Interview with Amilcar Brusa about Carlos Monzon
By Scoop Malinowski

What were the strengths and weaknesses of Carlos Monzon?

Brusa:  "He had more strengths than weaknesses. He was a very practical fighter. One of the best practical persons in the world. Every move that he made was appropriate. Whether he was moving left or right, forwards or backwards, he was always giving his shots. One of the most practical fighters in the world. In 101 fights, in all his fights, he never had any cuts or bruises in his face. People were looking for him to make movies, he was very handsome. Once he started boxing, his many doors opened."

When was Monzon at his very best?

Brusa:  "He was fighting for the title with Benvenuti. That night he started slowly throwing his punches and the 12th round he was victorious (1970). He had other fights with Rocky Valdez, Emile Griffith, Jean Claude Bouttier and Tony Mundine. In Argentina he fought only three times (as champion). He was a great professional. In Argentina they would fight every Friday night. However, Monday, he was again at the gym. At his very best, one year he made 15 fights (1967). If he had fight on Saturday, after that on Monday he was at gym training."

How would Monzon have done against Marvin Hagler? What would have been your strategy against Hagler? There are stories that Monzon considered coming out of retirement to face Hagler.

Brusa:  "After two years - after Monzon retired (in 1977 at 35) - Monzon called me on the phone telling me they offered $3 million to fight Hagler. My response was, Since you retired two years ago, you can't just go out and do a fight. He'd have to start at the beginning all over again. At that time Carlos Monzon was working at a theater. I told him he couldn't concentrate on boxing as a person working in a theater. At that time the producer offered him a girl to work with. At night he went out to eat every night. They had intimate nights until 7 in the morning. To train, he'd have to be up at 6 in the morning every day to run. He couldn't compete as a boxer again while also working at a theater. He took the advice that I gave him and that was that."

What would have been the strategy against Hagler?

Brusa:  "The common thing - which would be the natural defense from Monzon. With his...any uppercuts and left punches. Any natural thing Monzon would do. But most of all his intelligence. Every time Carlos Monzon went to the ring he had confidence and belief that he would win. Also keep in mind that Hagler was a very good boxer. It didn't matter who Carlos Monzon was facing, he would always win. "

What would be your strategy for Carlos Monzon against Bernard Hopkins?

Brusa:  "There's a difference. Hopkins - when he fought Oscar De La Hoya - within six rounds, he didn't throw more than 200 punches. And if he did, they weren't effective. However, Monzon was throwing several punches. Keep in mind Hopkins is a great champion which I admire a lot - because Hopkins overcame Monzon's record in title defenses."

Who was the best out of Hagler, Hopkins and Monzon?

Brusa:  "Monzon. (Why?) Without keeping in mind Hopkins is a phenomenal boxer...because every one has their own greatness at his own time."

What else can you tell us about Monzon?

Brusa:  "He was the type of person who was very grateful and thankful to boxing. He always had this great feeling for the sport. I feel I was the professor and taught my student well. Boxing helped Carlos Monzon open many doors to the world."

Who are your favorite boxers to watch today?

Brusa:  "I have several. I especially like to watch the Mexican boxers - Erik Morales, Barrera, De La Hoya. I wish there would be a lot of boxers like Oscar De La Hoya. He made many of his opponents get something out of boxing. I liked him best at welter and lighter, not middleweight. I also like Klitschko. He's a great champion and a great person. I'm very impressed with him. I met him and got to talk to him. They were admired by all the people who saw them here. (Do you like their boxing style?) Their style is very European. When they face some other type of boxers, the Klitschkos put the opponents in the danger zone."

What was the greatest moment of your career?

Brusa:  "That every time I helped someone win a world championship, that was a big satisfaction. In this sport, I think it makes people change the type of lifestyle. People in general that were born without culture or norms can actually alter their life with luxurious lifestyles, flying in planes and traveling around the world. That's why I'm proud of my world champions."

What was your most painful boxing moment?

Brusa:   "When Monzon killed himself which really hurt me a lot."

Do you remember the first time you saw Monzon?

Brusa:  "I was training one day and Monzon came to the gym. By then he had had eight fights, lost one of those to one of my students (lost his 8th pro fight to Antonio Aguilar L 10 in 1963).

That's when he asked me to train him. Of his 101 professional fights, he lost three. I was not at ringside for any of those three losses (to Felipe Cambeiro, Alberto Massi, I was out of the country, not there. I never saw Monzon lose. As he was one step at a time progressing, it came to one point when Argentina had no faith in him. The people didn't have faith. Reporters didn't have faith in him. I did. (Why didn't they?) Because they wouldn't see that special gift in him that he was a great boxer. I always saw it."