Monte Barrett: “I think the best heavyweight we have right now is David Haye”

by Geoffrey Ciani - This week’s 82nd edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with former two time heavyweight title challenger Monte Barrett who is recently coming off of a terrific performance against David Tua. Barrett was a big underdog going into his fight with Tua and he was able to rise to the occasion. The bout was controversially ruled a draw in a fight most observers felt Barrett deserved to win. It was a close fight entering the final round, but Tua was deducted a point for throwing Barrett down to the canvas and lost another point when he suffered the first knockdown of his career, compliments of a nice exchange from Barrett. That appeared to be enough to seal the deal for Monte but the judges felt otherwise. Prior to the contest, Barrett had already announced that this would be his final fight win, lose, or draw. Monte spoke to us about his fight with Tua. He also reflected back on various moments from throughout his career and offered his insight on other matters pertaining to the current boxing landscape. Here is what he had to say:

On how he feels about his performance against David Tua:
“Well I didn’t surprise myself. I was pretty confident going into the fight with all the training I put into it. I knew this was going to be a big fight for me because this was my last fight and I felt very confident about it. I thought I’d be victorious but the judges saw it another way and you just got to keep it moving.”

On how he came to the realization that his fight with David Tua would be his last:
“I put a lot into boxing as far as competing. I’m still going to be involved in boxing, just on a corporate level. I have a couple of great opportunities and I’m weighing things out. It’s time for me to move on to level two of my career with boxing, but more on the corporate side. That’s it. Boxing has done so much for me, but at a certain point you have to know when to hang the gloves up and be accountable for your decisions.”

His thoughts on David Tua going into the fight:
“Well I’m a big fan of boxing period, especially the heavyweight division. I’ve known Tua from a long time ago so I was pretty interested. Every time he came to fight in New York or whatever, I would go check him out and show him love and everything. It was pretty interesting. I always felt I had the style to beat David Tua. We were supposed to do this fight probably in 2001 or 2002 or something like that, but it never happened. I was always comfortable, even when I was offered the fight back then. I was always with the point of taking David Tua on.

On being stunned a few times by Tua early on, notably in the second and fourth rounds:
“I mean David Tua’s a strong guy. He has a lot of power in both hands and he caught me with a couple of good shots, but as you could see I was in very great shape and weathered the storm. I knew a lot about finishing strong. There’s a book called Finish Strong and one thing the great Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior said was, “If you haven’t found something worth dying for you’re not fit to live” and that’s how I felt at that point. I thought about that throughout my whole training camp. You have a part of yourself to commit when you’re training in order to get the best results, and preparation breeds success and that’s what I was thinking. I knew that I was prepared and I knew that I would recuperate from anything that David did to me.”

On becoming the first person to ever knock David Tua down:
“Well what I was thinking that round, I thought I had sealed the deal. I felt that I did enough to win. When I was going in there, I heard they were keeping score. It wasn’t an official score it was just from the commentators saying you’re one up. But I wasn’t going to back down. My trainer told me I had to finish strong. I’ve been reading this book Finish Strong and it really just stuck in brain for my whole drive for this fight. So when we traded, I just kept punching. Some of my punches landed, some weren’t but you notice I never gave up. I just kept punching and I landed the better shots and he went down. I was getting ready to attack him but I heard somebody pounding on t he ring. I didn’t know if it was my trainer telling me to finish him off. I thought it was them telling me that there was only ten seconds left in the fight. So I really didn’t attack him. I thought the fight was over. If I had known that the fight wasn’t over and that I still had some more seconds I probably would have went for the kill and tried to knock him out, but I didn’t.”

On what he was thinking when the final scorecards were read:
“I’ve been on both sides of that stake so that is part of why I am looking forward to retiring because it is so messy in boxing. There’s no jurisdiction and the fighters are not protected. Fighters come from the heart and give it all we got, but everybody doesn’t see things like that and sometimes people are just not fair. But it is what it is. I can’t change the verdict and it is what it is, I just got to keep it moving at this point. Everybody knows I won. Even David’s whole training camp, they knew I won but it is what it is. I have a lot of respect for David and I wish him all the best in all of his endeavors trying to reach the heavyweight championship.”

