On this date in 1977, Carlos Monzon of Argentina beat Rodrigo Valdez in Monte Carlo by unanimous decision to retain his undisputed middleweight championship of the world. It was the final fight of Monzon’s legendary career.
Monzon had battered Valdez 13 months earlier, to add the Columbian’s WBC belt to his own lineal and WBA straps. Monzon had previously held the WBC belt, but lost it in 1974 due to boardroom politics.
The rematch between Monzon and Valdez was a much closer fight than the first bout, which had occurred only a week after Valdez’s brother was murdered in a bar fight. Valdez came out in a furry for the second fight and handed Monzon the only knockdown of his career. But Monzon hung tough and took control of the second part of the fight, dominating the last eight rounds.
Monzon won the middleweight title in 1970 with a classic, Round 12 TKO of Hall of Famer Nino Benvenuti. His reign as middleweight champion was one of the division’s most dominant of all time. He knocked out Benvenuti in Round 3 of a rematch. He beat Hall of Famer Emile Griffith twice, once by stoppage. He knocked out former junior middleweight champion Denny Moyer and reigning welterweight champion Jose Napoles, along with top contenders Benny Briscoe, Tony Mundine and Tom Bogs. In all, he successfully defended the middleweight crown 14 times.
It is entirely reasonable to view Monzon as the greatest middleweight fighter of all time and he almost certainly belongs in the top five at 160 pounds. He is the greatest pound-for-pound fighter to ever come out of South America. He was a huge star in Argentina, where the entire nation shut down whenever he defended his belts.
Monzon was a noted, international playboy. He starred in movies and was romantically linked to a number of the most beautiful models and actresses in South America. He was famous for beating up Paparazzi who followed him.
Unfortunately, Monzon was prone to leveling his explosive temper at the women in his life, as well. He was well known to physically abuse his long-time mistress, Susana Giminez. In 1988, he murdered his second wife, Uruguayan model Alicia Muniz, when he threw her off from a hotel balcony during a fight. In 1989 he was sentenced to an 11-year term. In 1995, he died in a car crash while on a weekend furlough.