Boxing

Exclusive Interview With Monte Barrett - "David Haye's Gonna Get Annihilated If He Fights Me!"

Monte Barrett03.07.08 - by James Slater: 37-year-old Monte "Two Gunz" Barrett scored a sensational 1st round KO over the hyped Tye Fields on the under-card of June 28th's Pacquaio-Diaz clash in Las Vegas. In so doing the former two-time "world" heavyweight title challenger has - temporarily at least - rejuvenated his career. No, Fields is no great - far from it - but the manner in which Barrett got rid of the 6'8" giant, and the big stage on which he did so, made sure he got himself noticed.

Sure to be rewarded with a big payday type fight in the near future, Barrett made it abundantly clear who he hopes this fight will come against. Almost immediately calling out Britain's David Haye after he'd felled Fields, Barrett says he would be the perfect opponent for "The Hayemaker."

Speaking to me over the phone from promoter Lou DiBella's New York offices three days after his annihilation of Fields, "Two Gunz" very kindly gave me the following interview. Polite and well spoken, Barrett also let it be known how desperate he is for one more big opportunity before he retires from boxing.

I began by congratulating Barrett, 34-6(20) on his KO over Fields. Did Monte go out there always thinking he'd get such a quick win?

"Yes, I did," Barrett says, in a straightforward and candid manner. "I told my team that this performance was going to better than when I fought [and beat] Dominick Guinn. The way I prepared for the fight, and with my mentality, I said "I'm gonna destroy this guy!" If he [Fields] had beaten me, I probably would have retired from boxing."

Barrett looked in great physical condition, had he trained like never before?

"Yeah, I've really been putting some time in [the gym]. But the thing is, after I got knocked out by Cliff Couser (last July by 2nd round TKO, subsequently avenged, also in 2 rounds) I had a sprained knee at that point and I said to myself, after I get better I'm going to be a gym rat again. I know now that I have to be a hundred percent, not sixty or eighty percent. If I'm going to be successful in boxing I've got to really commit - mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Ever since I got better, back in around August last year, I've never left the gym. You've really got to love what you do if you want to get more out of it, so that's what I've done differently."

Barrett is these days trained fulltime by Jimmy Glenn, a guy who Monte has known for a number of years. He says he now realises how good a trainer his friend is.

"Jimmy Glenn's like a godfather to me. He's been around from my first day of boxing. He's been with me ever since I threw my first punch. He's a good guy, but sometimes you can't really appreciate somebody, as you're always looking at the greener grass on the other side. I knew he was a good cut man but I didn't realise he was as good as he is as a trainer until now. Now that I'm older and wiser and more patient, I can appreciate the things that he's telling me."

Currently on a roll of three straight KO wins, Monte has shown power - perhaps more than he has shown before. Does he feel he's hitting harder at this stage in his career?

"Of course I'm punching harder, I'm 37-years-old - what do you think!" Did you see the [Fields] fight? The way I was sitting down on my punches? Do you think David Telesco, I'm sorry, David Haye (laughs) would be able to stand that?" ( Monte feels Haye is a dead ringer for the light-heavyweight Telesco).

It wasn't long before Barrett brought up Haye's name, and typically talk instantly turned to the subject of "The Hayemaker." Does Barrett feel he will do the same thing to Haye he did to Fields?

"I've got a new motto, I've been saying this for the past ten months, and it's called "humble but hungry." I'm very humble I may talk a little jazz - but I'm humble and very grateful for where I am. But Haye, ummm (thinking hard) he has impressed me. He's caught my attention with all the talk he's been giving. But I think he's gonna get "Roy Jonesed" when he moves up and fights me. when I say Roy Jones, I mean his fights with Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, where he got knocked out, you see what I'm saying? David Haye will be in real deep water coming up to heavyweight, because he's not bringing any power with him - he may bring a little speed - but he's gonna get annihilated if he fights me because I'm a seasoned guy who's hungry. I'm not just hungry - I'm desperate! And when you're desperate you do desperate things. I mean, I don't wash up when I'm in training camp - I don't change my clothes. All I do is train and fight. You ask my trainer and he'll tell you - before the Fields fight I was hitting the wall. I was ready to go."

It does seem a Barrett-Haye fight would be a perfect fight to make. Does Monte feel Haye's chin is suspect?

"I really don't know too much about him, with regards to if he has a suspect chin. But I'm definitely gonna examine his chin! I'm not taking anything away from Haye, but he's gonna get a full check-up from "Dr. Barrett."

Listening to Monte, it sounds like he is indeed desperate for the fight to be made. Not only would he be willing to come to the U.K for the fight, Barrett is hoping he gets the chance to box in England.

"I would love to come to the U.K for the Haye fight, I love the U.K. Also, I've got to redeem myself. The last time I was in the U.K I lost to [Wladimir] Klitschko. You could say I'm not that great against big guys, but Haye isn't a big guy himself. But, yeah, I'll get redemption this time in the U.K."

Should the Haye fight not come off - and there has been no word yet from the Londoner's camp as to whether it will be his next fight or not - who else would the "new and improved" Barrett like to face this year?

"I'm just doing my job as a fighter. You'll have to check with Lou [DiBella] with regards to what's going on [with the Haye fight, or whoever else Barrett may fight]. But any matchmaker will tell you, I don't turn down any fight. With a win, you get options. I would love the Haye fight, but if it doesn't happen there are other names out there."

Can Barrett give me any names at all, I persist.

"To me, there's two names I'd really like to fight - and that's Chris Arreola and Sam Peter. I don't think Vitali Klitschko is going to fight Sam Peter, so I would love the chance to face Peter. I'd box him, I'd be comfortable with him and I'm pretty sure I would stop him. So I'd love to take that fight. Arreola just came off an awesome victory over Chazz Witherspoon, and I'd like that fight also."

I tell Barrett that although he is 37, that age is not too old for today's heavyweights. The fighter agrees with me and even starts singing a short burst from some song or another. We both laugh, but Monte is serious when he tells me he feels better now that he did when he was in his twenties. Lot's of boxers say things like this, but Barrett seems to really believe it.

"I do feel better now. And one of the things people might not realise about me is, of my eleven year career, I've only been active for six - I took some long layoffs. So I still have all my faculties, I'm still sharp and I know I will retire from boxing when I'm ready, boxing will not retire me. I don't plan on going on for more than about two or three years - that's the timeframe I have in mind"

My final question: does Barrett feel he will expose David Haye?

" I feel I will expose him, but not just expose him and lose. Like when I fought [hot prospect at the time] Joe Mesi. I exposed him, but still lost. I got shafted on the scorecards. But with Haye, I'm definitely gonna expose him, and beat him, yes."

The ball is in David Haye's court, but surely this would be an easy fight to make? Monte Barrett is waiting for the phone call!

Article posted on 04.07.2008



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