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Tua faces Barrett this Saturday night

By Matt Stein: Heavyweight contender David Tua (51-3-1, 43 KO’s) continues with his incredibly slow climb to a heavyweight title shot by fighting 39-year-old Monte Barrett on Saturday night at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 37-year-old Tua’s obscure WBO Asia Pacific and WBO Oriental heavyweight titles will be on the line for this fight.

For Tua, it will be the first fight in the United States in three years since his win over Cerron Fox in July 2007. Tua hasn’t fought a 1st tier heavyweight in seven long years since his fight with Hasim Rahman way back in 2003. It’s hard to imagine Tua or any top fighter mind you, going that long without fighting an upper tier guy.

But Tua’s string of wins over B level fighters haven’t hurt him in the world rankings, because Tua is currently ranked number #2 by the WBO, and should be in line for a title shot against the WBO heavyweight champion in either 2011 or 2012, as long as Tua keeps winning. Tua has got to speed up the pace of his fights, because he’s just not finding his way to the ring often enough nowadays.

Tua fought only once in 2009, and not at all in 2008. Tua has got to show a little more urgency with boxing career if he wants to get a title shot before he turns 40. As it is, Tua will be turning 38 in November. That may not seem old for some fighter but it’s an age where most fighters tend to start to show signs of deterioration.

At the very least, Tua has got to be more active and needs to take on a better level of opposition. This Saturday night, Tua will be facing Barrett, who in the past was a top 15 heavyweight contender for a number of years. However, Barrett has faded in the past four years, and has lost six out of his last nine fights, including his last three.

To his credit, Barrett is getting beaten by quality fighters more or less. In his last three fights, Barrett has been beaten by the following fighters: Alexander Ustinov, Odlanier Solis and David Haye. Those decent heavyweights with some ability and you can’t blame Barrett for losing to them.

Two years ago, Barrett pulled off a nice win with a 1st round stoppage of Tye Fields in 2008. The glow from that victory was short-lived, however, as Barrett has now been beaten in his last three fights and stopped by two of those opponents.

Tua should be able to knock Barrett out if he can catch up to him. If Tua can’t knock out Barrett, then something might be wrong with Tua, because this is the perfect opponent for Tua to look good against. Barrett probably won’t make it easy for Tua, because he’s going to be moving a little and trying to survive as long as he can.

However, Tua should catch up to Barrett at some point in the fight and lower the boom on him. I suspect this fight won’t go more than three rounds if Tua fights aggressively and puts his punches together. If Tua paces himself and looks to keep from getting winded, I can see the fight going at least 10 rounds before Tua puts an end to it.

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