‘I’ll Fight Anybody’

By Francis Walker
Updated: July 20, 2008

NEW YORK — Monte Barrett (34-6, 20 KOs) believes that at age 37 he still has what it takes to compete amongst the heavyweight division’s elite. Barrett, featured on the HBO Pay-Per-View underneath Manny Pacquiao’s blazing ninth-round TKO of David Diaz in June, demolished 6-foot-8, 265-pound Tye Fields in just 51 seconds.

Barrett, not a big heavyweight at 6-feet-3, 215 pounds, is also not recognized for having devastating KO power. However, he proved once again that styles make fights and that he’s still an entertaining heavyweight contender worthy of big fights — even a world title shot.

“[The victory] puts me back in contention in the heavyweight division,” Barrett told BASN during an exclusive interview. “If I couldn’t beat Tye Fields, then I should retire from boxing. I’m disappointed because, no one feels that it’s a big win. If you have a first round KO on HBO Pay-Per-View featuring Manny Pacquiao, you don’t think it’s a big win?”

The victory couldn’t come at a more crucial time in Barrett’s career. Barrett, having fought professionally since August 1996, overcame a shocking second-round TKO defeat to Cliff Couser one year ago. Although Barrett avenged that loss with a decisive KO of Couser in February, a loss to Fields would have spelled the end of Barrett’s career.

“When I fought Tye Fields I was about to punch a wall in my dressing room,” Barrett stated emphatically. “My dressing room was right next to Manny Pacquiao’s. I hit the wall and Manny punched the wall back. I wanted to eat my food in Tye Fields. I knew no one, not even Tye Fields, could beat me.”

Entering training camp, Barrett was well aware that he fights best when he’s aggressive and simply let his hands go. Barrett knew that if he was patient he could seriously hurt Fields coming in with a solid shot. Fields played straight into Barrett’s game plan early in the fight. After landing a series of right and left hook bombs, the fight was over.

“I thought that if Tye Fields was aggressive it would be an easy fight,” Barrett added. “He’s a big, slow guy and we worked on handling that in training camp.”

Barrett has won his last three fights — all by KO. Barrett, a former two-time heavyweight title challenger, is an attractive opponent. He’s amongst the top 15 ranked heavyweights in the world. He has good experience and a very durable guy that can give you an action-packed fight.

“Two Guns” wants “The Hayemaker”

Barrett, also known as “Two Guns” behind his relentlessness and (at times) underestimated punching power, would like to fight cruiserweight champion and rising heavyweight contender David Haye.

“David Haye, I’d like to fight,” Barrett said. “David Haye wants to move to heavyweight and to make a name for himself. David Haye is going to get a big Hayemaker when he comes up. I’m impressed with his accomplishments. He’s undisputed. He backs up his talk. I want to fight that guy.”

Haye has gone on record labeling the current crop of heavyweights as “bums.” Haye is moving up in weight hoping to challenge IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko; the champion stopped Barrett in a very entertaining fight in July 2000.

Haye, having unified the WBC/WBA and WBO cruiserweight titles, was awarded the No. 5 ranking by the World Boxing Council and is looking forward to a meaningful heavyweight fight.

Barrett is doubtful as to whether Haye, who walks around at 234 pounds, can bring his power especially his speed up to heavyweight.

“I think David Haye, ‘The Hayemaker,’ is not bringing his power to heavyweight,” Barrett said. “He’s good at what he does, but I don’t think he’s going to bring his speed up.”

Barrett added: “David Haye is a big mouth guy. I’m taking the humble route. I want to let him know that this is heavyweight, not cruiserweight. I’m going to shut him down.”

Strained promotional relationships with Don King, desperation

Barrett is also desperate because, perhaps he feels that his boxing career is winding down. Perhaps promoters are looking for the America’s next great heavyweight boxing champion that could compete on the highest level on the sport. It is because of this very thinking that has led Barrett to have strained relationships with boxing promoters.

Don King in particular.

