View Full Version : Cigarrette Smokers...

07-31-2005, 07:02 AM
I read online yesterday that Carlos Monzon was a five pack a day smoker all through his adult life. During training for fights he cut down to 2.5 packs a day. His trainer said in all his years with Monzon this never altered and he never saw Monzon out of breath. Now how much of this is true or how much is stretching it is open to speculation. However, he was a heavy smoker and he did rule his division for many years. How much of a greater fighter he might have been if he did not smoke is another question.

How many former champs and title contenders were serious smokers ? I've read about Graziano. We all know about Ketchel. Of course Mayorga. Who else ?

I'm facinated with Monzon and find it so difficult to find more information on him than the basic. Partly because he was a foreign fighter and had most of his bouts overseas. It is almost impossible to find details about his life that are not writen in spanish. He seemed to be a facinating guy. I open to more info frm those who have it.

07-31-2005, 10:39 AM
Yeah, Monzon is a strange one. He had an inner rage which probably necessitated a calming down smoke outside the ring - and kept him going inside the ring, though he did train hard. Most people (with money) smoked when it was fashionable in the Bogart era. I've seen a photo of Jimmy Braddock and Tommy Farr both puffing away at the press conference, so Graziano is no great surprise.
I know Flash Elorde essentially smoked himself to death after retiring from boxing.

07-31-2005, 12:00 PM
I've smoked for around twenty years, but never more than around a pack a day. I don't see how people can smoke two packs a day, much less five! My aunt smokes around five, or six packs a day...hell...thats about as costly as a cocaine habit with the price of cigarettes today!

08-01-2005, 01:05 AM
What I read in an interview for an Argentinian magazine and also later from his trainer Amilcar Brusa was that he smoked 3 packs a day and that he had all the wine and food he pleased up until the second Griffith fight (73), where he claims he suddenly felt as if he was ready to cough up a lung. I believe he cut down drastically after that. Still, I think he already had some 90 pro bouts by then, so 90 professional boxing fights pushing a 3 pack a day habit would certainly add credit to the alleged superhuman qualities of this man.

Many years ago I was in Argentina and visited his hometown of Santa Fe. One afternoon I strolled around the Barranquitas neighborhood, where Monzon grew up and where you can see the ever familiar reality of 3rd world life. The unholy trinity of poverty, violence and drugs...They say the place hasn't changed much since Monzon was a 12 year old helping the household economy selling newspapers and cigarrettes on the streets. The spot where he sold these was right across from the "Union" soccer stadium, so business was good, specially on matchdays..this meant that he had to literally fight for a spot every other paperboy in town wanted. So apparently that's where the star was born. The gym he joined when he was 16 is only about 5 blocks from that place. This is also the place where he met his first and only trainer, Amilcar Brusa, himself a legend in Argentina.

The story goes on and we all know how it ended...Monzon's life is truly a screenwriter's dream, from my perspective even more dramatic than the candid "Cinderella Man". A few months before his death and while he was still in prison his longtime friend Alain Delon had talked to him about the possibility of shooting Carlos Monzon, the movie, but it never materialized.

I think the fact that he was from a foreign country and virtually overlooked by mainstream boxing have a lot to do with what HEGrant is complaining about: For those in the U.S. who have admired his quality as a boxer there is very little they can find about Carlos Monzon, the man.

08-01-2005, 10:10 AM
Thank you for that info.

08-01-2005, 10:41 AM
I loved Monzon as he was Champion when I was a kid. I always felt kind of possesive about him-particularly during the Hagler era and later with Hopkins. I rate him as the Best Middleweight Ever-bar none. The guy had Matinee Idol rugged looks to go along with his machismo. But; there is no doubt denying he was not a good person outside the squared circle. He was a gangster, a woman beater, and a murderer. He pimped a string of girls early on and would give them beatings and savagely rape them if he caught them holding out on him. The fellow was just not a good person-but I loved him as a fighter and Champion. Emile Griffith said of him: "He was a mean and nasty person who would spit in your eye!". I don't think a movie could be made about the guy that could gloss over his criminal history and would not be appealing to anyone except us hardcore fight fans. Just my thoughts.

