Carlos Monzón is considered one of the greatest Argentinian boxers of all time. His legacy in Argentina is on par with the likes of Diego Maradona, Juan Manual Fangio, and Lionel Messi. As dominant a fighter Monzón was inside the ring, the toughest fight he endured was the one against his own violent personality outside of the ring.
Monzón had a troubled upbringing in Argentina, and those scarring memories stuck with him until his tragic death in 1995. His violent tendencies and inability to control his emotions helped him greatly as a boxer, but it caused a bevy of problems in his personal life.
Carlos Monzón was one of the best boxers of the 1970s
Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Forman highlighted the golden age of boxing in the 1970s, but Carlos Monzón deserves to be in the same sentence as those all-time greats.
Monzón turned pro in 1963 at the age of 20. He lost three times in his first 19 fights, but he never lost another fight for the rest of his career. He finished with 87 wins and never got knocked out in 14 years as a pro. Boxing legends like Mike Tyson praised Monzón for his skill in the ring.
“I always loved Carlos Monzón. He was a tough guy, for real, a guy from the streets,” Tyson told Olé. “He didn’t talk much, he didn’t need to. The ring belonged to him.”
Monzón was even more violent outside of the ring
Monzón quickly became rich and famous in the boxing world. He was one of the most feared boxers in the world, but his rough upbringing never left his memory. It caused him to drink often, and Monzón turned violent whenever he was drunk.
He was abusive to almost every woman he was romantically involved with. His first wife was so fed up with the abusive behavior that she shot him twice in 1973. Monzón survived the wounds and returned to fighting shortly after.
Monzón continued to beat the women he dated, and he dated a ton. Becoming one of Argentina’s most popular public figures brought plenty of interested romantic partners. The last of which was Alicia Muñíz.
Muñíz became Monzón’s second wife and the two had a child together. The relationship turned violent and the couple separated after a few years, but that wasn’t the end of their story.
The ex-married couple reunited in 1988 in Mar del Plata. After a physical argument, Monzón threw Muñíz off a second floor balcony and killed her. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for murder.
Monzón died before he even got out of prison
Carlos Monzón’s violent personality didn’t just cost him the life of his ex-wife, it cost him his own life too.
Six years after the murder, Monzón was granted a day’s leave of absence from prison to see his family. On the drive back to jail, Monzón lost control of his vehicle and crashed. He died before anyone arrived to help.
The Argentinian people mourned the loss of their champion fighter, but many believed Monzón got what he deserved. He was constantly violent to his girlfriends and wives, and it cost him his life. Boxing journalist Carlos Irusta explained the public reaction to Monzón’s death.
“There were others who, on the sporting side, saw him as a great champion, and as someone who looked after his family and cared about them,” Irusta told Wander-Argentina. “He always maintained that he couldn’t remember what had happened that night with Alicia. When I went to his funeral in Santa Fe, people sang, ‘dale campeón’ (Go champion).”
Monzón may have been a legend in the ring, but his violent personal life caused him to be remembered as an abuser and murderer instead of a champion boxer.