“Don is the king of manipulation,” Barrett stated. “King doesn’t respect fighters. He has made money off this boxing game. He’s robbing fighters. King and other promoters — they’re all the same.”

“Some promoters have a little more dab to their game. King wants to get paid more than the fighters all the time. I use to be an advocate for Don King. Now, I think he’s one of the worst people on the planet.”

Barrett said that he only had three weeks to prepare for unbeaten heavyweight prospect Owen Beck in February 2005. Barrett handed Beck his first professional loss and was given only $125,000. Barrett was coming off two high profile fights on televised HBO against Dominick Guinn (W 10) and Joe Mesi (L 10).

Barrett felt he deserved more money, especially since he fought Beck in a WBC/IBF title eliminator on the undercard of Zab Judah’s spectacular TKO of Cory Spinks for the undisputed world welterweight championship at the Savvis Center in St. Louis, MO.

Six months later, Barrett was paid $250,000 for an interim WBC heavyweight title fight against Hasim Rahman in August 2005. The two fought for the interim tag when it became clear then WBC champion Vitali Klitschko was too injury prone to resume his boxing career. Barrett lost a 12-round decision to Rahman, who would later become the official WBC heavyweight champion once Klitschko retired.

When Barrett challenged 7-foot-3, 320-pound Valuev for the WBA heavyweight title in October 2006. The fight was televised on HBO and King also had international broadcast rights as promoter because the fight was televised in foreign countries such as Germany and Russia.

Barrett received only $160,000 to Valuev’s $850,000.

Barrett believes that he should have received more money for fighting Valuev, since the Russian was a bigger name internationally and brought in more foreign television revenue.

“Not fighting for 14 months money was low,” Barrett said. “Plus, it was a chance to fight for a world heavyweight title.”

Barrett’s quest for a world heavyweight title shot

Barrett is focused on going back to the drawing board in search of one more world heavyweight title shot. Perhaps a victory against a high profile fighter like Haye or any other top-10 heavyweight can ensure Barrett’s chances in the future.

“I also want to fight Sam Peter,” Barrett said. “Chris Areola is an option, but I really want to fight for the belt. I’m going for one of these belts. I’m a throwback from the old days. I’ll fight anybody. They keep bringing me back on HBO because, I keep brining excitement. I think I’m really ready. I’ll be victorious.”

“I’m motivated and ready to continue his climb toward another world heavyweight title shot,” Barrett continued.

Barrett’s passion for fighting

Barrett’s typical day when he’s not training for a fight includes a 7 AM run, boxing routine around midday, and strength and conditioning training late afternoon each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Barrett fought as recent as June — and is already eying another in-ring return.

“I would like to fight A.S.A.P. I’m just weighing things out,” Barrett said. “My advisor and I, Greg Leon, want to capitalize. I’m in the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I box with young amateur guys. I love it!”

“You have to have a passion for it. I’m a gym rat.”

Barrett focused on his family and the future

Barrett is motivated by his wife, his children, a rededication to training, and his faith in God.

“I find that motivation by having a family, support them by competing and not losing,” Barrett said. “I’ve learned that there is a tomorrow. I’ve changed my training and eating habits. I do this for my family, myself, and God.”

Added Barrett: “I’m very athletic and blessed with genetics. I use to play basketball, baseball, and football at the Boys & Girls Club. My kids play track, baseball, basketball, football. I see myself in the all over again.”

Barrett, who has fought a lot of top heavyweights in his career that include Wladimir Klitschko, Valuev, Rahman, and Mesi, is also a desperate man.

“I’m desperate,” Barrett continued. “When you’re desperate, you do desperate things. I have a lot of bills to pay and a lot of kids to feed. I know what its like to have and what’s its like not to have.”

The End?

Perhaps boxing promoters are more concerned with the upcoming crop of heavyweights that will be coming out of this summer’s Beijing Olympics and will be less interested in Barrett. If that’s the case, Barrett is looking to cement the final touches of what has been (and still is) an adventurous career.

“How do you want to end your boxing career?” Barrett asked himself. “Do you want to go out with a bang?

“I chose to go out with a bang.”