by Johnny Walker
There were big hopes by many that David “Tuaman” Tua had regained his fire for boxing when he took on Alexander Ustinov last night in New Zealand, looking better than he had in ages, after losing over 100 pounds for the bout through rigorous training.
Tua’s last two fights where entertaining thrillers (a draw in America in 2010 and then a loss at home in 2011) with American veteran Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett, who had campaigned hard for a third bout to complete their trilogy.
But Barrett’s words to this publication about Tua’s sudden comeback against Russian giant Ustinov, proved prophetic.
“Tua is back with [boxing promoters] Duco Events, run by David Higgins and Dean Lonergan, who I call ‘Dumb and Dumber,’” the always animated Barrett told us in an exclusive interview with Boxing Insider. Barrett was convinced Tua’s new management would present the Tuaman with a case of too much, too soon.
“The bottom line is, he’s gotta fight me. And if he’s got ‘Dumb and Dumber’ to guide his career, he’s gonna go in the trash can. These guys will get him beat, they don’t care anything about him — [Duco Events] are big fans of boxing, they’re good businessmen, but they don’t know anything about boxing.
“For Tua to be in the game for eighteen years and he doesn’t know better, he’s just ‘duuuuuuh,’ he’s just a brute, a big klutz,” Barrett taunted.
Barrett’s stinging words proved to be prophetic as Tua struggled against highly ranked, younger and much larger Russian.
Although Tua (50-5-2 43 KOs) was able to land a couple of stinging body blows, most of the evening Ustinov (29-1-1, 21 KOs) kept him out of range with a long jab. and punished Tua when he tried to get too close. Neither fighter was ever badly hurt or even stunned, but Tua just couldn’t get off with his trademark power shots often enough to matter.
In the end, the judges scores of 119-110 and 119-109 (twice) said it all. Monte Barrett was right: Tua had been thrown to the wolves in a fight he wasn’t ready for at this point in time.
Tua, in fact, after claiming the old fire was back, decided after the fight that the fire had already gone out, and promptly retired.
Could Barrett still tempt him to come back and finish what they had started?
Given the Tuaman’s wild mood swings, don’t bet against it.