Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Opinion: Tua - Ahunanya

Tonight, former heavyweight title challenger and the #3 ranked heavyweight by the WBO, David “The Tuamanator” Tua faces former challenger, and also Shane Cameron head-splitter, Friday “The 13th” Ahunanya. This is the first fight for Tua since he dismantled Shane Cameron in just over a round last October and a continuation of what must be his last shot at heavyweight glory. The bout, at the Waitakere Trusts Stadium (chur!), is surely a ‘must win’ for both and a loss would signal an affective end to their professional careers.

Boxing, is not a sport of logic. For instance, if A beats B and B beats C then surely A must beat C? Not so. Take the welterweight division. Miguel Cotto decisioned Sugar Shane Mosley, Cotto was then stopped by Antonio Margarito. Margarito was, of course, then heavily favored over Mosley. The result? Sugar Shane ftw. Illogical. So, after Ahunanya TKO’d Cameron in the last round in what was a “fairly even” contest then Tua beat Cameron like he stole something, then it must go that Tua would wax Ahunanya. Relativity. However, let’s take a closer look….

DAVID TUA 50-3-1 (43 KOs)

The only way to begin to talk about Tua’s strengths is in highlighting the left hand. Tua’s left hook has closed the show on many credible heavyweights including the 19 second dicknailing of John Ruiz. That’s right. Bitch. Despite fighting most of the best heavyweights over the past decade (and being a two time titleholder) this remains the only stoppage loss on Ruiz’s ledger. This weapon ranked Tua as the 48th greatest puncher of all-time (all-time!!) according to Ring Magazine.

Tua’s chin has also been the divisions best for a long time. The last time Tua was off his feet officially in a contest was when he was stopped by Cuban legend, and three time Olympic gold medallist, Felix Sevon at the 1991 World Amateur Champs. He has weathered punchers such as Ike Ibeabuchi, Lennox Lewis and Hasim Rahman all whilst never taking a backwards step.

Tua also has the edge in competition faced over his career with a bevy of former, future and one present champs faced. His only losses have come at the hands of Ike Ibeabuchi, Lennox Lewis (for the title) and Chris Byrd (a titlist). He drew in the return Rahman (also a titlist) fight but had stopped him in the first.

Tua’s major problem has been his inactivity, whether it takes him a couple of years to comeback and face a standing corpse or whether he stands in the ring not throwing anything. His laziness is well documented and his physical condition can be suspect at best. He first turned pro weighing 200 pounds however he has come in as high as 253 and shaped like a bag of water. He officially weighed in at 240 but looks a lot harder than he did in his last bout against Cameron where he weighed 237. 240 is heavy for Tua, how effective that 240 is remains to be seen.

Even though he possesses one of the best left hands ever, Tua is one-dimensional and can be easily out-boxed. As previously noted, because of the condition he comes into fights in, he can also have problems catching opponents that can move around the ring (although he does carry his power late).

Currently, Tua is ranked 3rd in the world by the WBO, it must be noted that the WBO isn’t all that credible. I could be ranked by the WBO, if I wanted to. It’s just that I don’t wanna.


Outstanding defence seems to be the calling card of fighters from Africa and it is no different in Ahunanya. A great chin (never knocked out), from a guy who holds his hands high and has some decent head movement, is always going to be a tough cookie to crack. Even when he appeared to be wobbled by Cameron, Friday just wouldn’t sit down. Apparently Tua and Ahunanya have sparred before and Tua was only able to floor him once and never hurt him. If Saturday night is just all right for fighting then Friday must have been born to take a punch.

Although he is defensively weighted, Ahunanya possesses a strong jab and is an effective counter puncher. Even though he appeared overmatched against Cameron, he countered him silly before turning out the lights.

Friday’s training camp also seems like it was better than Tua’s. For instance, Tua sparred with second tier heavy Israel Garcia whilst Ahunanya sparred with former champs Sam Peter and Hasim Rahman. Compounding that, even though he hasn’t fought in nearly two years, is the fact that Friday has a far better recent resume of opponents. Never mind the fact that he lost to everyone that mattered. His last two bouts were wins against undefeated opponents (Alonzo Butler and Cameron).

The quality of Ahunanya’s RECENT opponents trumps Tua’s, by a long shot. Tua’s last bout against good opposition was a 2003 draw against Hasim Rahman. Since 2003, Friday has faced names which include Dominick Guinn, Sultan Ibragimov and Alexander Povetkin. However, it must be noted that he hasn’t won against a top-tier decent opponent. Neither Cameron nor Butler are world class and his best result was the 2005 draw with Guinn.

Ahunanya can be a little defensive for his own good. He likes to counter punch out of the guard and can look unwieldy when aggressive. Against Tua, he can not afford to be sloppy or overly defensive. A fraction of a second is all it takes to put your fuse out.

Despite being a physical strong guy Ahunanya’s power is not intimdating. His stoppage of Cameron aside, he has never stretched out anyone of note. Friday is more likely to be the end of your week than the end of your night.

By fighting in Tua’s hometown, and considering the state of boxing judging in New Zealand, it would be hard to imagine Ahunanya winning a decision. Despite countering Cameron for a good portion of the fight, he was still behind on the cards. Unlike the cars I drove when I was a teenager, you just not gonna be able to dent either Tua nor Ahunya. No matter how recklessly you drive. Which “logically” means this fight will go to the cards.

Tua decision.

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