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David Tua vs. Monte Barrett in June

By Eric Thomas: Heavyweight David Tua (51-3-1, 43 KO’s) continues with his slow climb back into title contention by facing former heavyweight title challenger 38-year-old Monte Barrett (34-9, 20 KO’s) in June, according to Radio New Zealand News. Tua, 37, has fought only twice in the past three years, beating Shane Cameron and Friday Ahunanya.

Tua is currently ranked number #3 by the WBO, and within striking distance of a shot against the current WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. It’s somewhat disappointing that Tua still isn’t facing any contenders on his way to a title shot, as Barrett will be 39 in May and has lost his last three fights, including two of them by knockout. Barrett was stopped by David Haye in the 6th round in November 2008, and was stopped again by Odlanier Solis in the 2nd round last year in October 2009.

Tua recently beat Ahunanya by a dull 12 round decision in March, looking slow and very hittable. Tua threw very few combinations in that fight and instead fell back into his bad habit of throwing only one punch at a time. Ahunanya used movement in the fight to give Tua a lot of problems. It’s scary to think that Tua could be getting a title shot against Klitschko soon, because it’s been years since Tua fought a top 10 fighter dating back seven years to his 12 round draw with Hasim Rahman in 2003.

Tua, if he wants to have any reasonable chance of beating Klitschko, he’s going to need to test himself against better fighters than the B level opponents that he’s been feasting on during his comeback. In looking at Tua’s fight against Ahunanya, he looked really rusty in that fight and didn’t react well to the little bit of movement that Ahunanya used. The way that Tua looked, I wouldn’t give him any chance at beating Klitschko.

To have a decent chance at beating Klitschko, I think Tua should get in with five or six good contenders in the top 15, and if he’s able to beat them, then I think he would be ready for a fight against Klitschko. Right now, I see Tua getting blown away by Klitschko. Tua needs more work against top tier fighters before facing Klitschko, who is arguably the best fighter in the entire heavyweight division. Tua was dominated by Lennox Lewis in a 12 round decision loss in 2000, the only time that Tua challenged for the heavyweight title.

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