Pacheco, the legionary boxer who seduced Franco

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The life of José Luis Pacheco is that of a destiny that, as he himself says, “was inevitable”, that of a childhood in the suburbs, of continuous entrances and exits from jail and a meteoric rise in boxing that would save him from his own fate. Now reissued Piss Blood (Autsider Comics), an autobiography in which Pacheco makes an effort to add sanity to a life built on blows. A book that in the words of its author, is dedicated “to everyone, the good guys and the bad guys”.

Pacheco was born in 1949 in the bosom of a working-class family, in that amalgam of houses that ran next to the Manzanares river, with those waters that still carried the post-war hunger and misery through its bed. The Alexander Dumas street, in which he spent his childhood, today overlooks an empty lot full of mountains of sand, a Martian landscape that for decades housed the bulk of the Vicente Calderón. It was the genesis of the stadium that displaced the Pacheco family until Carabanchel in the early 60’s, to a house “next to the jail” that would mark the adolescence of the young boxer.

The jail

It was easy money that first attracted a Pacheco to crime who He was not even 18 years old when he first entered the prison. Bad company and motorcycle jerks were the one way ticket, then many more would come. Pharmacy robberies, bad luck and the brand of those who already have the “smell of bars” in the body they exerted their particular gravitational field on the young man.

The death of his brother and his desire to see him fight marked Pacheco in his repentance. Exercised altar boy in prison services, in that strange devotion of who only have faith in destiny and he eagerly read the missal, the only reading on his nights in solitary confinement. Thus he lived in those strange corridors, today already disappeared from that place of which also today there is only a barren lot, unable to continue with the story of those who lived behind the bars of Carabanchel.

It was 1969 when Pacheco walked through the prison doors for the last time and ventured into a freedom of which he had been deprived and barely knew, armed only with the notion of “never want to return”. So it was every day Sport’s palaceNor the one that today is adorned with financial epithets, another grayer and under whose flag he could begin to fight with the help of Pampito Rodriguez, his first coach.

The newspapers from Tucuman said at his death in August 78 that “I think a very colorful boxing style “ but also that “he never got rich from boxing.” Pacheco, who did, won his first four fights by KO and confidence made him lose the fifth. Once again, convinced by his fate, he set out to train and prepare to become a professional, to later win the 1971 welterweight championship in view of Moses Fajardo.


Boxing had in those years a patina of glory in our country, only a year before Urtain won the European heavyweight title against the German beast Jurgen Blin. The regime was full of praise for the Basque and the fame of the boxers was broadcast in every NODE that summarized the fighting, with those extradiegetic narrations and musics of the Francoism puerile and sing-song.

From this time, Pacheco fondly remembers the actor Tony Leblanc, who in those years organized famous boxing evenings. In his role as organizer of fights he was always for the boxer “the most humane and compassionate of all”.

The same year of his triumph, Pacheco had to fulfill his military service, thus he entered the Legion, the body that had haunted him since childhood. He went up Ceuta dressed in olive green and under the puffed cap on his chin. He spent a few years there that would forever bind him to the African body. During his days of service he participated in many fights, winning the majority and obtaining congratulations from his superiors.

Via Vicente Gil, Franco’s personal physician, the caudillo met the fighter, made him call El Pardo and encouraged him to wear the legionnaire’s cap in combat. This is how he went up to the ring on combat nights guarded by two lines of green soldiers who greeted him like a Caesar.

Dum Dum Pacheco

Autsider Comics

During a leave in Madrid and getting ready at the Palacio de los Deportes, the boxer Command Ramos He asked Pacheco to help him train for the lightweight final. The Mexican raved about him for being “who had ever hit him harder” and this was growing before the national sports press.

He went back to jail but this time invited for the same ones who put him “in the shade” for so long. Like a “Frank Sinatra” he appeared on the tables of the Carabanchel jail to dedicate words of joy and freedom to his former colleagues. From the stalls, the boxer remembered the wild shouts of the inmates: “Pacheco, when you are with a girl remember me”.

The boxer, in his own words, he only knew true friendship “in prison and in the Legion”. Friendships that when they were reunited brought back old memories, some better than others. Of glorious battles in Ceuta against Kid Dongo, from knock outs just starting the meeting or failed cellmate escapes.

Like that of Arcañiz, who with a ladder crossed the wall one foggy day and was returned to his cell 30 days later by the ‘tip-off’ of someone he believed to be a confidant. Wave of Carrión, the infamous prisoner in charge of the surveillance of the punishment cells, where on one occasion Pacheco spent more than 120 days locked up, opening his head against the walls of his narrow cell in order to be taken to the infirmary and to be able to “take the air”.

Piss Blood

The end of the Franco regime and the arrival of democracy whetted the appetites of the public who threw themselves en masse to see Maria Jose Cantudo cross the back room. The hungry Spanish cinema saw in juvenile delinquents and ‘lost sheep’ a way to satisfy an audience that was only satisfied with the sordid.

In 1976 it appeared Piss Blood for the first time in our countrys, the copies took over the newsstands that sold the hardness of the fighter’s life as if it were a special edition of The case it was. From the Spain that after 40 years began to wake up from its “holy siesta” as Cecilia said, Pacheco left ready for what the 80s would drag.

'Piss Blood'

‘Piss Blood’

Autsider Comics

In 1977 Dum-Dum Pacheco shared the bill with Tony isbert, Marisa porcel Y Manolo Cal on Drugged Youth. The fighter threw himself into acting in a self-referential role, with the security of those who long before the explosion of the quinqui cinema had already begun to prepare the character. Then others would follow, led by Esteso and Pajares, behind the scenes as a producer or in press appearances, a completely different life.

In 1982 the boxer returned from Almería to Madrid when suffered a serious car accident, five years later he would hang up his gloves for the last time. In those last years the boxer says that he had been invited to participate in a fight in Las Vegas, the organizer was Frank Sinatra. Sammy Davis Jr He spoke several times with Pacheco to specify the date, although the accident ended up truncating everything.

Eventually, he gave up boxing to focus on other lives and trades, all of strength. This is how he ended up living in Conde Orgaz, as Security agent at the residence of Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia; in Benidorm like night businessman or in Oviedo boxeando con Mickey Rourke.

Piss Blood is written with both fists and the handwriting of José Luis Pacheco, as a story on the way between the patibular and the evangelical, a hard and real story in which nothing is sweetened. A reality that at times becomes ugly and makes us turn our mouths as a sign of displeasure or rejection, but that encourages you to continue reading as if it were a carabanchelero Sandokan.