World middleweight champion Carlos Monzon of Argentina defends his title against Colombian Rodrigo Valdes in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on Saturday (30 July) in what promises to be one of the greatest confrontations outside the heavyweight ranks.
World middleweight champion Carlos Monzon of Argentina defends his title against Colombian Rodrigo Valdes in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on Saturday (30 July) in what promises to be one of the greatest confrontations outside the heavyweight ranks. Both men took a stroll on Friday (29 July) in the bustling main street of the tiny Principality before the weather broke with a heavy downpour. Monzon seemed morose, but Valdes bubbled with good humour, slapping supporters on the back and shaking hands with anyone who approached him.
Monzon is determined to score a second victory over Valdes and retire as undefeated champion. It will be a rich payday for him, with half a million dollars to be picked up for the fight. Valdes sees an advantage in the fact that his opponent has not fought since their last meeting, while he himself has had two matches...both of which he won within the distance.
SYNOPSIS: The two boxers started final training on Tuesday (25 July) in this Riviera playground of the international jet set. The challenger, here sporting an orange top and a woolly hat, has been jogging the Louis II stadium as part of his plan to keep in trim for what could prove to be his last fight with Monzon. Earlier this week, the 34-year-old Argentinian told newsmen: "I am tired. I have defended my title 14 times and it is time I got out. Besides, Valdes needs the money."
Monzon has announced his intention to retire several times before, so not many people are taking his latest statement too seriously. As for 30-year-old Valdes, he may or may not need the money, but he knows that this may be his last chance to avenge his last year's defeat when he lost to Monzon on points. So he is going flat out, sparring vigorously and doing body exercises in the stadium.
Valdes says he is confident of winning this time. "I'm in good condition and I don't even think of defeat," he declared.
The fight should have taken place on July 9 but had to be put off because Monzon suffered a slight cut on the left eyebrow while sparring.
Monzon, who will be 35 on August 7, became undisputed champion of the world last year after entering the ring as World Boxing Association champion. He had been stripped of his title by the World Boxing Council and Valdes boxed as the WBC title-holder. Valdes is now ranked as the top challenger by both the WBA and the WBC.
Monzon has been out of the ring since he defeated Valdes. But he is reported to be in peak condition despite his lay-off.