by Johnny Walker
Boxing Insider recently talked to veteran American heavyweight Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett (35-10-2, 20 KOs), who has taken on everyone from Wladimir Klitschko to Nikolai Valuev to David Tua, about the state of his career and of the heavyweight division in general.
Barrett, who had recently been sparring with Tomas Adamek in preparation for the Pole’s aborted NBC bout with Vyacheslav Glazkov, is frustrated with his inability to get a fight since a disastrous KO loss to Shane Cameron in Auckland, New Zealand last year.
Barrett admits some personal distractions (including the idea of a trilogy rematch with David Tua) got in the way of that fight — he’d love a rematch with Cameron, who he ripped heavily with some pre-bout trash talk, but isn’t counting on it.
He also relishes a fight with Glazkov, but refuses to repeat past errors in judgement.
Barrett revealed to Boxing Insider that he was offered the Glazkov fight at the last minute (a fight which ultimately went to American Garrett Wilson, who lost a 10-round unanimous decision) , but felt he wasn’t ready and didn’t want to repeat past mistakes.
“They stopped sparring with me early,” says Barrett.
“We only did two weeks, we were supposed to do three. And even though I did good boxing, it felt like, ‘I don’t want to put myself in a Catch-22 and only take something because of the money.’ I can’t afford another loss.
“If I’m gonna do something, I believe in myself. I don’t want to be a hypocrite — I want to be at my best. Watching [Glazkov] fight I just thought, ‘Damn, I’m gonna campaign for that fight, because I feel in my heart that me, in a regular training camp, I could beat him hands down, no problem.’
Barrett has also offered to step in and take on Tyson Fury, who has been stood up twice by fellow Brit David Haye. He offered his thoughts on Fury’s New York debut, a win over Steve Cunningham that saw Fury hit the deck once.
“Cunningham fought the wrong fight, [Fury] talked about his wife, he talked about his kids, he did everything …. he should have got punched in the mouth at the press conference,” Barrett contends.
“On top of that, Cunningham, he doesn’t have that mean streak. He’s been around boxing … People like me, there’s a natural mean streak about myself in there. I’m a beast when I’m in there. And some guys are so nice. Inside the ring, I want to kill, I want blood.
“Cunningham is the type of fighter …. he’ll fight the heavyweight champion of the world and his schoolteacher the same way (laughter).
“I would love to fight Fury….we called him after we won the second David Tua fight, and his people said they wasn’t looking in that direction. He talked a little bit of junk, and I put the call out there, it was the first call we made, and he said ‘No, he wasn’t interested.’”
Barrett also revealed that a “crossroads fight” with fellow American heavyweight Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell is of great appeal to him.
“I would like to fight Fury … I would like to fight Seth Mitchell if they bring him back. We’re both at a crossroads in our careers. Roger Bloodworth (Tomas Adamek’s trainer), said the other day when [Barrett and Adamek were sparring], ‘Monte, you can still fight. I’m surprised. I didn’t think you were as sharp as you are.’
“I said, ‘Imagine if I had a full training camp, you know.’ The key to boxing is to keep boxing.”
“In my last performance [against Shane Cameron], I got knocked out, I sucked. I get that. By the grace of God I’m still in a space where I can perform, and I want to to see for myself, I know I can be back on the highest level. But at the same time, I got to get a fight first to prove it.”
This is the big problem in the heavyweight division these days — trying to get a decent match-up.
“Yeah, I get it — all the promoters are penny pinching,” Barrett sneers.
“They don’t want to pay for a 40 year old guy to fight, put they money up, then if their fighter loses, they gotta re-track, I get it. The business part of it sucks.”
Barrett, though, ultimately relishes closing some unfinished business with New Zealand’s David Tua, who recently suffered a loss to highly ranked Russian giant Alex Ustinov that Barrett had accurately predicted to Boxing Insider.
Barrett felt Tua’s promoters were throwing him to the wolves, that putting him in with a top fighter after a long layoff, and against a giant at that, would result in just what happened: a dispiriting loss for Tua.
“I was talking to [a New Zealand] reporter about Tua. It makes more sense, economical and financial, for Tua and I to do a trilogy,” says Barrett.
The first two meetings of the two men resulted in exciting fights: one draw (in Atlantic City) and a win (contested by Tua due to a drugs test) for Barrett in New Zealand. If styles make fights, Tua and Barrett were made for each other.
“Of course [Tua’s] gonna make more money than I, I’m not counting his funds. but think about it: I’m going to New Zealand and we’re going to do a trilogy. The history is already there: we already got the story-line: we had two fights, he said some bad things about me, I said some bad things about him.
“But since the Duco boys [Duco Promotions, run by David Higgins and Dean Lonergan, who Barrett calls “Dumb and Dumber,” and who put on Tua’s recent loss to Ustinov] don’t like me because I called them out, they’re emotional girls, they’re thinking with their hearts and their emotions instead of their minds and their pockets.
“But think about it — we did 4000 people the second fight, we could have done 10,000 for the third — Tua is the biggest thing in New Zealand. The story was there, the controversy was there (Barrett was accused by Tua of using PEDS in the second fight), everything was there to sell an event.
“Tua’s so emotional,” laughs Barrett.
“I actually liked Tua until he said those bad things about me taking the drug test. I say, let’s get it together, and I’ll be your last hurrah. At least you can go out trying harder than you did (against Ustinov).
“He didn’t even train for me for the second fight. For Ustinov he said he got in the best shape of his life … he’s just looking for the scale. He’s losing that weight for the scale, but he’s not really putting that work in [in the ring].
“Like I had told you before, that’s a disaster fight, Ustinov is 300 pounds and on top of that he moves great … he moves pretty good for a big guy. I was kind of impressed by it.”
Boxing Insider noted that Ustinov also seemed in better shape than previously.
“That’s because Tua kept postponing the fight,” laughs Barrett
“The fight was supposed to happen last December or January, and then it just happened last week.
“I’ll do [the trilogy] with Sky Promotions and Tua, forget Dumb and Dumber (Duco), it’ll be his last hurrah, I’ll make a little money, he’ll make good money, the story is there, and it would be good for the New Zealand people. I ain’t gonna run from him, we just swing for the fences and go for it.
“He can go out a folk hero instead of how he went out against Ustinov. Saying, ‘I want to fight the top guys to see where I am,’ that’s hustling backwards. You haven’t been in the ring in two years and [Duco] are going to give you a top 15 guy?”
And a giant at that.
“Yeah, you could have got a top 15 guy who was a little smaller. But “Dumb and Dumber” equals “The Dumbest,” because these guys are the dumbest.
“Tua told me this out of his own mouth — sometimes I don’t understand him as a person, as a smart businessman, all right? — it intrigues me, Tua told me [before the Ustinov fight], ‘these guys [Duco] are crooks. I’m not doing business with them no more.’
“So why would you do business with a crook, and put your career in the hand of a crook?: a crook only does one thing: they steal, kill and destroy.
“They stole from him, they killed him and destroyed his career,” Barrett says heatedly.
And you predicted it.
“Yeah, I’m Brother Cleo,” jokes Barrett.
“I can see the future [laughter]. We can do it with Sky Sports next time and do it right.”
Even though Tua says he’s now retired (after just saying he had the fire back)?
“He’s retired 5 times already. It must be something in the water over there,” laughs Barrett.