The always candid and straight-shooting former world heavyweight title challenger Monte Barrett, from New York City, now living in Bayonne, NJ (just blocks away from Chuck Wepner), discusses in-depth his performance with Tua, a possible future exective position with HBO and much more in part one of this comprehensive interview. Barrett will box on the Holyfield-Williams undercard this month in West Virginia…
BoxingInsider: Was the draw, which most people thought was a win, with Tua one of your finest performances?
Monte Barrett: “It’s in the top three.”
BoxingInsider: What were the other two?
Monte Barrett: “I think Owen Beck or Dominic Guinn or James Thunder. James Thunder could be honorable mention. When I say performance, just the pressure I was under. I had to come back from my first loss which was to Lance Whitaker. That was a great win. David Tua was a great comeback fight for me. Even thought it was a draw I thought it was a win. I was a 14-1 underdog. I wasn’t supposed to get past the first round. If you put up $200 you won $2800. It was a draw. So I wouldn’t have won anyway. I’ve gambled on myself. I won some money when I fought Dominic Guinn – I was a 8-1 underdog. I feel like David Tua was a great, great win for me. Draw-win, but I’m looking forward to better.”
BoxingInsider: Was Tua easier or harder than you expected?
Monte Barrett: “I think it was basically hard. Physically it was easier. I thought he would be more imposing physically. Eventually it was hard because I had to stick to my gameplan. I’m usually just throwing my hands down and just fighting. So I had to stick to the blueprint, which was box, move, pick your shots, work your jab. That’s why it was hard for me. Next time it will be much easier.”
BoxingInsider: You didn’t want to exchange with Tua because you respected his power?
Monte Barrett: “I didn’t want to exchange with him early. Coming off three losses, two KO’s by David Haye and Solis, my confidence was a little battered. So at that time I proceeded with caution. I had to kind of find myself when I was in the ring. I had to get my confidence back and say, okay, I can do this. You have to play mind tricks with yourself when you’re in that ring, believe it or not.”
BoxingInsider: I saw hints of Lennox Lewis in your performance. Was Lennox Lewis part of your blueprint to beat Tua?
Monte Barrett: “Basically, I watched Chris Byrd and Lennox Lewis. I was looking at David in his recent fights. I never thought that much of David as my opponent. I think he’s a great guy as far as outside the ring. I think he’s a good contender. But I never was really overwhelmed with his performance. And the reason why is he only throws between 10 and 20 punches a round. I just knew I just had to upgrade my output. Be consistent with something. That’s why I just threw jabs. It wasn’t jabs that hurt you. But it was a jab to tell him he just can’t come running in.”
BoxingInsider: Before the fight you said it was your last fight. When did you decide you would keep fighting? Was it during the fight or right after? When did you change your mind on retiring from the ring?
Monte Barrett: “Basically, I had a great position with HBO. I spoke with Kery Davis. He said, Can you straddle both sides of the fence? And I said, definitely. If I could work with HBO that would be the fruits of my labor. I would love to work for a Fortune 500 company (Time Warner). I still love the competitive side of boxing, but I’m 39. How many more fights do I have? I can be more relevant on the corporate side, help other fighters and things like that. Fighters think they can keep going on – Holyfield, Muhammad Ali – I want to be a guy who chose to go when he chose to go.”
BoxingInsider: That’s great about HBO, you would be an excellent ambassador. Is the door still open for you at HBO?
Monte Barrett: “It’s a freeze on everything, some decision-making. I just have to wait and see. I’m hoping to open other avenues as well. I think I have a great opportunity to offer anybody, as far be a liasion, outreach program, looking for talent, harnessing relationships with fighters. Because I am a fighter and I know what fighters go through. Fighters respect me and I respect them as well. I have to learn from the executive side and get my feet wet and learn how to deal and walk the walk and talk on that side. I’m open and willing, the sky’s the limit. I’m fortunate for a few different things. We’ll see what happens. ”
Part two will appear later this week…