Saturday, October 3, 2009

David Tua Can Still Make Some Noise

It was past midnight (EST) and I wanted to see some decent boxing. Allan Green had just bored me to tears while once again proving that he is not a threat to any of the world's best 168 pound fighters.

I considered throwing in an old tape of one of my favorite classic battles (never a bad idea), but there was another enticing option. David Tua was fighting Shane Cameron in New Zealand, and the fight was available via PPV live stream from

The bout was billed as "The Fight Of The Century". Even though I wasn't likely to be treated to anything resembling that classic from '71, I'm a fight junkie, and this was my best chance to calm the withdrawals. I bought the show and was not disappointed.

The card delivered a bit of everything. There were competitive 6 rounders featuring pugs who came to win, untidy scraps between local talent, and an intriguing main event that delivered a surprising and welcome message: David Tua is back!

You heard right. The Tuaman can still go.

He absolutely crushed Cameron, knocking him down and out in the first round. The only reason it even went into the second was due to the referee inexplicably allowing Cameron to continue, despite having to hold the badly concussed fighter up. Only 7 seconds in to the second round, a frighteningly violent volley - reminicent of Ray Mercer finishing Tommy Morrison - produced the official KO.

Now I realize that Mr. Cameron is no world beater, but this was a performance worth getting excited about for a few reasons.

1. There's a heavyweight out there who can turn the lights out with a single bomb.

2. That heavyweight showed up in solid shape. 237 is not a bad weight at all for him at age 36.

3. That heavyweight actually has some talent!

As Vitali Klitschko is showing us, in these dark days of heavyweight boxing, an older fighter with some real ability can still be the man. The way I see, it's not unrealistic for David Tua to still claim a major belt - a prize that alluded him back in his prime years despite having more good wins than a lot of the other fighters who have been able to call themselves "world" champions.

This is a guy who fought John Ruiz, Oleg Maskaev, Ike Ibeabuchi, David Izon and Hasim Rahman all before getting a title shot. As an aside, compare that tough schedule to the kind of insultingly safe matchmaking we have come to accept just 10 years later.

After that impressive run, he lost to an all-timer in Lennox Lewis, before being thrown in with slick lefty Chris Byrd and coming away on the short end of a 12 round decision. He got back on track with a stoppage win over awkward jab and grab specialist, Fres Oquendo, but then was held to a draw in a rematch with Hasim Rahman.

Since then, he's spent more time in court than in the ring. A nasty split with Kevin Barry left him on the shelf for far too long and before last night, it had been about 6 years since he had any really meaningful business in the ring.

But that mess is behind him now. It's 2009 and the division is a slum. If there was ever a time to pick up that elusive belt, it's now.

On top you've got the Klitschko brothers.

Vitali, the slightly bigger, much tougher brother is likely the best and would present a horrible stylistic challenge. Too tall, too long and not fragile enough.

Wladimir, on the other hand has shown a vulnerability to big punchers who will attack him with some speed. As it stands right now, this is his best chance to make a splash, because it says here that little bro is going to have a hell of a tough time standing up to the kind of violence Tua is capable of. If he gets tagged, Wlad will fall. Hard.

There's also a good chance that David Haye will take Nicolay Valuev's title later this year. A Haye-Tua tilt would be an explosive affair, to be sure. The one huge edge you have to give to the old guy is in the chin department. In a sure war, give me the guy who can take it.

The challenge is getting him another opportunity to knock off one of the top guys. It's up to those in charge to make responsible choices from here on out. I've heard that Rahman or Kali Meehan could be up next. Meehan is rated ridiculously high by the WBA for no reason at all (I know, they don't need a reason) and he would have virtually no chance against the destructive force I saw last night, so that's probably the smartest path to take. It would do good business too.

Whatever happens, I'm just happy to have a heavyweight back on the scene that can create some excitement. He's old, never had the deepest lungs, and won't throw as many punches as I want him to, but there's nothing out there as aesthetically pleasing as a David Tua left hook to the chin. I'll take it.

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paul said...

Was a pleasure to see a in shape and explosive Tua last night, can't wait to see more!

Rob said...

Nice report, the fight was great and it was good to see what we all hoped that, Tua has still got the goods, even though he has been out of the ring a while. Cameron is still young and will learn alot from the fight, hopefully he will come back from it. Tua is looking to fight Dec 13th in papers here today(NZ). Tua will be world champ in 2010.

Anonymous said...

Very, very interesting article my friend. Unfortunately I havent viewed any boxing for a number of years as it was a past time for me and my late father, just decided to watch this match by chance, and Bamm has it brought back some excitement to boxing, can't wait to see what opportunities come for Tuaman. Thanks for the good read.

David Itagia said...

Finally, a true exhibition of pure power and ferocity. As a boxing enthusiast, my love for the scientific approach to such a sport is easily surpassed by my greater love for blunt force trauma. Lets admit it, this is why we were once excited about Mike Tyson. Finally TUAMAN has returned to reignite and remind us of why we all love Boxing....and this is, to watch a small guy beat up a big guy.
Tuaman will be Champion!!

Kiwi said...

Great Article! Im glad one of my all time heroes the TUAMAN is back, im sure he can go all the way.

Peter said...

Tua is older, wiser, more motivated and really knows what it takes now mentally. He actually shed 26kg for this fight. The question was, does he still have the goods? I think the Cameron KO answered that question. Let's hope it's sooner rather than later before he get's another deserved shot at the title!! GO THE TUAMINATOR!!!!

LatinoPorVida said...

Now now everybody settle down I know everyone loves to see KO's.

Tua looked alright for an opponent who didn't give him much to think about. Cameron hardly threw a punch yet hardly even landed a punch.

To say Tua will become champion I think is talking from the heart for all you Tua fans.

Let's not forget what Lennox Lewis did to Tua imagine what the Klitschko brother's will do to Tua.

Do you guys really think Tua is ready for a title shot?