08-01-2005, 10:42 AM
Carlos was no angel, true, but the fact of the matter is that movies are not just made about exemplary citizens. And it has also been a while since Hollywood told us it was ok to root for the bad guys, a gentleman named Francis Ford Coppola had a lot to do with that.

Roberto Aqui
08-01-2005, 12:15 PM
We were building a log home for a big banker on what was becoming his exotic game ranch. The foreman of the place had worked in some big zoos, but before that helped to train boxers and claimed to have had some experiences with Monzon. He described him as an animal in the most fearsome sense. That pretty much jelled with my perception of him from what I read and what little I saw in the ring.

Jungle Jim also had plenty of animal stories about life in a big zoo. He was real popular around lunch break. That was a great job while it lasted. We also had a Indian on the crew straight off the OK reservation who couldn't work a lick, but boy could he get drunk while we drove him home. He had us in tears with Indian jokes and stories about his old man on the reservation.

08-01-2005, 12:16 PM
That was interesting stuff, Robeto.
I hear what bron is saying about the movies; but Carlos didn't have any redeeming qualities at all from what I hear. It would be hard to get someone to resemble and fight as well as he did, though. Look at ""Hurricane": that was terrible ring choreography. Washington in no part resembled Carter. Monzon was just so unique it would be very hard to find someone passable as him IMO. Plus; what studio would financially back a project like that? Perhaps one in Latin America-but from having family in Mexico I can tell you guys right now that Carlos was not thought of well at all over there, at least.

08-01-2005, 03:32 PM
Wow, I had no idea that he was thart type of criminal. I thought the thing with his wife was a stupid act of passion.

08-01-2005, 07:10 PM
The killing of his wife really was a stupid act of passion.

The idea that he was a neanderthal who enjoyed abusing women has been exploited by some media who love to depict and sell the Latin Macho savage. He was just a controversial man and a product of 3rd world slums. he may have had a different set of values than most so called "civilized people" have, but that doesnt exactly make him a criminal.

karl, we agree in that Monzon's life would probably be very difficult to sell for Hollywood. Just like Monzon was a great champ away from U.S. rings they would have to make a great movie away from Hollywood (and thank god for that!)

As for the pimping and raping, Ive heard it before. But as far as Im concerned they have the same credibility as so many other stories about latin champs. If the History of Boxing was to be taught in schools Latin Mythology would have to make a different subject altogether. Monzon, Bonavena, Duran, Benitez and lately the horrendous Ricardo Mayorga belong in there, among so many others.

08-01-2005, 10:08 PM
I'm glad to see you've changed your mind. Always glad to be of assistance.

08-01-2005, 10:09 PM
I didn't say I changed my mind bro, I said that was well put:D
He was The Fighter of the 70's: above Ali and Duran.
A Supreme Champion who is in my book one of the top 10 Fighters Ever.
I have taken a lot of criticism over the years for "overrating" him from some folks-but lately they are beginning to see things my way about him

08-02-2005, 12:19 AM
Well put broncano.
Carlos Monzon was one of my True Ring Idols.
Again; IMO no middleweight comes close to him.

08-02-2005, 01:49 AM
A top contender in the welterweight and middleweight
divisions during the 1920s and 1930s, Dave Shade,
loved to smoke cigars in training camp. A number
of reporters made this observation. In fact, he
was seen smoking a cigar while punching the
speedbag. As a sparring partner for Jack Dempsey,
Shade was seen puffing on a cigar between rounds
while sparring with the Manassa Mauler.

- Chuck Johnston

08-02-2005, 05:06 AM
Incidentally, Shade also fought in Monzon's homeland. He beat Peruvian Eduardo "KO" Brisset and fought a draw against Cuban legend Esteban Gallard a.k.a KID CHAROL in Buenos Aires. That was Charol's last fight, as he passed away a few months after that, developing a case of TB. The Shade-Charol bout was considered to be the most memorable fight to ever take place in Argentina for a long time.

