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Boxer, Promoter Babe Griffin Dies

July 23, 1996 GMT

LOS GATOS, Calif. (AP) _ Babe Griffin, a boxer and fight promoter who was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990, is dead at the age of 88.

Griffin died Thursday of an apparent heart attack in a Los Gatos convalescent home.

Born Victor Galiotto in 1907 in San Jose, Griffin was the eighth of nine children of Sicilian immigrants Nick and Cynthia Galiotto.

He earned the nickname Babe as a San Jose High School baseball player in the early 1920s after hitting home runs in consecutive games. Although he switched sports, Griffin kept the name so that his mother, who didn’t approve of Murphy and his brothers’ boxing, wouldn’t recognize his name when he fought.

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Griffin’s boxing career spanned nearly 60 years, earning him the title Mr. Boxing in Santa Clara Valley. He was 83 when he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

``Babe had to fight for everything he got,″ said Louie Duino, longtime sports editor of the San Jose Mercury News. ``He couldn’t reach heavyweights, so he’d jump up in the air to hit them.″

Griffin’s promoting career also had its tough moments. As a fledgling promoter, he was forced to return to managing fighters several times.

Still, he had his share of successes, including promoting exhibition matches in San Jose for former heavyweight champions Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis. As late as the 1980s, he promoted fights in San Jose and Sacramento with Hector Camacho, Bobby Chacon and Pete Ranzany.

Upon his induction into the hall of fame, Griffin said he was honored to be mentioned with the Dempseys and Louises he promoted.

But he wasn’t always thrilled with boxing.

``In recent years I kind of lost interest in boxing _ people aren’t true to their word anymore,″ he said. ``I think someday the sport may be outlawed. But over the years I’ve known a lot of great people in boxing. I will say that.″