The photo above says it all. Last night, David Tua lost a unanimous decision to Monte Barrett, despite dropping him in the final round. Tua got off to a slow start, which is exactly what I feared. By the time he got into his groove, it was the 10th round, and Monte's lead points had already sealed his victory. Tua needed a knockout to win, and almost got it.
Imagine if this were a 15 round fight. I have no doubt that Tua would have knocked out Barrett somewhere between rounds 13 and 15. Barrett was on shaky legs and looked to be finished. Either his age and waning stamina had caught up to him by round 10, or he was hurt by Tua's crushing power. It could have been a combination of both, but I think Tua surprised him by throwing bombs all of a sudden. Perhaps Barrett got a little too relaxed after an easy 9 rounds. This script has been followed for several Tua fights; a boxer would get comfortable after out-boxing Tua for much of the fight, but then gets knocked out late. (Watch Tua's fights with Rahman, Maskaev, Izon, and Oquendo)
If Billy Conn and Joe Louis had fought a 12 round fight in 1941, Conn would have won the heavyweight title from Louis, who didn't knock out Conn until the 13th round. If the original fight between Jersey Joe Walcott and Rocky Marciano had been only 12 rounds, Marciano would have suffered a loss and not won the championship.
Because of the lack of championship rounds these days, I feel that Tua was robbed of the knockout he desperately needed.
When Tua dropped Barrett with a right hand in the 12th round, the crowd erupted. It was the punch they had been waiting for. Barrett got up, but survived by holding for the rest of the round. Just think; if Tua had been fighting aggressive like this from the opening bell, he would have knocked Barrett out. And early. Instead, he cornered Barrett in the last round with a barrage of lethal punches, but it was too late. He should have jumped on Barrett early on with the heavy artillery. (Evidently, he didn't read my previous blogs and take my advice).
I don't think Monte is a talented fighter. (Look at his resume. He has losses to Rahman, Valuev, Solis, Haye, and others.) He's also 40 years old. But he gave his testimony after the fight, and as a christian, I respect that. He poured his heart out after his victory. I don't respect Barrett too much as a fighter, but he's earned my respect as a man.
A prime David Tua would crush him, though. I think Barrett came along at the right time to handle a declining Tua, just as Gene Tunney outmaneuvered an aging Jack Dempsey, and Holyfield outmuscled a fading Mike Tyson. Barrett, Tunney and Holyfield would not have had the same success against the prime versions of the men they dominated. To varying degrees, they struggled with the "old" versions.
As for Tua, this loss hurts him. Tua's promotor Cedric Kushner revealed that he was in talks to have Tua fight WBC Champion Vitali Klitschko soon. "I don't want to be the only person sitting up here not telling the truth. It's a very significant loss, because there was an opportunity to fight Klitschko and that opportunity may not be there tomorrow," he said. "I think I'll have to have a sit down with David and see what the right thing to do is."
Most would suggest that the "right thing to do" for David is retire.
I think his chances of winning a title are up in smoke. However, I would he interested in seeing a Barrett-Tua 3. Barrett said after the fight that he's going to enjoy his victory and think it over. Personally, if he decides to retire, I won't slander him. He already put off his planned retirement once for Tua, and he finally got the victory that he should have gotten the first time. But then again, I'm very interested in seeing a trilogy. The first fight was exciting. The rematch didn't get exciting until Tua woke up in round 10. So I'm curious what a rubber match would be like. I know Tua is for it.
I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and say that Tua needs to retire. He's still a big draw and I always enjoy watching him fight. He's my favorite fighter. I'd still like to see him get in the ring with Holyfield before he retires. Or maybe Shannon Briggs. Or even Hasim Rahman again. These guys are long past their best, but I'd still like to see these fights.
David, you may not get a title shot, but if you choose to continue, there are still some potential fights out there. And if you never win a belt, you're still my favorite fighter. You'll always have that title.