Has the perfect time come for the Tuaman to make his mark on the heavyweights?

30.03.05 - By Dan Frost: While today the heavyweight division is as bad as anyone can remember, one man that feels he could rise to the occasion and take a piece of the heavyweight crown is former world title challenger and feared puncher David Tua. The 32 year old samoan returns to the ring after nearly 2 years to the date, he faces American Talmadge Griffis in the ten-round main event on a show presented by Cedric Kushner Promotions on March 31, 2005 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Apparently now weighing 235lbs - his lowest fighting weight in years, he seems to be more dedicated and serious about his approach to a second chance at a title shot.

"I had a tremendous training camp," said the 32-year-old Tua. "I went back to the basics. I did a lot more roadwork while developing more power in both hands."

You can see why most people would perceive him as ‘The Nearly Man’. He managed to fall short on several attempts when he really needed to arise to the occasion. The main disadvantage that he has had against the rest of the contenders was probably his size (standing around 5’10) and one-dimensional come forward style, he always had trouble against good tall fighters with a good strong jab (as he would later find out with Lewis and Rahman).

Tua holds a impressive record of 42-3-1 with 37 knockouts, and obtains a granite chin and powerful left hook that would have Joe Frasier drooling at the mouth. His last bout was a highly debatable draw with former Lennox Lewis conqueror Hasim Rahman. Many thought (as did I) he was fortunate enough to get away with the result.

I first recall seeing Tua blasting out now 2-time WBA champion John Ruiz in an amazing 19 seconds, I was gob smacked how hard this contender hit, he physically reminded me of a prime Mike Tyson. Gradually moving up the rankings with good wins over contenders David Izon and Oleg Maskaev, his career stalled when he came up against another huge prospect in Ike Ibeabuchi. Unbeaten - like Tua, Ibeabuchi took a UD over the much favoured slugger. A fight that also holds the compubox record for most punches ever thrown in a heavyweight contest.

After the loss Tua worked his way back into title contention with KO wins over B-level opposition to face undisputed champion Lennox Lewis. The fight wasn’t quite as explosive as many first thought, Tua was totally outboxed and made to look ordinary against the cautious and dominant champion.

Since that defeat, he has managed to record some good wins over Fres Oquendo and former WBA/IBF champion Michael Moorer, a points defeat to current IBF champion Chris Byrd and of course the questionable draw with Rahman. So the record does suggest he can compete and beat with the very best.

With Lennox Lewis now retired, there will probably be no better time for Tua to re-ignite the dreary heavyweight division and at last claim what he believes is his destiny from the less than talented alphabet champions, the question is - can the ever exciting Tua make it back after a long time out of the ring and claim sports biggest prize?

I for one bet he will!

Article posted on 30.03.2005

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