The Tuaman makes a statement!

boxingby Geoffrey Ciani - The last two times I saw David Tua fight was ringside at the Roseland Ballroom. He did not look especially impressive in either performance. One was a seventh round stoppage against the unheralded Maurice Wheeler and the other was a unanimous decision victory over Robert Hawkins. In both fights Tua appeared slow, plodding, and unmotivated. He simply was not the same fighter he had been while working his way up the ranks, impressing fans with his explosive knockout power. That Tua, it had seemed, was long gone.

Still, news of Tua landing a fight with fellow-New Zealander Shane Cameron tweaked my interest. There’s something fascinating about knockout artists, and Tua’s power and chin give him a chance against anyone. Those two attributes can carry one a long way in the sport. Tua’s problems always stemmed from a lack of motivation and/or a dedication. All too often he would be lulled into the same trap whereby he slowly plodded after his opponent, never moving his head, only looking to land a big left hook. Any fighter with a decent jab could offset his rhythm, sending him back into the cycle of plod, eat a jab, reset..

This fight became more interesting when an interview featuring Tua and Cameron seemed to suggest renewed interest on the part of Tua. Was he really rededicated? Was he actually taking his career seriously, realizing this might be the last chance for him to cash-in on his talent? We had heard all this before. Time and time again, we would hear news of a “new” Tuaman—one who would work the body, throw combinations, and come into the ring in fighting shape. Time and time again, he disappointed. Recent news of him hospitalizing a sparring partner turned a few heads, but still did not constitute real evidence that Tua was back. His fight with Shane Cameron, however, did.

David Tua is back!

His victory over Shane Cameron is not all that impressive in and of itself. That was expected by many, myself included. It was the way Tua won that was impressive. He has not had a performance like that where he looked this explosive in years. The way he clobbered Shane Cameron reminded me of the way he bludgeoned John Ruiz back on HBO’s Night of the Young Heavyweights over thirteen years ago. His power was explosive, his punches seemed as fast (If not faster then) ever, and he still exhibited that relentless desire to press forward and chop down his opponent. More impressive was the fact that he was using elusive head movement and was throwing good powerful combinations, some of which were even started by powerful right hands. His trademark left hook looked as vicious as ever, and before long, Shane Cameron had no idea what hit him and probably had no idea where he was.

Keeping things in perspective, Shane Cameron is not exactly a world beater, so too much should not be made of this victory. In a day and age where there is not a whole lot to be excited about in the heavyweight division, this was a welcome turn of events. Can Tuaman make waves? If today was any indication, it appears he can. He will always be susceptible to fighters with a good jab who have a height and reach advantage, but regardless, he remains a dangerous foe for anyone out there. If he can continue doing the little things he did against Cameron—moving his head, throwing combinations, and being effective with his right hand—he can once again become a force in the heavyweight division. At age 36, maybe he finally realizes that he still has a chance to cash in on his talent. It was an impressive victory for Tua and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here. Hopefully, he will remain active and we will see him back in the ring against sometime soon.


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Article posted on 05.10.2009

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