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Tua To Fight Arreola-Witherspoon Winner

David TuaBy Jim Dower: Former heavyweight contender David Tua (49-3-1, 42 KOs) has recently snapped out of his lethargy with an agreement to fight the winner of the of the June 21st bout between young heavyweight contenders Chris Arreola and Chazz Witherspoon. The 35 year-old Tua perhaps has his eyes on a potential future title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter, which would make sense of Tua’s decision to fight the Arreola-Witherspoon winner. Arreola is currently ranked at #7 in the WBC, so a win against him would give Tua a big shot in the rankings and at the same time would make him a desirable future opponent for Peter – or whoever ends up on top in the division after Peter’s October bout with Vitali Klitschko.

For Tua’s sake, he better hope that Arreola emerges at the winner against Witherspoon, because if it’s Chazz that comes out on top, that’s not a fight that favors Tua’s style of fighting. Chazz would likely be able to use his long reach to jab into submission. Arreola, however, is a more of a crude slugger, who would come right at Tua, trying to take his head off with every punch. Despite his large 6’4” frame, Arreola tends to stand directly in front of them, often very close, which would allow for a shorter-armed puncher like Tua to land his bombs with great frequency. Arreola’s defense is also pretty average and that’s not a good thing against a fighter that punches as hard as Tua.

Clearly, Tua isn’t the same fighter he was eight years ago when he challenged Lennox Lewis for the title. From what I’ve seen of his last three fights, he can no longer punch quite as hard as he did then and his punch output has dropped off dramatically since that time. It was dropping even then, since his wild fight with Ike Ibeabuchi in June 1997, but it’s nowhere near the level it was back then. Tua only seems to fight hard for a fraction of a round nowadays, mostly spending his time trying to work his way on the inside or wrestling. Though he’s recently lost a lot of weight, some 15 lbs, and is fighting now at around 235 lbs, he still doesn’t have his punch output back to what it was earlier in his career.

Though it’s still hard to tell accurately about his work rate, because Tua’s been matched incredibly soft in his last two bouts in 2007, beating Saul Montana and Cerrone Fox by early knockouts. This brings up another point, his lack of quality opposition. Since fighting to a draw with Hasim Rahman in 003, Tua has seemingly been on a vacation, staying completely away from top level fighter’s altogether. Instead, he’s fought only seven times in the past five years, fighting and beating exclusively C-level fighters. In hindsight, it seems like an insane career move for Tua because he was still in his prime five years ago and had the potential to challenge for another title and make a lot of money along the way.

At 35, it’s doubtful that Tua still has the skills to compete against a top 10 heavyweight, much less against one of the heavyweight champions. He can still probably be effective if pitted against the right type of fighter, preferably one with little boxing skills, a weak chin and one that likes to slug. In picking the winner of Arreola vs. Witherspoon, Tua had better hope that Arreola wins the fight because the tall Witherspoon is a bad match up for Tua. Unless I miss my guess, Tua will likely lose interest in taking on the winner should Witherspoon emerge as the victor.

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