1976-06-26 Carlos Monzon w pts 15 Rodrigo Valdez, Louis 11 Stadium, Monte Carlo, Monaco - WORLD
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. 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 training at the start of the New Year. With all the hard work beginning to get to him, Monzon admitted that 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, would take place in July.