Carlos Monzon

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Name: Carlos Monzon
Alias: Escopeta
Birth Name: Carlos Roque Monzón
Hometown: Santa Fe, Santa Fe, Argentina
Birthplace: San Javier, Santa Fe, Argentina
Died: 1995-01-08 (Age:52)
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 181cm
Reach: 193cm
Pro Boxer: Record

Career Overview

Monzon vs. Emile Griffith in 1973
Monzon vs. Rodrigo Valdez in 1976

Carlos Monzon was born in Argentina on August 7, 1942. One of twelve children, he grew up in the slums of San Javier, a city in the Argentine province of Santa Fe. At age six, he began selling newspapers, shining shoes and delivering milk to earn money. By his early teens, he began boxing at a local gym under the tutelage of trainer Amilcar Brusa, who later described Monzon as "a skinny kid with rage in his eyes."

In his book Boxing's Greatest Fighters, boxing historian Bert Sugar wrote: "Carlos Monzon was hardly the off-the-rack pug with a nose you could hang your hat on. Instead, he had the reserved looks of a matinee idol, one with delicately marked brows, an unmarked face, and a remarkable body that could serve as a model for Hollywood beefcake pictures. And he fought the same way, with a coolness that could no more be melted than ice welded, his style a cross between aggressive caution and cautious aggression. With a long right hand thrown in for good measure."

Monzon turned professional in 1963. After twenty fights, Monzon's record was 16-3 with one no contest. He avenged all three defeats as well as 8 of his 9 draws and his one no contest then went undefeated for the remainder of his 100-bout career, retiring with a record of 87-3-9 with one no contest. The only man he never defeated was Ubaldo Marcos Bustos as Bustos retired in 1968 without giving Monzon a rematch.

Monzon outpointed Jorge Jose Fernandez to win the FAB (Federación Argentina de Boxeo) Middleweight Championship in 1966. The following year, he outpointed Fernandez again to win the South American Middleweight Championship.

On November 7, 1970, Monzon fought Nino Benvenuti for the World Middleweight Championship. The fight took place in Benvenuti's home country of Italy. It was Monzon's first fight outside of South America. Monzon, a 3-1 underdog, stopped Benvenuti in twelve rounds to win the championship. The bout was named Fight of the Year by The Ring magazine.

Michael Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of The Ring wrote: "He became a star overnight, a dashing figure who would hold his title until he retired in 1977 and become an enormous cultural figure in his country and beyond. Monzon traveled in social circles he could never have imagined as a child, partying with movie stars in Paris and the upper crust back in Buenos Aires. He acted in movies and became a regular guest on television. His romance with glamorous Argentine actress Susana Gimenez captivated the masses. And he was rich. He drove the most-expensive cars and dressed in fine suits, giving him a look that fit his new-found status."

Over the next several years, Monzon successfully defended the title against Benvenuti, Emile Griffith (twice), Denny Moyer, Jean-Claude Bouttier (twice), Tom Bogs, Bennie Briscoe (for whom he had a soft spot, always greeting Briscoe with a big smile and firm handshake), and Jose Napoles.

The World Boxing Council stripped Monzon of their middleweight title in 1974. WBC President Ramon Velazquez said Monzon refused to fight Rodrigo Valdez, the WBC's top-ranked contender. He also said Monzon left Paris hurriedly without taking a drug test following his second fight against Bouttier and had refused to pay a $5,000 fine levied by the European Boxing Union.

Monzon remained the World Boxing Association middleweight champion and successfully defended the title against Tony Mundine, Tony Licata and Gratien Tonna. The fight against Licata took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was Monzon's only fight in the United States.

Monzon fought Rodrigo Valdez, who won the vacant WBC middleweight title against Bennie Briscoe, in 1976. Monzon won by a fifteen-round unanimous decision to unify the WBA and WBC titles. They had a rematch the following year, and Monzon once again won by a fifteen-round unanimous decision.

Monzon retired after the Valdez rematch. He was the Middleweight Champion of the World for almost seven years and defend the title fourteen times against eleven contenders. All these numbers were division records at the time.

Imprisonment & Death

Monzon and Alicia Muniz

Michael Rosenthal wrote: "Monzon’s life changed radically because of his success in boxing but he retained elements of his difficult youth, including an inner rage and a tendency toward violence. His temper often got the better of him. He was known to be physically abusive to women. He did some jail time early in his career after a brawl. And he was shot twice — in the arm and shoulder blade — by his equally ill-tempered wife in 1973 but recovered to continue fighting."

In February 1988, Monzon was charged with killing his common-law wife, Alicia Muniz, during a fight in which she fell to her death from a second-story balcony. Monzon also fell from the balcony and suffered two broken ribs and a broken clavicle. He claimed Muniz, whom he met at an airport in 1979, threw herself from the balcony, and he had fallen trying to stop her. However, an autopsy showed Muniz had been beaten and strangled to the point of unconsciousness before she fell. The trial created a media frenzy in Argentina, similar to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in the United States. A three-person tribunal found Monzon guilty in July 1989 and sentenced him to eleven years in prison.

Monzon died in January 1995 when his car ran off a country road and overturned. He was 52. Monzon was at the wheel during the crash, which killed another passenger and injured a third. He was returning to Las Flores Prison. Monzon, on furlough for good behavior, was allowed to spend weekends in his hometown of San Javier.

Monzon is buried at Cementerio Municipal de Sante Fe in Santa Fe, Argentina.

There is a statue of Monzon in Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, the capital city of the province of Santa Fe. It portrays Monzon, wearing his championship belt, with his hands raised in victory. There is also a monument at the site of his death.

Awards & Recognition


External Links

Preceded by:
Nino Benvenuti
WBA Middleweight Champion
1970 Nov 7 – 1977 Aug 29
Succeeded by:
Rodrigo Valdez
Preceded by:
Nino Benvenuti
WBC Middleweight Champion
1970 Nov 7 – 1974 Feb 9
Succeeded by:
Rodrigo Valdez
Preceded by:
Rodrigo Valdez
WBC Middleweight Champion
1976 Jun 26 – 1977 Aug 29
Succeeded by:
Rodrigo Valdez