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Tua vs. Barrett on 7/17: Is David running out of time to win a world title?

By Jim Dower: Now 37-years-old, heavyweight contender David Tua (51-3-1, 43 KO’s) is 10 years removed from the first and only time he challenged for a world title when he lost a one-sided 12 round decision to then IBF/WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in November 2000. Tua hasn’t done much since then, beating mostly 2nd tier opposition and not progressing with his career. Back then, Tua was a young 27-year-old, who many boxing fans compared to Mike Tyson.

However, Tua has gotten nowhere near landing another title shot in all those years. Tua is now ranked number #3 in the WBO, meaning that if he plays his cards right and beats his upcoming opponent, 39-year-old Monte Barrett (34-9, 20 KO’s) on July 17th, Tua could be within a two or three fights of getting a title shot against IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

However, Tua is going to have to wait around for a little while longer even if he does beat Barrett next month, because Wladimir won’t be defending his titles until September against his number #1 IBF mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin, and following that Wladimir could possibly be fighting World Boxing Association heavyweight champion David Haye in a unification bout. That fight might not happen, though, because Haye has been looking in another direction other than Wladimir for his next fight.

However, Tua will still likely have to wait until next year some time, possibly even longer for his chance at fighting Wladimir. At 37, Tua is getting up there in age and could start showing the effects of aging soon, if not now. It’s hard to tell how much Tua has left, because he hasn’t been fighting 1st tier heavyweights in a long, long time. Tua beat Friday Ahunanya by a 12 round decision in his last fight in March, and didn’t look all that impressive.

And before that, Tua looked good in stopping Shane Cameron by a 2nd round knockout in October 2009. It would be nice to see Tua face a 1st tier heavyweight to see what he has and break his streak of fighting strictly B level fighters. However, that’s not likely going to happen unfortunately. In recent training photos of Tua, he’s looking a little thick around the middle appears to have put on some weight.

He’s got about a month to take off the flab, but I’m not sure if he can trim off all that blubber by fight time next month. It probably won’t matter, because Barrett’s chin isn’t one of the best and he’s lost his last three fights, with two of them coming by knockout. Tua should be able to stop Barrett, even if he does come into the fight carrying an extra 20 to 30 pounds on his small 5’10” frame.

Hopefully, Tua steps it up against a better fighter after he gets Barrett out of the way so that Tua can get U.S. boxing fans more excited about seeing him fight for a title in the future. A win over Barrett won’t be enough, I’m afraid. Tua will have to do better than that to get fans excited and start looking forward to him fighting for a title.

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