On July 30, 1977 middleweight champion Carlos Monzon stepped into the ring in one last time as he took on the challenger Rodrigo Valdéz for his WBA and WBC middleweight titles.
Monzon (86-3-9, 59 KOs) had been champion since 1971 after beating Ernie Griffin and had been successfully defending the title over the likes of Jean Claude Bouttier, Tony Licata and Tony Mundine. He originally was stripped of the WBC title for not facing Valdéz in 1975, but met him and won the belt back in 1976.
The first contest had issues surrounding it, as Valdez’s brother had been killed in a knifing incident five days before the fight and Valdez himself struggled to make weight taking six attempts at the weigh-in to make it. Monzon (59-5-2, 40 KOs) would come out on top by unanimous decision in this one over 15 rounds. Due to a lack of opponent’s for Monzon, he was offered a huge purse to rechallenge Valdez.
The rematch would turn out to be a different contest in Stade Louis II, Fontvieille, Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Valdez came in the aggressor early on and took the fight to Monzon. It was early on that was the game plan for him in this fight.
In the second round, Valdez dropped Monzon with a great right cross. It was only the second time in his long, storied career that he was ever knocked down. Monzon had shown signs of slipping throughout the first seven rounds and was losing the first half of this fight. However, Monzon came roaring back, outboxing and out landing Valdez the entire second half of the battle, earning him a unanimous decision victory.
It would be the 14th and final successful defense of his title, as Monzon immediately retired after the fight.
Monzon would be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990 and passed away in a car accident in 1995. Valdez would continue fighting until 1980 before passing away in 2017.
In his swan’s song, you can see why Monzon was considered on the greatest at middleweight, check out his last performance below with the fight analyzed by legendary broadcaster “Fight Doctor” Ferdie Pacheco.