Remembering Monzon

by
Remembering Monzon
Remembering Monzon

Remembering Monzon

by
Remembering Monzon
Remembering Monzon

“As long as I box, I’ll do it any way I want and with whoever they put in front of me” (Carlos Monzon).   

Once a journalist asked Muhammad Ali’s famous trainer, Angelo Dundee, who was his perfect fighter among his trainees. “There have been many excellent boxers. But if my opinion counts, for me the perfect boxer is, was, Carlos Monzon,” was his laconic and forceful answer.

We remember Dundee’s words because on August 7, Argentina’s Carlos Monzon “Escopeta”, born in San Javier, province of Santa Fe, would have turned 80 years old. Monzon, the mythical middleweight world champion, remembered for having been the most famous, idolized and best Argentine boxer of all time in the rough and tumble discipline of boxing.

FROM MISERY TO BONANZA

Monzon fought professionally between 2/16/1963. He knocked out Ramon Montenegro in 6, in his debut, and on 7/30/77, he defeated Colombian Rodrigo Valdes in Fonteiville, Principality of Monaco. The latter was his hundredth fight (not including almost as many in amateur, years 1959-62) completed a record of 87 wins, 59 by KO, 3 defeats and 9 draws, and 14 successful title defenses (a record for that time, today of Bernard Hopkins’ with 20), since he won on 7/11 of ’70 vs. Italian Nino Benvenuti by KOT12 in Rome for the WBA and WBC belts in his first title shot after winning the Argentine and South American titles against his fellow countryman Jorge Fernandez, by points in both contests.

Family poverty forced him to leave elementary school at the age of 10-12 to work as a shoeshine boy, drinking water vendor, milkman, meat sack loader and the latter served to strengthen a portentous physique of 1.81 meters, 193 centimeters in reach, of pure muscles distributed between an average of 69.85 kilos and 72.56 kilos, division limits. At the age of 16-17 he found in boxing and in the gym of the Union de Santa Fe soccer club the route to fame and bonanza.

Juan Carlos (Tito) Lectoure, the most famous Argentine boxing promoter, owner of Luna Park, the Mecca of boxing in the country, and Amilcar Brusa, a skilled trainer, helped him to open the doors from his first 7 fights in amateur boxing.

Lectuore saw in him a winner and began to hire him against renowned local and foreign opponents. He defeated them all, most of them by knockout, except for defeats on points against his countrymen Antonio Aguilar and Alberto Massi and in Rio de Janeiro against the Brazilian Felipe Cambeiro. He defeated them all three in the rematches. A singular detail in his aggressive way of fighting, besides being an excellent finisher, was to punish the opponent even when he went backwards, something uncommon.

In the first defense of the world belts he repeated against NB in 3 rounds, in Monte Carlo and followed with Emile Griffith (KOT14, September 71), Denny Moyer (KOT5, March 72), Jean Claude Bottier (RTD12, June 72), Tom Bogs (KOT5, August 72), Benny Briscoe (DU15, November 72), Griffith again (DU15, June 73), Bouttier (DU15, September 73), Jose “Mantequilla” Napoles (RTD6, February 74), Tony Mundine (KOT7, October 74), Tony Licata (KOT10, June 75), Gratien Tonna (KO5, December 75) and Rodrigo Valdes (DU, June 76 and July 77). Most of them, for the WBA and WBC scepters, were mounted by the actor Alain Delon.

A SAD AND UNEXPECTED END

After retirement, acting in half a dozen films and a busy love life (he was linked to the model, actress and TV presenter Susana Giménez), he married Alicia Muñiz.

His irascible temper got him involved, with her, in a violent domestic altercation: on February 14, 1988, Valentine’s Day, he arrived home with some extra drinks, argued with Muñiz, beat her uncontrollably and threw her off a balcony.  He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for simple homicide. Seven years, on January 8, 1995, he was granted special routine leave and go back to prison. He was driving at 140 kms/h and his car crashed on the Los Cerrillos road. Death was instantaneous.

His burial took place the following day at the Santa Fe Municipal Cemetery and more than 60 thousand people attended to farewell to the popular former world champion, an unforgettable name for the old history of the sport of gloves and fists.


Rolly Lambert Fogoum, the New WBA Asia King, Aiming to Global Dominance in the Cruiserweight Division



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