’ (1977) and later with six other films directed by illustrious figures such as Manuel Summers or Mariano Ozores, with which he broke the box office in ‘Yo hace a Roque III’, with Andrés Pajares and Fernando Esteso.

“They were very successful films and that, to this day, they continue to be seen. In fact, I still collect some copyright,” says Pacheco, who was also joined by “a very great friendship” with Tony Leblanc.

“He was a very good actor and a very good person. Sometimes we made gloves at the Palacio de Deportes because he also liked boxing a lot and even became a promoter of evenings,” he says.

By then Franco had already died, whom he met in person and with whom he sympathized ideologically. “Vicente Gil, the Caudillo’s doctor, who was also my president in the Boxing Federation, told me that Franco wanted to meet me. So I went to El Pardo and there he asked me to wear the legionnaire’s cap whenever I got into the ring. And I’ve done that ever since. “

46 years later, Pacheco assures that Franco “appreciated” him, a relationship that at the time caused him many antipathies and more when he said that his idols were the Caudillo, Hernán Cortés and Elvis Presley. “Elvis for being the best singer in history and Hernán Cortés because I discovered his story in the book ‘The God of the rain cries over Mexico’, by László Passuth”.

That whirlwind of fame, boxing and celebrity ended, to a large extent, when in 1982 he suffered a serious car accident returning from Almería to Madrid. The recovery was slow, he spent a while without competing and then everything would not be the same.

From that period he had a dream to fulfill. Go to America with Frank Sinatra. “While in Marbella, I saw some men who were going to beat Frank Sinatra and I stopped him. As there were three or four of them I approached them and with a few punches I threw them to the ground and saved him from the attack.”

“Later, as a sign of gratitude, when he sang in Madrid, Frank Sinatra dedicated a song to me saying that he was a great man who had saved him. They spoke of the possibility of going to the United States to fight, but it could not be because of the accident. “, confesses Pacheco, who assures that he learned languages ​​when he traveled to compete. “That’s why I was able to make friends with people like Frank.”

Frank Sinatra wasn’t the only Hollywood star he was associated with. “I also met Sean Connery in Puerto Banús,” he recalls.

The last thirty years, ‘Dum Dum Pacheco’ has spent living in the Madrid neighborhood of Hortaleza, where he leads an anonymous life. He went through different jobs as head of security at the residence of the Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia in Madrid or public relations in discos on the Costa de Levante.

What he does not forget is his great friends, such as the rocker Bruno Lomas, and the golden years when he shared a table and tablecloth with artists at the Italian restaurant Alduccio, very close to the Santiago Bernabéu. There they shared confidences of boxing, a sport that “now does not interest anything, has lost its essence.”

Precisely through boxing he ran a spree with Mickey Rourke. “He had been a boxer and, when he was in Spain, the Federation called me to tell me to go see him box in Oviedo. I took the car and we were there for a week. I laughed because he told me that, after shooting ‘9 and a half weeks ‘Kim Basinger told him that she didn’t work with him anymore because he smelled bad. “

Successes, failures, glory and underworld. A roller coaster of emotions dot the life of ‘Dum Dum’ Pacheco, a popular iconography of Spanish sport transcribed in the pages of ‘Piss blood’, a politically incorrect biography for the times.

David ramiro

(c) EFE Agency