SI Vault
Pat Putnam
December 18, 1978
Mom is Jewish, Dad is Italian, and Mike Rossman—the Star of David tattooed on his calf—is the WBA light-heavyweight titleholder
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December 18, 1978

Meet Their Son, The World Champion

Mom is Jewish, Dad is Italian, and Mike Rossman—the Star of David tattooed on his calf—is the WBA light-heavyweight titleholder

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"I'll kill him," said Galindez, an overwhelming favorite.

"Don't worry about it," Rossman told his wife Maxine. "You see all that scar tissue over his eyes? I'll open him up like a can of beans."

That was the battle plan Robinson had devised: beat Galindez at his own inside game. Go for the scar tissue over the eyes. Friends thought Robinson had gone mad. No one fights Galindez inside.

"It was beautiful," Rossman says, almost in awe. "Jim told me two days before the fight exactly how it was going to go. And the fight went just exactly as he said it would. The man is unreal. Whatever he tells me to do, I do."

Taking the fight to Galindez, Rossman chopped open the Argentinian's right eye in the second round, and again in the sixth. By the ninth round Rossman was in total command. By the 10th Galindez seemed to be looking at Referee Carlos Berrocal with a silent plea to stop the massacre. In the 13th, after Rossman almost dropped Galindez with a vicious left hook, Berrocal did just that.

"Mike followed the plan perfectly," Robinson says. "He fought Galindez on his own terms, strength against strength, and he chopped him to pieces. Nobody else could do that because nobody else can hit as hard as Mike."

Then the telephone callers began their incessant search for Jimmy DePiano. Offers flooded in. There was talk of a fight with Muhammad Ali. Rossman was offered a small part in Rocky II. He did one commercial, for The New York Post . Other commercials were put on hold.

"Hey, we're in no hurry," says DePiano. "Mike is going to be around for a long time. He can do anything he wants, maybe become a movie star. I'm proud of my son the world champion. Just as proud as if I walked into an operating room in some hospital and watched him saw off some guy's leg, or if I was in a courtroom watching him defend some bum for murder. He don't have to be no doctor or lawyer. He's the champion of the world."

Last week's opponent, Traversaro, was not about to make a false prophet of DePiano. The Italian had a seemingly impressive record—30 knockouts in 44 fights and only two losses—but Robinson had another plan.

Before sending Rossman out for Round 1 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Slim Jim told him, "We'll hit him in the head later; first let's see what he's got."

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