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Barrett defeats a sluggish Tua

David Tua Monte BarrettBy Dan Ambrose: 40-year-old Monte Barrett (35-9-2, 20 KO’s) pulled off a minor upset of 38-year-old heavyweight contender David Tua (52-4-2, 43 KO’s) on Saturday night, defeating him by a 12 round unanimous decision to strike a major blow for Tua’s title chances at the Telestra Clear Events Centre, in Manukau City, New Zealand. The final judges’ scores were 114-113, 115-112 and 115-112, all for Barrett.

Tua has only himself to blame for the loss, as he did zero in the first eight rounds of the fight other than following Barrett around without throwing any punches. It looked like a replay of Tua’s loss against Lennox Lewis in November 2000, because Tua simply wouldn’t or couldn’t let his hands go. He made a very average Barrett look like a combination of Wladimir Klitschko and Lewis.

Barrett moved constantly, landing a lot of jabs, right hands and 1-2 combinations. He was smart to tie Tua up after throwing shots. This prevented Tua from answering with his own shots. Tua finally got his act in gear starting in the 9th when he landed a small handful of big power shots. In the last three rounds, Tua desperately attempted to score a knockout, and landed quite a few really big shots. In the 12th, Tua dropped Barrett with a combination of big punches ending with a nice right hand.

I can’t believe that the referee didn’t halt the fight at that point because it took Barrett a long time to get back to his feet and he was in really bad shape for the next 10 seconds after the knockdown as Tua pummeled him with hard shots. Had this fight taken place in the U.S., Tua likely would have gotten a knockout victory because a lot of the referees would have pulled the plug on Barrett when he was down. However, to his credit, Barrett was able to last out the remainder of the round by clinching and moving his head enough to evade Tua’s best shots.

The last three rounds were very exciting and it would interesting to see a third fight between them. Tua, ranked #3 by the World Boxing Organization, might be better off if he goes in another direction rather than fighting Barrett again. He can’t afford another loss to Barrett if he wants to get a title shot, and he really needs to pick up some big wins in a hurry if he wants to have any chance of fighting for a title in the next year or two. Tua didn’t throw enough punches in the first eight rounds, and he’s going to have to improve on that if he wants to beat some of the better heavyweights in the division.

It’s hard to say what was holding Tua back in the first three quarters of the fight because the way he attacked Barrett in the last part of the fight he could have likely stopped him early on if he had gone all out for a knockout. It looks like Tua was worried gassing out and wanted to make sure he didn’t tire out too quickly.

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