It Takes Tua to Tango

By Robert Ecksel on August 13, 2011
It Takes Tua to Tango
For all his alleged gifts, Tua was never the fighter he was made out to be (Robert Ecksel)


It’s even harder to write about David Tua than it is to get excited about David Tua.

The 38-year-old Tua (52-4-2, 43 KOs) dropped a decision to the 40-year-old Monte Barrett (35-9-2, 20 KOs) in New Zealand last night, and I’m amazed the fight has generated as much press as it has—especially with Kimbo Slice making his pro boxing debut this weekend.

Much of what has been written eulogizes what may be the end of Tua’s career. Maybe he’ll hang ‘em up and do whatever former Samoan heavyweight contenders do when they call it quits. But little of what I read addressed the fact that Tua, for all his alleged gifts, was never the fighter he was made out to be and was a major disappointment to those who once thought he might go all the way.

My disenchantment with Tuaman started the night he lost a one-sided UD to the champion Lennox Lewis in 2000. Until then, I more or less believed in David Tua, and thought he had as good a chance as anyone to burst the Lewis bubble.

(I admit to having thought the same thing about Andrew Golota when he fought Lewis in 1997, which reveals one of three things: a) I don’t know as much about boxing as I think I know; b) I didn’t know as much about Golota as I thought I knew; or c) hope springs eternal.)

Yet when I read things like “Tua looks finished as a big-time player,” I can’t help but ask: When was the last time Tua was a big-time player? When he KO’d Michael Moorer in 2002? When he drew with Hasim Rahman in 2003? If not then when? 

He’s had over a dozen fights since he fought Rahman, and aside from a draw with Barrett when they first fought in 2010, Tua won them all, albeit against less than sterling opposition. That’s to his credit, a win is a win is a win, but it didn’t make him a big-time player. Not even close. 

Tua hasn’t been a force in the heavyweight division for as long as I can remember. If I’ve got that wrong please let me know. I’m all ears, not all mouth, despite appearances. Tua said before the fight with Barrett that he would consider retiring if he lost. Well, he lost, by scores of 115-112 twice and 114-113. Now will David Tua keep his word?

POSTSCRIPT

It turns out that Tua is not considering retiring. In fact, he wasn’t the least bit displeased with his losing performance.

“I think I did a good job,” Tua said after the fight. “But I think I came on in the later rounds a little bit too late. I just couldn’t get off second gear.

“I proved a lot to myself tonight. I got cut early in the fight and I didn’t know how I’d react because this is my first cut and suddenly what come from within was, ‘Man, now you’re a fighter and welcome to the world of boxing.’”

Yes, welcome to the world of boxing.

It’s been reported that Tua had a possible title fight lined up, according to his promoter Cedric Kushner, with WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko.

Yes, welcome to the world of boxing.

Elsewhere it was reported that Tua had been contacted by Vitali’s brother, IBF/WBA/IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, to be a “name” opponent for the Klitschko juggernaut.

Yes, welcome to the world of boxing.

Tua said about his loss, “It is what it is. I don’t think it’ll harm anything to be honest. We just have to go back to the gym and see what happens from there. It’s a passion that still burns from within.”

Yes, welcome to the world of boxing.

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  1. TEX HASSLER 04:47pm, 11/02/2011

    Tua certainly had great power in his punches. It is a shame he did not know how to cut off the ring against Lennox Lewis and make Lennox fight on the inside. Tua had some exciting fights and for that he will always be remembered. We have probably seen the last of Tua as a top contender. I too had high hopes for David Tua.

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