1976-06-26 Carlos Monzon w pts 15 Rodrigo Valdez, Louis 11 Stadium, Monte Carlo, Monaco - WORLD

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1976-06-26 Carlos Monzon w pts 15 Rodrigo Valdez, Louis 11 Stadium, Monte Carlo, Monaco - WORLD. Referee: Raymond Baldeyrou. Scorecards: 146-144, 147-145, 148-144. Despite the fight being close, most good judges saw the WBA champion as the winner due to him standing up to Valdez’s best shots before coming back with even bigger punches of his own. The fight certainly lived up to expectation, being one of the division’s most exciting since the late 1950s and Valdez (160) was well in the running right up to the 14th when Monzon (159½) floored him for the compulsory ‘eight’ count with a heavy right to the jaw. If Valdez had not made such a slow start, regardless of him gradually eating away at Monzon’s lead over the ensuing rounds, things might have been different, but following the knockdown his fate was sealed even though he fired back hard in the final session.

Having unified the title, it was reported that Monzon was looking for a March defence after getting back in to training at the start of the New Year. He admitted that all the training was beginning to get to him and he would now be concentrating just on title defences, nothing else. At the beginning of 1977, reports came out of South Africa that Monzon would be defending his title against Elijah Makathini in March or June, which was immediately followed by news of Monzon breaking the big toe on his right foot. Shortly afterwards it was announced that a return against Valdez, supported by both the WBA and WBC, had been agreed and would take place in July.