On comments made by Roger Bloodworth before the fight that he was not viewing Barrett as a tune up and that every great fighter has one last great fight in him:
“That was my last fight. I don’t know but I’ll take it as a compliment. You only have to be great for one night. For those twelve rounds, that’s when you got to be great. There are no do-overs. There are no playoffs or anything. Every time you step into that ring it’s a championship. So I think that’s all I needed to do was be great for that one round, that twelfth round, for the twelve rounds of the fight. I did my best. It’s all I can do, and everybody who knows me, win, lose, or draw I’m going to give it my best.”

On whether he would consider fighting on for the right money:
“I’ve already been offered but with me, I’m raising my son and also I have daughters. I have to be accountable. Raising my son has given me a whole different look in life. I have to be accountable for my choices and my actions and for him as well. It’s not always about money. I’ve already had the money. I saved a little bit, I blew a little bit, so I’m in a good place in my life where I’m comfortable with my decision. I’m at peace with myself and I’m looking forward to starting my new career. I’m going to be very secure in a minute, so it is what it is. Like I said, I love boxing. I really, really love boxing. It’s done so much for me. But when you’re in there fighting it’s like when soldiers go to war. You’re not thinking about what the war is about, you’re just trying to survive. It’s the same thing about boxing. When you’re in there you’re not thinking about how much money I’m winning. You’re just trying to win a fight.

On what he considers to be the proudest moment of his professional boxing career:
“I would say the proudest moment of what I had in boxing would be this, because as an entertainer, you’re only as good as your last album, your last single, your last fight, your last championship game. So I would say this would be my proudest moment because I could walk the streets at the end of my career saying I could have taken the easy route out. When David was laying the heat on me, I could have laid down and nobody would have thought twice about it. You know, Monte was in with a big puncher. I persevered through that and this will be my proudest moment when I can walk away from the game that I love so much. As far as the competing side of things, I gave it my best and people can look and say you know what? Actions speak louder than words. He really did give it his best.”

His views on the current state of the heavyweight division:
“I’m really a fan of boxing. I’m clueless about the heavyweight division. I think the best heavyweight we have right now is David Haye and the reason being is that I just think he has the total package inside and outside the ring. The guy’s a smart strategic fighter inside the ring, and he’s a great personality for boxing outside of the ring. With Klitschko, Klitschko is always safe. He’s one of the strongest guys out there and he’s very smart, but he’s safe. He really plays everything safe and in boxing, to be exciting and draw people to you, you got to take risks. That’s why I think nobody has really taken to the Klitschko brothers. Vitali, on the other hand, he takes risks but he still plays safety first and risks second. Wladimir doesn’t take any risks. Then we have David Haye. David Haye is the man.”

On who he believes would win a fight between David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko:
“I would want to see something new. I would like to see David Haye win but I doubt that he would get past Wladimir. The reason I say that is I just think that Wladimir is just strong and very smart. I mean this guy is a scientific fighter. He’s a mad scientist. He has one of the best trainers in the heavyweight division, which is Emanuel Steward. With Emanuel Steward, I’ve seen him at work. He’s brilliant at what he does. I take nothing away from him. You see what he did for Miguel Cotto and it makes a big difference. I would love to see David Haye get in the action and change it around, but Wladimir is just too strong and too smart and he has a powerful jab just like his right hand. I don’t know but I think that David Haye, I don’t know about Vitali neither, but I just think that any other guy out there who is a contender or a top ten guy, he will beat those guys.

On whether he believes Haye or Wladimir has better punching power:
“Well somebody asked me that recently. I don’t really measure how hard somebody punches against my body or my face. That’s crazy, but I can say they both have good power. Anyone over 200 pounds who can punch and can fight, I have good power you saw what I did to David Tua. It’s just about applying yourself. They both have the same deceptive power. They’re both tricky. I never saw Wladimir’s punch coming and I never saw Haye’s punch coming. Both of these guys are tricky guys when it comes to punching power.”

