By Johnny Walker
In an explosive interview today with Boxing Insider, veteran American boxer and current Asia and Pacific heavyweight champion Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett revealed that he has split with his promoter, Cedric Kushner, over unpaid portions of the purse from his unaninmous decision win against David “Tuamanator” Tua in New Zealand last August 13.
“[Kushner] was served papers and he knows we are moving forward with a lawsuit,” Barrett said. “He’s in breach of contract.”
Furthermore, Barrett also revealed that the only other fighter currently in Kushner’s stable—the very same David Tua—is also poised to jettison the New York based promoter, effectively shutting Kushner out of the boxing business.
A BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP GONE SOUR
Barrett’s personal horror story in relation to Kushner exposes a souring relationship between fighter and promoter, including a stunning lack of ethics and breathtaking disloyalty on Kushner’s part. According to Barrett, his problems with Kushner really began when he upset the apple cart and defeated the New Zealand-based Samoan fighter in their rematch from a year earlier, when Barrett and the Tuaman fought to a draw in New Jersey in a fight even Tua later admitted that Barrett actually won.
According to Barrett, Kushner had counted on a Tua victory, and the promoter became distraught after the match, when a bizarre scene unfolded. Kushner became highly emotional and even asked Barrett and his girlfriend Shanequa Crosby for sympathy because of all the money Barrett has just cost him regarding a proposed match between Tua and world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
OFF TO A BAD START
Barrett went into the Tua rematch last August feeling uneasy. First off, Tua’s previous opponent, Demetrice King, had problems getting paid after his unanimous decision loss to Tua: King flew back to his home in Michigan empty-handed. King was eventually paid after a lot of squabbling between Kushner and Tua’s local promoters in New Zealand, but Barrett still felt anxious as he readied himself to face off with the hard-hitting Tuaman again: “Kushner gave me his word I wouldn’t go through what Demetrice King went through,” Barrett tells Boxing Insider. “I’m dealing with that insecurity going into the fight, worrying about my money, and it happens to me!”
On top of worries about what happened with King, Barrett was also ticked off about being cut out of pay-per-view TV revenues for the rematch, and again, he blames Kushner for dropping the ball and not looking out for his fighter’s best interests.
“Kushner lowbidded my numbers for the [second Tua] fight. He basically got a fee for my services from SKY TV. SKY TV, I really can’t get mad at them, because it was Cedric who did the deal. I was upset with him for not giving me the opportunity to go that route [of sharing in TV revenues].”
Things got worse when Barrett finally got in the ring with Tua in New Zealand. As in their first meeting, Barrett arrived to fight Tua in tremendous physical and mental condition, and he took Tua by surprise, working behind a strong jab to dominate the first half of the fight. A desperate Tua finally got to Barrett in the last three rounds, however, and in round twelve he sent the New York native to the canvas with some crushing power punches.
As Barrett, whose jaw was broken by the force of Tua’s blows, somehow found the willpower to get to his feet and finish the match, he was shocked to see Cedric Kushner, his promoter as well as David Tua’s, jumping for joy and cheering wildly for Tua to finish him off.
“I was angry at the time,” Barrett says. “And right after the fight, when we was in the dressing room, and I expressed to him in front of my girlfriend, Shanequa, that what he did was outrageous. “
A BIZARRE CONFESSION
The story then takes an even more bizarre turn, as the promoter becomes highly emotional and blames Barrett for messing up a huge payday for himself and David Tua.
“[Kushner] didn’t count on me winning because he immediately broke down to Shanequa and I about the money he was losing with me winning. Desperate people do desperate things,” Barrett recounts.
“Right after the fight, [Kushner] looked at Shanequa and I, and said, ‘I just want to show you something.’ He said, ‘I had a deal already with the Klitschko people, [Tua] was going to fight Wladimir, it was going to be $1.2 million from TV, I was getting $600,000 of that.’ That was just from TV alone. So he proceeded to write this stuff down on paper. So he’s saying, ‘Forgive me if I was cheering for Tua, I wasn’t really cheering for Tua, I was more [concerned] about the money.’ I said, ‘you got to have more respect for yourself as a businessman, to have some couth about yourself.’”
BOUNCING CHECKS AND THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
Barrett also tells Boxing Insider that Kushner wrote out four checks to Barrett and his team following the fight, “and when we got back [to the US], all the checks bounced!”
“So, that was another nail in the coffin. So I had to wait for him to come back from New Zealand. So what happened, now he wants to renegotiate! He was holding my money hostage, basically, for me to do another contract.”
Incredibly, according to Barrett, Cedric Kushner was trying to change the terms of Barrett’s deal for the Tua fight *after* the fight was over and Barrett had won.
“He was holding my money hostage to sign another deal,” says Barrett. “I could have took him to court and had him barred, his license as a promoter would have got barred. But I have my trainers who work hard, who put a lot of work into me, they looking at me like, ‘OK, what’s going on?’ Everybody need money.”
“So I’m basically giving [Kushner] the benefit of the doubt all the way through,” Barrett continues. “So he owe me a certain amount of money, and I said, ‘where’s the rest of the money?’ And he said, ‘can I have some time?’ I said, ‘you got seven days.’ He said, ‘I need more time.’ I said, ‘I’ll give you thirty days.’ He said, ‘you give me forty-five days.’ I thought it over and said, ‘you got forty-five days to get me the rest of my money.’
“Forty-five days have came and went on September 2. He’s making all the promises, he’s working on it, he’s getting it, it’s coming, it’s coming. Basically, the way I look at it, he had no intention of paying me my money.”
BROKEN JAW BLUES
To further add to his indignities, Barrett also revealed to Boxing Insider that he is on the financial hook for medical treatment needed for the broken jaw he suffered against Tua.
“I got paid some money, but I got more coming to me. AND, my jaw was broken, I have doctor bills, and THAT hasn’t been paid. [Kushner] telling me that I’m responsible for that! He’s telling me that’s on me. He says, ‘let me call [the local promoters in] New Zealand,’ and [then] he says, ‘New Zealand don’t want to pay because you shouldn’t have left the country with a broken jaw.’ I didn’t know my jaw was broken until I got on the plane. You mean to tell me [the local promoter’s] not going to pay for it?”
“Kushner says he’s going to pay for it, ‘just give me some time,’ but if can’t pay me for the fight … he hasn’t attempted to pay anything,” says a disgusted Barrett.
THE POINT OF NO RETURN
Finally, Barrett says his disillusionment with Cedric Kushner reached the point of no return.
“Things like this as a promoter, you gotta pay like you weigh,” Barrett reasons.
“Ced is a big guy, and you can’t be in the boxing business, or any business, with no money. And you can’t treat people like that. I lived up to my contract: I fought, and I won! Now I expect to get paid.”
Barrett adds that his old ring nemesis Tua is also preparing to jettison Kushner, leaving the promoter fighter-less and out of the boxing business. And the rejuvenated New York-based heavyweight says he just wants to move on and make an impact in the late stages of his career.
“David Tua is making an announcement very soon that he’s not with Cedric no more. He doesn’t want to be bothered,” says Barrett.
“[Kushner] has no fighters. I’ve been very patient with Ced and his empty promises. It’s time I move on to make a living. I’m a promotional free agent and I’m on the market again.”