Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Remembering Carlos Monzon

Carlos Monzón was born in poverty in the slums of San Javier, Argentina on August 7, 1942. His poor background and difficult childhood instilled a deep anger and hatred in him. He learned early that he loved to fight. Monzón was tall, lanky, and had a strange habit of pushing his punches. He seemed lumber-some in the ring, yet his punches were devastating, his conditioning perfect, and his chin was made of iron. Yet, his somewhat aloof personality, coupled with an almost listless ring style, caused Monzón to toil in the rings of Argentine against mostly 2nd rate fighters. After losing three fights in his first year as a pro, Carlos won over 50 straight fights to earn a number 10 world ranking in 1970.

When Monzón shocked the boxing world by winning the World Middleweight Title by knocking out Nino Benvenuti [1938- ], people rubbed their heads and said, "Carlos Who?!" Fame and fortune was now his. His ego and temper grew. Even though he was married to Beatriz Garcia, he had countless romances on the side among which was actress Susanna Giménez [1944- ]. Monzón acted in eight Italian and French films, including starring in the Euro-western, “El Macho” (1977). He survived a gunshot to the shoulder from his wife; an accident they said and he was accused of breaking a reporter's jaw.

He retired undefeated over the last thirteen years of his career. In retirement boredom set in and so did his demons. He was elected a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame [1980], International Boxing Hall of Fame [1990]. Caught up in the party lifestyle, it came crashing down when he was convicted of killing his common-law-wife Alicia Muniz, in Mar del Plata in 1988 he was sent to prison for 11 years. Monzón died in a car accident while on a prison furlough on January 8, 1995 in Santa Fe Argentina. He was only 52. Today we remember Carlos Monzon on what would have been his 70th birthday.

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