Talkin' Boxing with David Tua

02.11.06 - By Scoop Malinowski: One of the more colorful heavyweight contenders of the last decade is back on the scene. David Tua, who holds stoppage wins over three heavyweight champions (Maskaev, Ruiz and Rahman) will box on Friday night November 3rd at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City - against Abraham "The African Assasin" Okine (14-2, 8 KO's).

The 34-year-old Tua (45-3-1, 39 KO's) was in a jovial mood as we talked some boxing at the Palm Restaurant press conference: The former 1992 New Zealand Olympic bronze medalist had some profound thoughts when asked to comment on the Liakhovich-Briggs WBO Heavyweight title clash this weekend.

"I believe Briggs has got a puncher's chance. He can box as well, he can get up and move. From a fighter point of view, you just hope the right guy shows up for that fight. Because you can have the best camp, every day you go to the gym and do everything right but then on that night you just don't feel the best. But as a fighter you stay in there, you hang in there, you keep trying things out." ..

Tua sounded genuinely proud and happy for his former rival Oleg Maskaev's history making triumph this summer.

"Something good happened for him. I'm happy for him. People said he was over the hill but he was passionate about boxing, he stayed in there and he's a champion."

Standing barely 5-foot, 10- inches tall, The Samoan warrior pondered how he'd fight the 7-foot, 320 lb. behemoth Nikolay Valuev.

"With someone like that, you gotta capitalize on the body. For me, if I was to fight someone like that, I'd have to punch the body. If the body is given to me I've got to capitalize on that. I gotta move. Gotta move. I can't stand in front of him. Even someone as big as he is - an arm or a shoulder - it takes a toll. And I saw that when he fought Monte Barrett. When he started leaning on him. He could only take so much."

Could you beat Valuev?

"I believe so."

When asked which champion he would pick to challenge if he were lucky enough to have that choice, Tua said:

"Honestly, just whatever opportunity comes my way. If it's the WBO, so be it. If it's the other three titles, whatever."

Of all his 49 professional contests, in which one or two did he feel at his absolute best? Which were David Tua's finest performances?

"Back in the day when I was coming through the ranks, certainly Ibeabuchi fight. When I was finally given the opportunity to avenge my loss from the Olympic Games - David Izonritei. Those would be the two that stand out the most."

Of all the punches thrown in his life, which one was the best, the most perfect?

"It would have to be the fight in New York that took place a couple of months ago (vs. Gutierrez). The body shot. Because people saw me throw the left hook to the body but I know I'm capable of doing more. But to execute that is another thing. For me to finally put that, execute that - for me personally it would have to be that body shot."

Probably the most memorable night of his career was the all-time heavyweight punch record-breaking slugfest with Nigerian legend Ike Ibeabuchi. Just how good was The President Ibeabuchi, who assassinated his enormous potential for failing to live by the law (he is now in jail in Nevada)?

"He was a good fighter. It was a fight I believed I won, given that I was the champion (WBC Intercontinental) and you have to take the title away from the champion. What people don't understand is - or didn't know - that we broke the record (for total punches) when I fought David Izonritei - the fight before that, me and David did that. The Ike fight obviously broke that record. But he was at the time obviously needed somebody that could obviously bring out the best out of him and that was that."

It is so tempting to ask Tua who he thinks would have won, Lennox Lewis or Ike. Because he fought 12 hard rounds with both. Such a thoughtful man, like the artist he is (he writes poetry and paints) Tua paused and slowly tried to figure out his honest belief on that difficult question.

"He really believes he would have certainly had the opportunity to hurt Lewis, to even beat Lewis. To take nothing away from Lewis - because he's a great champion and a very, very good boxer."

I prodded him gently for a little more. Both Ike and Lennox, at their best...

"I would have to say Ibeabuchi. I would have to say that. Because not only he was a bunny, but he was throwing punches. And it was constant. It was constant, constant moving. For me it was trying to catch that perfect moment, a perfect shot to hit him clean but I couldn't. So, therefore, when I couldn't hit him with a hook, I gotta come in. And unfortunately for me the bell went in the 11th round. He'd certainly be dangerous. One thing about a fighter, once he believes something - even if he says the apple is blue, it's blue - once a fighter makes up his mind that that's what he's gonna do, he's gonna beat you. I'm referring to when we fought. He really believed that he was gonna beat me. And therefore he went out and fought just like that. So what I'm saying is - taking from that fight - if he was to fight Lewis - I really believe it would be the same thing. He would really, really believe that he would beat Lewis."

In Part 2 with David Tua, he will analzye the top of the heavyweight division and his performance vs. Okine.

Check out Scoop's site

Article posted on 02.11.2006

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