On whether he believes a mega bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Junior will ever happen:
“I’m a fan of the sport, but I’m not a fan of what’s going on with these guys. There’s just so much gossip with he said, she said back and forth and so much manipulation. Just fight. Just sign a contract and fight. Everybody’s a winner at the end of the day and if it’s a great fight, whoever loses, there can be a rematch. I mean Pacquiao is not undefeated. He seems like he’s got his head in the right place. I don’t understand about Floyd but I can’t knock him. Jimmy Glenn my trainer told me, “Never judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes and then you can know exactly what’s on his brain”. So I don’t know what’s on Floyd’s mind. I would like to see the fight, but I’m not a fan of all the back and forth gossip. If you want to fight, just fight.”

On who he believes would win if a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao did happen:
“Before all of this happened, I’ve really kind of just distanced myself it, but before all of this happened I thought that Floyd would annihilate Pacquiao and Pacquiao is my favorite fighter. Floyd is one of my favorite fighters, but Pacquiao is my favorite fighter for more than one reason. But I thought that Pacquiao would get annihilated because Floyd doesn’t know how to lose. He was born to do this. It’s in his blood. Look at his nephew, Roger Mayweather’s son, he’s going to be another Floyd Mayweather. These guys got this already from their bloodline, and Floyd is the greatest. He’s the greatest of our generation. I think that he would lay back and counter Pacquiao off that back right foot and he would take him apart. I honestly think so.”

On whether he has any regrets from his professional career:
“Yeah. I came out to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”, and if you ever know that song Frank Sinatra’s song “My Way”—that’s one of my favorite songs by Frank Sinatra and I just wanted to do it my way. But you know, I had a few regrets and the biggest regret is fighting Hasim Rahman when I didn’t have to fight him. The second regret would be fighting Hasim Rahman the way I fought him. One of the other regrets would be fighting Valuev in a 14 ¾ square foot ring when he’s 7’2” and I’m 6’3” and we’re fighting in a phone booth. My other fourth regret would be fighting David Haye emotionally and letting him get the best of me because of the way he treated me when I was in London. The fifth regret would be, and this was me giving back to the sport of boxing, me fighting Solis on two days notice. That was another big regret.”

On what fighters in the sport today he most enjoys watching as a fan:
“I love Devon Alexander. I’m a fan of his. Of course Pacquiao and I’m a fan of Haye and Mayweather. That’s really it. There are some upcoming guys, but those are my bread and butter guys. Angulo, I’m a fan of his. There are a couple of guys out there, but I love Devon Alexander. I think he’s the truth. I think he’s the future of boxing.”

On what he believes the heavyweight division needs to become more appealing to the masses:
“Everything has got to be reinvented and I think that there is a Mike Tyson mixed with Muhammad Ali mixed with Joe Louis in the street somewhere. He hasn’t appeared yet, but he’s there and that’s what we need. We need an exciting explosive heavyweight who knows how to win and who’s exciting when he wins.”

On what he wants to say to all the fans out at East Side Boxing:
“I went the internet a lot for this David Tua fight and everybody had me counted out. Everybody had me counted out. The fans got to know how to be loyal. I mean I understand how you go to the next best thing that’s hot or whatever, but learn how to be loyal. The fans make the sport of boxing what it is to be honest with you because the more support you get from the fans the harder a fighter fights and the harder he works. You don’t want to let your fans down. At the end of the day I know it’s about making money and feeding families, but what really drives the boxing community is when the fans are on their side. Just try to be loyal to who you’re loyal to and stop jumping the bandwagon and going here, there, and the other place and just crapping on everybody. If your guy had a bad day, your guy had a bad day but don’t jump off the bandwagon. Just be loyal and support boxing as much as you can. We’re all one big family, the fans, the ring card girls, the promoters, the managers, the trainers, the fighters. We’re all one big family at the end of the day, so I tell the fans to just keep supporting boxing and learn how to be more loyal to your fighters.”


For those interested in listening to the Monte Barrett interview in its entirety, it begins approximately twenty-two minutes into the show.


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Article posted on 23.07.2010

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