Tua Continues His Slow Climb To The Top

david tua17.08.07 - By Ron Hansen: Former heavyweight contender David Tua (47-3-1, 40 KOs) continues with his agonizingly slow ring return when he takes on former light heavyweight Saul Montana (48-14, 42 KOs) on Saturday night at the South Town Exhibition Center, in Sandy, Utah. Fighting his sixth fight since coming off a two year lay off from 2003 to 2005, Tua, 34, has done little to turn up the dial on his career, mainly focusing on lower level opposition while trying to fine tune his rusty boxing skills.

So far, it hasnít worked sufficiently enough for Tua to feel comfortable fighting better opposition, which is why Montana, another C-grade fighter, has been brought in for Tua to face. For all his delay in improving his opposition, Tua, perhaps, is taking a page out of Shannon Briggís strategy book of getting a shot a heavyweight title, by fighting tomato cans until finally they thrust him into a title shot, regardless of opposition faced.

If that indeed is Tuaís strategy, then he has a ways to go, because heís only ranked # 12 in the WBC, while not being ranked at all in the other sanctioning organizations.

Tua has looked less than impressive in his five fights since coming back in 2005, appearing much slower than before and throwing far fewer combinations. Overall, his punch output has dropped off significantly over that time and he appears more concerned with conserving his strength rather than working. In contrast, earlier in his career when he was fighting his best against the likes of Oleg Maskaev and Ike Ibeabuchi, Tua was a tireless worker, throwing non-stop punches from start to finish. Considering his awesome power in his left hook, his bouts didnít often go that far before he scored a knockout.

While heís still only 34-years old, relatively young for a heavyweight, both his appearance and work rate suggest otherwise. In his prime, from 1992-1999, Tua fought at around 230lbs. Since then, however, heís been at 230 once in 2001, when he drastically stripped off a massive amount of weight to make it to 233 for his bout against Chris Byrd. The weight, though, came off too quickly and Tua fought poorly against Byrd en route to losing a 12-round unanimous decision.

One ray of hope, however, is Tuaís weight for Saturdayís bout, a reported 237 lbs. Though in the photos, he still doesnít look as trim as he formerly did in the 90s, itís a good start and perhaps an indication that Tua has finally gotten his act in gear with both his training and diet. The real challenge, of course, will be whether he can continue beyond Saturdayís fight, since heís had a history of rewarding himself after victories by indulging in feasts.

If Tua can start putting his punches together again like before (a very slim chance), heís clearly got the power and the chin to beat heavyweights like Samuel Peter or Ibragimov. In fact, a young Tua compares favorably to Peter, in my book. The problem is, Tua hasnít looked that good in years and would probably Ė in the absence of a miracle knockout Ė get easily out-pointed by Peter or one of the other champions. Itís difficult to say how much of Tuaís string of bad performances in recent years have been due to his weight issues or how much because of increasing age.

For me, I think itís mostly weight related considering his offensive output dropped off in an instant when he came in at a bloated 249 lbs for his championship bout with Lennox Lewis in 2001. Frankly, it was insane for Tua to come into a bout of such importance weighing as much as he did, but Iím assuming Tua felt that it would help him against the larger, 6í5Ē 250 lb Lewis. Though, I can somewhat understand why Tua would want to come in larger against Lewis, but that excuse doesnít hold water for his subsequent bouts against Danell Nicholson, Fres Oquendo and many others.

Article posted on 18.08.2007

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