The Great But Tortured Carlos Monzon – 100 And Never Out

08/07/2023 - By James Slater - Comments

100 pro fights, some of them comprising of early, fledgling career defeats, with nine draws and a no-contest. But never, ever a stoppage loss suffered. Not even close. Carlos Monzon, who was born on this day in 1942, was far too tough, he was much too savagely determined, and he was far too hungry for adulation and respect to ever let another man knock him out.

Monzon was uncrackable, hitting him was akin to belting a tree with a gloved hand. The middleweight division has boasted some fine, undamagable chins throughout its history (Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Robinson, Gennady Golovkin) but it’s possible Monzon’s chin, his mandible, was the sturdiest. Of course, there is far more than just a great chin when it comes to the assets that belonged to this Argentine terror (the word applicable in and out of the ring, sadly). Monzon was also an underrated boxer with a cunning ring IQ. Monzon was also a great, at times brutal puncher. And Monzon had a seemingly unlimited stash when it came to stamina.

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Monzon may have been temporarily hurt in the odd fight, and he may have been behind on the cards as he was being outboxed for periods in a fight before coming on to turn things around. But never was Monzon close to running out of gas in a fight. Monzon trained hard, but he also smoked, drank and partied harder than hard. So, it is quite amazing, the great engine Monzon had.

Trained by the legendary Amilcar Brusa, Monzon soon found out, and showed others, he was a born fighter. Raw and ungainly early on (the critics would say throughout his career), the long-armed bruiser who couldn’t stand the idea of losing had a bumpy start to his pro career; with the man who would go on to become globally celebrated by the nickname “Escopeta” (Shotgun) losing his ninth, 14th and 20th fights, with Monzon drawing no less than five of his first 30 bouts.

But Monzon, when he found his groove, when he settled in and began utilising all of his skills, was all but unbeatable, untouchable.

It was a genuine shock when a still-unknown (outside of Argentina) Monzon wrecked superstar Italian, reigning middleweight king Nino Benvenuti, this by 12th round KO in 1970. Monzon arrived in Rome as a stranger, but he left as a man of terror who had smashed the hero. Monzon may have been largely unknown prior to the title shot, but he had more than cut his teeth in hard fights with the likes of “Bad” Bennie Briscoe (a 1967 draw), Juan Aguilar (a draw, a points win, and a stoppage win), and Tom Bethea (a points win).

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Monzon ripped the crown from the beloved Benvenuti, and he had zero thoughts of ever giving it up. 14 title retentions followed, with “King Carlos” defeating superb fighters such as: Benvenuti in a return (in just three rounds), Emile Griffith, Tom Boggs, Briscoe in a return, Griffith again, Jose Napoles, and finally, in two close encounters that were made closer due to Monzon’s age of 35, Rodrigo Valdez.

Monzon went out on top, his place in the history books secure, his place in the hearts of the Argentine people even more so. For a while.

Monzon, who drank as hard as he fought, is perhaps best known today for the horrific violence he committed outside of the ring, most notoriously on his wife Alicia Muniz, this when an out of it Monzon committed murderer in 1988. Sentenced to life in prison, Monzon’s was perhaps the most sensationally sordid fall from grace imaginable.

Today, had he lived, Monzon (who died in a 1995 car smash that occurred as he was on the way back to jail following a furlough that had been granted due to good behaviour) would be 81 years old. Looking back, it’s clear the reckless, often uncontrollable Monzon was never likely to reach old age.

However, in terms of what he accomplished in the ring, Monzon was special, he was untouchable. He will never be forgotten. Monzon’s ring accomplishments will never grow old, just as the fighter never did.

Final record: 87-3-9(59) 1 no-contest.

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