By Per Ake Persson
All-time great former WBC middleweight champion of the world Rodrigo Valdez has passed away in Colombia. Valdez, age 70, died according to Colombian sources after suffering a massive heart attack.
Valdez had his best years when the almost unbeatable Carlos Monzon was at his peak and he lost twice to the Argentinean champion and the first fight was billed as unification fight as Valdez had previously won the vacant WBC title.
One week before the match-up with Monzon, on June 19, 1976, Valdez's brother was murdered during a bar fight in Colombia. Already in Monte Carlo for the fight, Valdez wanted to pull out of it to join his family in mourning, but he was contractually bound to fight Monzon. The WBA and WBC, recognizing that Valdez probably wasn't in the best of moods to fight during his first confrontation with Monzon, ordered a second fight.
Everybody knew that Monzon was the man at 160 pounds in those days and while the WBC titleholder did floor Monzon in the second fight - Valdez was the clear loser at the end.
When Monzon retired in 1975, Valdez fought Hugo Corro twice and lost.
However, during his best a few years earlier in his career Valdez stopped the likes of Bennie Briscoe (he went in fact 3-0 vs Bad Bennie), Gratien Tonna and Max Cohen for a total record of 63-8-2 and was among the best in a weight division that was top class in those days.
After beating Gilberto Amonte on November 28, 1980, in the first round, he retired from boxing for good.