Naples vs. Monzón butter: this was the last round of the fight that inspired Julio Cortázar

The Mexican boxer opted to move up in category and face the Argentine at his natural weight, but he could only stay in competition for seven of the 12 agreed rounds.

Although his country of origin was Cuba, Jose Angel Napoles arrived in Mexico and became one of the main boxing banners national. His recognized abilities allowed him to almost perfectly master the welterary peso and wanted to try his luck for the middleweight title against the Argentine Carlos Monzon. Although his performance did not allow him to last beyond the sixth episode, the great competitiveness inspired Julio Cortazar to write “The Night of Butter”, where he immortalized the memorable episode.

The expectation was clear. Carlos Monzon y Butter Naples met on February 9, 1974 to give life to one of the most anticipated episodes of the year. The spectacle would be such that it was necessary to take them out of their zone of influence to a venue capable of doing justice to the fight and they crossed the Atlantic Ocean to monopolize the spotlights of the city of Paris, France.

The expected night arrived and more than 12 thousand souls gathered around the ring to see the confrontation of two of the most prominent figures of the time. The Argentine exhibited for the ninth time the titles of the World Boxing Association (WITH) and the World Boxing Council (CMB) that he took from Nino Benvenuti on July 11, 1970.

Carlos Monzón made the ninth successful defense of his middleweight belts against Napoli (Photo: Twitter/@JuanLuisDuarte7)
Carlos Monzón made the ninth successful defense of his middleweight belts against Napoli (Photo: Twitter/@JuanLuisDuarte7)

For his part, the Mexican made his foray into 160 pounds with the confidence of repeating the overwhelming role that crowned him in welterweight. Although Napoli’s effort was evident in the ring, it wasn’t enough to turn around the defending champion who remained whole from start to finish.

Alain Delon welcomed them on stage. Faithful to his nation by adoption, Naples made its way through mariachi musicwhile Monzón recalled his Argentine origins with tango Silence played by the iconic Carlos Gardel. After completing the necessary procedures, the exchange of blows began.

Butter He tried to dominate with the Mexican style, shortening distances and releasing combinations. On the contrary, Monsoon He opted for the dance in the ring, counterattacking and releasing power jabs to reduce his rival. The momentum exhausted the Mexican in the first episodes and the tired athletic figure of him contrasted with the integrity of the defending champion. The good performances of the challenger did not appear in the last rounds.

Naples' efforts to take the reins were unsuccessful (Photo: Twitter/@JuanLuisDuarte7)
Naples’ efforts to take the reins were unsuccessful (Photo: Twitter/@JuanLuisDuarte7)

The fight was agreed to 15 episodes, but the first six could hardly be completed. In the fifth and sixth, Monzón was in charge of dominating the center and overwhelming his rival with strong and spaced blows that became more frequent as the clock ran out.

As time runs out, Butter Naples he went to his corner and complained of a wound near his eye. His trainer Angelo Dundee made every effort to get him in the mood and make him continue, but the punishment forced him to notify the referee of the abandonment. Noticing the decision, Monzón jumped in the ring and was happy to have retained the title and settle a fight whose rivalry led to the personal sphere.

Julio Cortazar, with his unique style, sought to immortalize the ninth successful defense of his compatriot in a story set in the venue located on the outskirts of Paris. Although the scene that took place inside the ring did not capture the central intention of the text included in the work someone out there (1977), the level of detail provided by the author makes “Butter Night” one of the most remembered chronicles about the episode.


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