Power-punching heavyweight David Tua isn’t looking past his opponent Saturday night, former world title challenger Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett, despite being mentioned as a future opponent for world champions David Haye and the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali. Tua trained in Jersey City, New Jersey to prepare for Saturday night’s 12-round main event fight on the “T-N-T at the Tropicana” pay-per-view event, presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, at Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Tua (51-3-1, 43 KOs), rated No. 2 by the World Boxing Organization, hasn’t fought in Atlantic City for eight years, however, he’s undefeated fighting there in 13 fights with 12 knockouts.
“I have to do what needs to be done right up through Saturday night’s fight,” Tua said. “Everything has been fantastic in camp. I have to stay on top of what’s important, focusing 100-percent on my fight against Barrett. Israel Garcia (sparring partner) has given me good, honest work in the gym. I’m not done, yet. I have to maintain – mind, body and emotions. I can’t let my emotions run away from me and start thinking about other things.”
Other things could be his second world title fight, after losing his only opportunity 10 years ago to undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis by 12-round decision. “It’s exciting times for me but I can’t get fixed on a world title fight with this important fight in front of me,” Tua explained. “I know I have to keep winning or there won’t be another world title fight for me and that’s motivating enough to keep me going.
“In any sport, including boxing, the goal is to compete for the world title. My one chance didn’t go my way, but I still consider that the highlight of my career to date. I have a goal and that’s to fight for the world title again. I’m not going to be fighting forever; I figure I have 2-3 good years left. I would be satisfied to reach my goal and say I did it. After that, I can finish on my own terms. That would be sweet.”
Tua has defeated four world champions– John Ruiz (KO1), Michael Moorer (KO1) and Oleg Maskaev (KO11) in Atlantic City, in addition to Hasim Rahman (KO10) — but the Somoan strongman has never captured the coveted belt, resulting in his dubious label as the best non-world heavyweight champion of contemporary times.
Promoted by Cedric Kushner’s Gotham Boxing, Tua will put his WBO Asia Pacific and WBO Oriental heavyweight titles on the line against Barrett (34-9, 20 KOs), who is also perfect fighting in Atlantic City with a 7-0 (5 KOs) record.
“I believe everything happens for a reason,” Tua concluded. “I look at my time away from the sport, not by my choice, when I was able to be with my wife and boys, and I also got a good rest. I’ve been blessed; I’m lucky to still be fighting at this level. I’ve come back and gotten to this point in my career. At this stage of my life, I just want another world title shot. To have that chance I need to take care of business Saturday night against Barrett.”