Carlos Monzon vs. Sergio Martinez fantasy fight: Battle of the Argentine champs

Credit: Will Hart - HBO Fantasy Promotions is proud to present a contender for Middleweight Battle of the Ages:  Carlos Monzon vs. Sergio Martinez. The two Argentinean middleweight champs meet in the prize ring to settle once and for all which one stands atop the mountain of their country’s championship lineage.

The Battlers

Carlos Monzon (87-3-9, 59 KOs) is on most  list of all-time top 10 middleweights (I have him in ninth place).  In addition to winning 31 fights in a row, 24 by KO or TKO from 1969 to his retirement eight years later, Monzon won the middleweight crown by 12th-round TKO of Nino Benvenuti in 1970’s Fight of the Year.

He reigned for seven years, undefeated over 14 title defenses, including a second win over Benvenuti in 1971, and defeats of former welterweight and middleweight champ Emile Griffith in 1971 and 1973.  He shared with Muhammad Ali the honor of being 1972’s Fighter of the Year.

Monzon died at age 52 in 1995 as the result of a car accident.  But what if he hadn’t?  What if he were alive and well, and in his prime?  He is!  And is about to enter the ring to face the premier middleweight of our time:  Sergio Martinez.

Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) had his pro debut in 1997, winning his first 17 fights (save for one draw).  Following his 2000 loss to Antonio Margarito, the southpaw won 28 bouts over eight years, before a controversial draw with Kermit Cintron and a disputed loss to Paul Williams, both in 2009.

He avenged his loss to Williams by knocking him out in the second round of their 2010 rematch.  Taking the WBC and WBO titles from Kelly Pavlik the same year, Martinez has won his last five matches, most recently over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September.

[Also See: Sergio Martinez vs. Top 10 Middleweights in History]

Monzon vs. Martinez: The Battle

Credit: Will Hart - HBO

Despite the usual pre-fight trash talk, Monzon and Martinez hold each other in high regard. As Martinez said in a recent interview, his bout with Monzon will “be my hardest fight ever.”  Not surprising, then, that the first round is tentative, with more measuring than punching.

But when the patty-cake-patty-cake-baker’s-man continues into the second round, the crowd boos and hisses.  As if on cue, Monzon shoots out a short left that catches Martinez at the corner of mouth and chin.  Maravilla is hurled onto the ropes, bouncing back and forth as though on a vertical trampoline.

Escopeta is on him so fast that some in the arena think he must have grabbed hold at the time of the shot.  Monzon thumps his opponent with left-right body shots that make the spectators wince and cringe.  But Martinez shoots out a right that catches his opponent just under the eye, following up with shots to elbows and ribs.  Angling to the right for a left hook…there’s the bell.

In the third round, Martinez goes on the defensive.  Always on the move, dodging and weaving, he catches Monzon with jabs to the eyes, nose, and mouth.  Frustrated by an opponent who always seems to be to the side or just out of reach, Monzon throws punches that collide with nothing but air.  The third is a clear and easy win for Maravilla.

The fourth round is very much a repeat performance, though Monzon manages to land with a strangely angled, almost crooked, right cross that smashes into his fellow Argentine’s right shoulder.  Martinez doesn’t show it, but he’s hurt.  Still, he wins the round.

Martinez continues to run literal circles around his opponent in the fifth, alternating jabs to the head with shots to the body.  Monzon once again catches nothing but air.  If only he could get him in a clinch!  Martinez grows in confidence.  “Better to win on points than to lose,” he smiles to himself as he heads back to his corner.

Seeing no reason to fix what ain’t broken, Maravilla continues to fight defensively.  But Monzon has figured out his opponent’s timing.  Using his right arm to block and toss away an incoming left jab, Escopeta simultaneously pivots and throws a downward left that hits Martinez dead center on the chin.  Maravilla is down…but not out.  The ref allows the fight to continue, but neither man gains an advantage as the sixth ticks down to the bell.

Monzon leaps out of his corner at the seventh, knowing that he’s well and truly knocked Martinez from his bicycle.  And, indeed, Maravilla’s shifting from left to right is only buying time — postponing the inevitable, really — for Monzon is cutting off the ring.  Like a wave bringing a log closer and closer to shore, Escopeta is pushing his opponent, leaving him nothing but a corner.

Martinez throws a hasty right, hoping to make his getaway.  Monzon is having none of it.  He throws a right-left combination.  Maravilla covers up, and Monzon goes for the body.  Martinez throws out a stinging right that catches Monzon in the eye.  A left to the mouth, and Martinez makes good his escape.  Monzon follows, but there’s the bell.

What a difference a round makes.  Monzon comes out tired, hands by his side.  Martinez breathes a sigh of relief.  Feinting with his right, he pivots to throw a left hook.  But Monzon, less exhausted and defeated then he’s let on, is faster.

Face-to-face with Martinez, a position Maravilla has sought to avoid since early in the fight, Monzon offers up a seemingly casual, almost languid, left uppercut.  Casual?  Languid?  It picks up Martinez as though he were a rag doll, and tosses him into the ropes. Monzon walks over and starts hitting.  Left-right left-right left-right.  There’s an easy rhythm to it, a cadence.  Martinez is defenseless and helpless, and the ref brings it to a close.

Monzon wins by eighth-round TKO.

As Martinez himself has said:  “Carlos Monzon is at a different level.”  And then some.

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