Ronald Lipton
08-02-2005, 08:17 PM
Add two more great fighters to the smoker list while training.

I could not believe my eyes but for sure it is true. Anyone that knows them will tell you. Carter addicted to them in his youth while incarcerated and Joey from NY and Philly smoked like chimney. They could have been even better without it.

Rubin Carter
Joey Giardello

08-03-2005, 12:32 AM
I remember seeing a picture of Tommy Hearns smoking. He was sitting on a rubdown table and Ray Leonard was poking his head through the curtain apparently jeering him. I don't know how any athlete can smoke. I can't even sit near someone smoking without it choking me. I guess it just affects some more than others.

08-03-2005, 11:48 AM
Mando Ramos smoked as well when he was fighting.
He cut down in camp to one after dinner he told me.
Leon Spinks smoked Kool Milds when he was fighting-probably still does. I know Don Jordan was a very heavy smoker and it amazed Jackie McCoy that it apparently didn't affect his wind that badly.

Ronald Lipton
08-03-2005, 02:15 PM
It is the worst possible thing you can do to your lungs.

Each puff of cigarette smoke is an actual poison which causes irreparable damage each time. I saw a program several weeks ago where healthy lungs and various stages of lungs which were subjected to smoke where laid on a table in bright light on tv.

There is no getting away from it. Whoever smoked while training and did ok, could have done much better without it.

I cannot even walk past someone who is smoking in the open air without coughing and wretching.

Pipe smoke doesn't bother me, good cigars either, but cigarettes are just a horrible smell, yellow teeth, and death to anyone around it.

I know the others are too, but the smell is not as bad, I mean cigars like a cherry Hav A Tampa e.g.

08-03-2005, 07:22 PM
I'm with you.

08-04-2005, 04:52 PM
A few years before Dave Shade's death, there
was an article about him in a Pittsfield, MA
newspaper. According to the article, Shade
was in good physical shape, but was suffering
from memory loss. But Irene Shade, Dave's wife
of sixty or so years at the time, and Robert Shade,
Dave's and Irene's grandson, were sources for
the article.

As I recall, there were articles in Ring Magazine
about Dave Shade in 1922, the early 1930s, and
the early 1950s. The 1922 article was about Dave
and his two brothers, George and Billy. At the time,
Dave was a young world-class welterweight. In
the early 1930s article, Dave said that he didn't
want his son, William, to be a boxer.

During the the early 1950s, Wilbur Wood found
Dave and his wife running a new motel in Florida.
Of course, Wood remembered Dave well because
of his controversial World Welterweight Title bout
with Mickey Walker. Dave lost a disputed decision
and Wood would write, "Don't bet on fights" for
many years afterwards.

- Chuck Johnston

08-04-2005, 06:11 PM
If they did a movie about Jake LaMotta (Raging Bull), I believe they could do a movie about a character like Monzon's. However, Raging Bull had a lot going for it: a built-in audience - Italian-Americans who remember their golden days in boxing; a great filmmaker, Scorsese; and two great actors, DeNiro and Pesci.

Also, I totally agree with what Ron says about cigarette smoking - just a vile and self-destructive habit.

08-06-2005, 06:30 AM
Anyone that smokes, which I do, inhale and blow the smoke through a piece of white fabric and see what it looks like...that's what covers our lungs with every hit...it is a nasty-ass habit...I don't mind the smell of a lit cigarette, but the smell that it leaves on your clothes and in your house is awful, but it has been one of the toughest things that I have ever tried to quit...and I have done a lot of unhealthy bad shit in my life that certainly make you feel a lot better than cigarettes do, yet I was able to quit the other stuff and I have quit smoking for as much as a year only to end right with another marlboro.

08-06-2005, 03:29 PM
You remember what Mark Twain said about quitting smoking, don't you? He claimed it was easy and he himself had quit as many as five times in a day. PeteLeo.