Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett on David Tua, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao and Much More! By Chip Mitchell (July 28, 2010) Doghouse Boxing
The Doghouse opens and we find Two Gunz waiting for us at the front door. No fear folks... It’s Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett, dropping in to give us his thoughts on a solid career that ended with a disputed draw with David Tua.
Chip Mitchell: Thanks for granting us this interview with you today.
Monte Barrett: Thanks for having me.
Chip Mitchell: Congrats on your fight with David Tua. I say congrats for two reasons. First, because many in the house thought you won the fight. Secondly, for a division that has been called boring by a lot of people, you and David Tua gave fans a very entertaining scrap. Your thoughts?
Monte Barrett: I thought it was a great fight. I anticipated that from Tua and myself. We were supposed to fight in 2001. I always felt that I had the style to beat David. Even though I didn’t get the nod in the judge’s eyes, I got the nod in everyone else’s eyes and my eyes. So I’m pleased with my performance and I can honestly say I gave 110 percent and that’s all you can ask of yourself.
Chip Mitchell: Ha! So you do believe you won the fight, correct?
Monte Barrett: Correct.
Chip Mitchell: How do you feel about being the only man to knock down the steel chinned David Tua in his pro career? Not Ibeabucci, not Lennox Lewis, not Michael Moorer, Fres Oquendo, or Oleg Maskaev- but Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett. How does that make you feel?
Monte Barrett: Well honestly Chip, at first I wasn’t thinking nothing of it because that’s my job. My job is to hurt or get hurt. So I never gave it that much thought but during a lot of interviews, a lot of people seemed fascinated by that point. So I guess it’s an honor. I would say I would dedicate that knockdown to all the hard work and self-preservation. Self-preservation as far as all the work I put into the fight. I never really thought about it but a lot of people made a lot of noise about it. So I guess it’ll be an honor to be the only man to drop David Tua legitimately, you know because Rahman did but they didn’t think that was legit. So I guess it’s an honor.
Chip Mitchell: Before the card, you said it would be your last fight. After the fight ended, you officially announced your retirement. Now that you’ve had a little while to think about it, are you solid with your decision?
Monte Barrett: Yes, I’m still solid with the decision.
Chip Mitchell: The fight with Tua didn’t make or break you. I’m going to go a different route than most and let’s just reflect on your career. First off let me ask, how did you get started in boxing?
Monte Barrett: I got started in boxing from a guy named Herbie Vil. Herbie Vil introduced me to a gentleman by the name of Al Davis a.k.a. ‘Pops’ who was a trainer from Vegas who moved to New York. He started training me for a year without even going to a boxing gym. Well we would go to his boxing gym which is The Dungeon. It was underneath his house in the basement. It had cobwebs and mice and everything, it was really a hardcore gym. We trained there for like a year. We went running. Just conditioned my body, my mind. Then I went to Uptown Starrett City and the rest is history. I started competing in the amateurs under Jimmy Opharrow, Andre Rozier, and Nirmal Lorick. The rest is history. I just excelled in the boxing world.
Chip Mitchell: Who are your favorite fighters, past or present?
Monte Barrett: The past- Ali, Leonard, Joe Louis. As far as today I like Devon Alexander, Manny Pacquiao, and Mayweather. I also always liked Oscar De La Hoya.
Chip Mitchell: It all started in Yonkers on August 16, 1996. What do you remember about your pro debut and did you ever imagine you’d achieve as much as you have in this game?
Monte Barrett: Well my pro debut, what I remember about it was Jamal Edwards was the first guy I fought. I remember that pretty well because that was a very, very special day in my life as far as being introduced to the boxing world. It was a fascinating experience. I remember Yonkers Raceway and it was a small crowd. I had a lot of family and friends there to support me. I felt good about it. After I finished and I stopped him in the second round, I said this is what I was born to do. You know, I’ve been fighting all my life so getting paid doing something that you love and that your good at? It was right up my alley, so that’s what I remember about my first boxing match that August. Note: Give yourself a little bit of credit here, Monte. Boxrec.com says you stopped Edwards in one round, not two.
Chip Mitchell: There was a 3 fight stretch as a so called opponent for young, undefeated fighters Joe Mesi, Domminick Guinn, and Owen Beck. You were arguably 3-0 against those guys. As we look back years from now, do you think one of your calling cards will be as a guy who performed better when he was considered an underdog?
