Former heavyweight contender Monte Barrett hopped on the horn with TALKBOX this week and clued us in on what might go down tomorrow, in a Wembley Stadium ring as only someoe who has been there and done that could.
He’s stared down the nerves…put in the months and weeks of grueling training and counted down to a make or break opportunity which could lead to piles of loot that would make his family set for life…catapult him into that next level of notoriety…or that crossroads which could lead to the exit ramp, to the uncomfortable space where you know that your time as a top grade pugilist is done.
Barrett, who last fought in 2014, losing to ascending Luis Ortiz, and owns a 35-11-2 mark. He’s tangled with Wladimir himself, back in 2000, coming out on the losing end (TKO7).
“Father Time will stay undefeated the night of the fight,” Barrett told us. Wlad is strong minded and a good soul, he said, while Joshua is maybe the future of the sport. “I think Joshua has too much momentum going and Wlad is trying to come back..but Joshua is extraordinary to me,” Barrett told us.
He thinks AJ will do to Wlad what Wlad has done to others. Bad news for Wlad, said Barrett, is the loss of Manny Steward in the corner. Nothing against Jon Banks, he said, but “I think that’s where his handicap is…He holds a lot..and Manny showed him how to manuever, and now he’s exposed.”
But wait, what about Father Time? What about being 41? We saw how sad he looked versus Tyson Fury, throwing 20 punches in some rounds. Barrett said he didn't want to be dismissed as being old, so he doesn’t want to count Wlad out. But yes, aging is working against him, the ex contender, age 45, noted on the EVERLAST podcast.
Joshua has to beat the man, to be the man, as Oscar did, as Floyd did…amd AJ can do the same.
We talked about how there is nothing like the heavyweight division. How important is it for boxing for AJ to win big? Barrett said it is “very important” for AJ to win. “I think he is the future of boxing,” said Barrett. “This is his era, and I think it’s a tossup when he and Deontay Wilder fight, but I like Joshua…he has everything going for him as champion.”
Yep, Barrett believes…he doesn’t need more time to assess the Brit, he doesn’t need him to beat Wlad to deem him TNBT.
We talked about AJ’s personality. It isn’t compelling. Barrett says many Euro fighters are diplomatic types, and that can work today. US fighters and personalities more so act with chip on shoulder, he continued. That’s because 95% of fighters come from nothing, and they are susceptible to trying to fit a persona, and act up to get buzz.
Barrett then talked about his tango with Wlad. It was July, 2000…
The hitter was promoted by Joe DeGuardia and Cedric Kushner. He was in camp with Lennox Lewis for 5 weeks, and trained by Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. Barrett only boxed 22 rounds with Lennox, and the rounds were wars. “I was young, and feeling like I was the man,” he recalled. It sapped him, and Lennox. So he started work with Russell Chasteen and busted his nose and was left with little sparring. “It was a lot for me and I think I was overwhelmed by the position and pressure…Wladimir was the better guy,” he said. Dehydration during the scrap didn’t help, and back then, he didn’t know as much about proper nutrition and hydration.
And what of nerves? Did they hit Barrett? Could they bother AJ? Nah, AJ has been fighting in sold out joints, so he should be OK. Monte was OK in the leadup, but he had the runs, after just eating pizza, and it was one of the hurting elements. Barrett also was psyched out because “I felt like I was fighting two guys,” the two Klitschko brothers. Barrett thinks AJ will be OK, he’s more polished than Barrett was, the New Yorker told us.
I told him I wasn’t so sure….90,000 plus people…c’mon, the butterflies are going to be slam dancing in AJ's gut, no?
Nah…Barrett told us he was a ghetto kid, with “family, friend and leeches” behind him. Joshua has better backing. (Barrett recognized the leech factor in retrospect. “I lost a fight and they kicked me to the curb,” he said.)
The chat was lengthy, we were able to digress. There will be people whispering about the possibility of PEDs, because the two main eventers are so majestically proportioned. Did he ever use or get tempted to use PEDs, I wondered. “No, I never was tempted, I never was presented with the opportunity,” Barrett told us.
He told us that he once took a supplement, and the second time he fought David Tua, in 2011, his urine got flagged. He bought it at GNC, he said. It was an unknowing infraction. But taking PEDs is like a gal who gets ahead by surgical enhancement. It’s not what God gave them. He thinks between 75-80 percent of people he fought were using PEDs, he told me.
Barrett continued. He said the fighters all have nutritional coaches. They used to eat what they want to eat and work it off in the gym, now guys want to look cut as hell.
All in all, great insights from a good dude. If you don’t listen to and subscribe to TALKBOX, get to it, will ya?