With the dawn of the New Year the talk of what fights most boxing fans would like to see in 2010 has been bantered about for the last few weeks or so. Obviously the fight everybody wants to see is Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather which will most likely happen with both parties agreeing to a 50-50 purse split with Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title on the line.
Other bouts that have been thrown out are Vazquez-Marquez IV, Chad Dawson vs. Bernard Hopkins at light heavyweight, Kelly Pavlik vs. Paul Williams at middleweight. Some heavyweight bouts that have been thrown out have matched Chris Arreola vs. David Tua and David Haye versus either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko. All of the proposed match ups listed have the potential be intriguing stylistically or explosive and exciting from an action perspective.
However, the fight I'd be most fascinated to see in 2010 isn't among them.
With either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko having had a strangle-hold on the heavyweight division since Lennox Lewis last fought in June of 2003 I'd like to see one of them in a real fire fight against an opponent who can really punch, who has a great chin and wouldn't be awed by the sight of either one of them standing across the ring.
Therefore the fight I'd like to see in 2010 would be David Tua 50-3-1 (43) with one more tune-up bout under his belt by March of this year – fighting either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko for one of the alphabet titles in mid July or August. Tua has longed for a title shot since Lennox Lewis administered a boxing clinic at his expense almost ten years ago.
Tua has always been a frustrating fighter because he was born with such natural strength and punching power along with a cast-iron chin, gifts that can't be acquired or learned. At one time he used to exhibit good head and upper-body movement and put his punches together in succession. In fact he and the fighter who handed him his first career defeat, Ike Ibeabuchi, are the two best prospects to come along in the heavyweight division since the Tyson, Holyfield, Lewis and Bowe era.
Yes, Tua and Ibeabuchi were better prospects than either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko. But everyone knows that potential can be a career killer as it was in the cases of Tua and Ibeabuchi. Tua lacked discipline and motivation and Ibeabuchi was a head case and borderline nut. So despite their better potential, neither will be viewed as better fighters or rank higher historically than either one of the Klitschko brothers.
That said, Tua still has dynamite in both hands and still has never really been shook or in trouble in any of his 54 bouts. Add to that Wladimir is never more than one big-punch away from fighting as the prey instead of the predator during any of his fights – and Vitali has slowed some and looked vulnerable even in his walk over against Kevin Johnson last month.
The Tuaman having tasted the wrath of Lewis and Ibeabuchi when they were at their best shouldn't be overwhelmed by the size, strength, work-rate or boxing acumen of either Wladimir or Vitali. Granted, Tua lost miserably to Lewis, but neither K-brother are the fighter that Lewis was.
Tua is a fighter that who in spite of his physical attributes only goes as far as his mental outlook and focus take him. Once he was confronted with the reach and outside fighting capability of Lennox Lewis and realized that Lennox wasn't going to make it easy for him, Tua became discouraged and fought not be embarrassed instead of to win.
Tua's had almost a decade to stew about that and has said repeatedly how bad he wants another shot at the title. He hasn't taken any meaningful punishment since he fought Lewis and it's widely known that he sees both Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko as being very beatable and not in the class that Lewis was as a fighter.
That's another problem with Tua— he always says the right things but can't be counted on to fight to his fullest capacity on a given night. Tuaman has the style if he's hellbent on winning the fight to bother both brothers. He also has the power to keep Wladimir from pushing the fight and to keep Vitali on his heels. It's doubtful that either one of the K-brothers would do anything but pick their spots and fight a safety first fight against him, which in fairness is the best way to fight Tua. But in doing that Tua if he took advantage of it, would have his chances to get inside their reach and force it on the inside from close quarters. He'd only need to get in with a couple left-hooks to get the momentum in his favor.
Then again we're talking about David Tua who seems to spit the bit in a big spot. If he allows himself to become passive due to Wladimir's technical competence or Vitali's awkwardness, he'll see round after losing round slip away. And in all likelihood that's probably the scenario that would unfold.
It's just that it would be intriguing to see either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko in the ring with a true life-taking puncher who's never been hurt and has shared the ring with a fighter in Lennox Lewis who was a little more complete and dangerous than either K-brother. It's just what Tua shows up? And with the chance of a motivated Tua fighting for his career possibly showing up makes Tua vs. either Klitschko the heavyweight fight I'd most want to see in 2010.
Although I have doubts either Klitschko would consider fighting Tua unless they were forced to because he was a mandatory challenger.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com