Monte Barrett: Well I don’t know how fans or the media will view me. But, if you look back at my record I was always the underdog. Even when I fought Phil Jackson, if you want to back further than that... when I fought Phil Jackson I was an underdog. The only fight I probably wasn’t an underdog... it was probably even, I wasn’t ahead or on the bottom was Lance Whitaker. I thought I won that fight. It was a very close fight. So I’m the underdog. I’ve been an overachiever all my life and in my career, so I’m fine with that title.
Chip Mitchell: Finish this statement: If I wasn’t a boxer, I’d be__________.
Monte Barrett: If I wasn’t a boxer, I would be a politician.
Chip Mitchell: Monte, how did you get the name ‘Two Gunz’?
Monte Barrett: I got it from Pops, Al Davis. He used to train a fighter Carlton “Two Gun” Sparrow. He was out of Vegas. One day he said ‘you remind me of Carlton Two Gun’. Then I was boxing in Yonkers and I was toying with the name ‘Two Gunz’. I talked to Harold Lederman who was a good friend of mine. He came to me and said (giving his best Lederman impersonation) ‘Monte you shot that guy down like you had two guns’. Then it just stuck with me.
Chip Mitchell: Monte, how has spirituality played a part in your life as a boxer.
Monte Barrett: You are the first person to ever ask that question. That’s a great, great question. I mean it. I’m very humble. As you can tell I’m a very different person than I was when I was in my 20’s. I’m very humble to the spirit of the Lord. He has centered me in my life at this point. That was the only reason that I was able to have the performance that I had against David Tua, because I put my Lord and Savior first in my life. For the first time I really put Him first, you know? I got with a good woman. I met her at my aunt’s church and she really gave me a lot of balance. I was attracted to her because of the relationship she had with Christ. The first thing I said when I met her was “WOW- if I get with this woman I know she will give me the great balance that I need. She has helped me so much in my journey. I even joined the church probably three weeks ago. It’s just amazing. It’s a church in Englewood, New Jersey called CBC, Community Baptist Church. It’s been such a blessing to me just fellowshipping and being under the Covenant of Christ. I mean I’m on my knees two or three times a day, I’m in the Book, I be singing my songs. I’m at a different space in my life and that’s why I feel at peace.
Chip Mitchell: What are your plans now that you are retired?
Monte Barrett: My initial plan is that I have some opportunities with some big companies involved with boxing on a corporate level. I’m waiting for that to come through. I’m feeling very optimistic that it will come through. I’m going to be always involved with boxing. Boxing is me. One thing I’ve learned about life is life has its funny twists and turns. Our life is a journey. You have all your experiences through your journeys. Life and boxing have taught me so much about myself. It built my character. I always want to give back to boxing. I’m always developing in boxing. So I have a dream job I’m pursuing and it looks more than likely that I’ll get the job. I really can’t discuss it until they make the announcement and then I can go more into detail about it. If that wasn’t to go, I would probably pursue broadcasting or commentating. I’d do that as well.
Chip Mitchell: What do you want fans to remember most about Monte Barrett?
Monte Barrett: I would want fans to remember that Monte Barrett was a throwback. I fought so many guys on my resume. I never backed down from a fight, whether I was on the A-side or B-side. I gave it my all. I fell short of the championship but I’m okay with my accomplishments and my failures. I’m in a great stage in my life where I can accept the good and the bad. I just want fans to always look back at me and say you know what- that was the guy who gave us our money’s worth. He brought a lot to the sport of boxing as far as competing and not ducking people, because in the old days you didn’t get paid big money but you had to fight real good fighters. I mean fights are not like today. Back then everybody was a good fighter, a great fighter. So I would have fought ANYBODY. That’s what I want fans to remember. I NEVER backed down.
Chip Mitchell: Monte in closing, what do you have to say to the millions of fans reading this interview online?
Monte Barrett: As for being a fan of the sport of boxing, just keep supporting boxing. Keep doing the best as far as being true to who you are and being true to who you support. I see a lot of guys go back and forth. Even in my fight with David Tua they had me washed up. They had me a 14-1 underdog. You never know what another man is going through in this life until you walk in his shoes. So never be so quick to judge, but always try to be even keel. Just keep supporting the sport of boxing because we need the fans. Some fighters thrive off money, some fighters thrive off cheers, some fighters thrive off support- but I thrive off all three and I think fans play a BIG, BIG part in this whole thing. I’ll just keep supporting boxing.