Monte Barrett Stalks 7-Foot Heavyweight Champion

By Francis Walker
Updated: September 2, 2006

NEW YORK — Monte Barrett of South Jamaica, Queens could join Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, and Floyd Patterson as former New York City fighters to have won a world heavyweight title.

Barrett’s task will not be easy as he will challenge the undefeated, 7’0,” 324-pound Nikolai Valuev for his WBA heavyweight championship on October 7, at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL.

Valuev (44-0, 32 KOs) vs. Barrett (31-4, 17 KOs) is promoted by Don King productions along with Sauerland Event. HBO will broadcast the event at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT.

At 6-feet-3 and 225 pounds, the 35-year-old Barrett is not worried that the 33-year-old native of St. Petersburg, Russia, has never been hurt and remains unbeaten as a professional fighter.

The weight difference of 100 pounds will not matter to Barrett, who admitted that he will be the decisive underdog. Barrett has faith that he has the skills and the willpower to chop Valuev down to size.” “It’s not the size of the dog,” said Barrett, whose eyes brightened through a dark pair of sunglasses he was nearing. “It’s the size of the fight in the dog.” “I’m 225 pounds, but my heart is 224 pounds,” Barrett added. “You know the story of David vs. Goliath? David destroyed Goliath with his heart, his faith. It took David five rocks to do it. It’s going to take me two rocks. Your God is the only one who goes with you to fight your enemy.” Barrett is determined to win his first heavyweight title. Valuev is one of four heavyweight champions from the Soviet Union to simultaneously hold a heavyweight title. That is a feat that has never occurred before in boxing history.

Valuev became the largest man to ever win a world heavyweight championship when he dethroned John Ruiz (W 12) in December 2005. Valuev has made one successful defense, a third-round TKO of Jamaica’s Owen Beck on June 3.

Valuev is 5 consecutive victories away from tying the late Rocky Marciano’s undefeated heavyweight record of 49-0.

A victory over Valuev would mean much more to Barrett than bring back one of the four major heavyweight championships to the United States.

“A victory would mean all of my hard work paid off. “My time is now. It would mean more to me than anyone else. My blood, sweat, and tears would have paid off. On October 7th it will happen.” Hard work are the two simplest words to describe Barrett’s rise from overcoming personal turmoil, conditioning problems, and other distractions to become a world heavyweight title contender.

In Barrett’s last fight on Aug. 13, 2005, he took heavy criticism for his lackluster performance against Hasim Rahman. Barrett dropped a unanimous 12-round decision and an opportunity to win the WBC heavyweight title.

“The Rahman fight, I will put on record.” Barrett said. “I was 100% physically, but mentally… I received word that my sister was stabbed.” Barrett said he has been in camp for five weeks already and appears to be in solid shape.

“Barrett is a narcissist,” King said. “When he took off his shirt at HBO, his abs was so profound and significant that I felt insulted.” King may have been impressed with Barrett’s physique. Make no mistake, the famed boxing promoter is not necessarily moved by appearance. King goes when the winner is – on top.

“Nikolai Valuev is the eighth wonder of the world.” King added.

Valuev is not new to U.S. soil. He has fought here twice (1997, 2001). He’s big, slow, but packs a solid punch. Valuev maybe strong, but Barrett, by far will be the best opposition that Valuev has faced throughout his career.

“I am not a very good speaker,” Valuev said through an interpreter. “I just want to invite you all on Oct. 7 for something special. I’ve fought 44 times and I always go back home (a winner).”