by Dafydd Thomas
“I put my best foot forward and did the best I could. I fought to my last breath.” – Monte Barrett
In the bookmakers’ eyes, 39 year-old Monte Barrett was a no hoper. At a 14-to-1 underdog, the one-time title challenger was there to collect his final paycheck against David Tua at Atlantic City, and was expected to wilt after the first left hook Tua landed on Barrett’s fragile whiskers. This was perceived by everyone as a prime example of a mismatch.
How wrong were we?
Barrett produced a dogged performance oozing stubbornness as he took advantage of a tiring opponent to edge himself ahead on one card going into the final round. Barrett needed to produce a big finish to walk away with something other than defeat in what he had promised to be his final fight of his 14-year profession.
In a Disney film like ending, Barrett produced a blitz of punches which floored Tua in the latter stages of the fight. That, and a point deduction Tua received earlier in the round for slamming Barrett on the canvas, was enough to ensure Barrett a majority draw. The judges scored the fight 115-111 to Tua, and 113-113 twice.
Tua and Barrett were at polarizing stages in their careers, but that didn’t differ Barrett’s motivation. Barrett had lost his last three and was spiralling out of the sport, while Tua was gearing up for one last surge at the heavyweight title, marketed as the new white hope of the marquee division. Barrett wanted to make one last stand, and he did so in spectacular fashion.
This has tought us to never underestimate the determination of a warrior who is fighting for pride.
I for one hope Monte sticks to his word and retires. He’s racked up a credible record of (34-9-1, 20 KO) and faced titleholders such as Wladimir Klitschko, David Haye, Nikolai Valuev, Hasim Rahman, Joe Mesi, Greg Page, Tim Witherspoon, and others. I doubt that he can walk out of the sport with a better result, credited as the only guy to floor David Tua.
Thanks for one of the best knockouts in the last decade, Monte, and here’s to a happy retirement.