David "Tuaman" Tua
By Paul Upham: Boxing fans may see a familiar face from years past this coming weekend when David Tua competes at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. He may be a little bit older at 37, but the knockout punch remains the same.
While he fought in the USA six times between 2005 and 2007, the “Tuaman” will appear in his highest profile fight in North America since his best wins in the mid to late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
In the past, the majority of the discussion about Tua’s appearance was in relation to what he weighed on the scales before a fight.
In March 1996, Tua knocked out John Ruiz in 19 seconds weighing 225lbs. He knocked out David Izon and Oleg Maskaev in December 1996 and April 1997 at 223lbs. In a thrilling points loss to Ike Ibeabuchi in June 1997, one of the heavyweight fights of the decade, Tua weighed 226lbs. In December 1998, Tua knocked Hasim Rahman clear out of the ring whilst weighing 224½lbs.
But by November 2000, Tua had piled on the weight and was 245lbs in losing a surprisingly cautious points decision to heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis. In fighting a twelve round draw in a rematch with Hasim Rahman in March 2003, Tua was a heavy 245½lbs.
The beginning of Tua’s return to big time boxing was his 2nd round knockout win over fellow Kiwi Shane Cameron in New Zealander’s Fight of the Century in October 2009. He weighed 237¾lbs.
On Thursday 15 July 2010, at the weigh-in for his 56th professional fight against another veteran Monte Barrett, Tua 51-3-1 (43) hit the scales at 237½lbs.
Though, one of the biggest changes about Tua over the years has nothing to do about his weight.
There was a time when David Tua had hair that rose toward the heavens. Indeed, before Tua fought Lennox Lewis in 2000, the Lewis camp expressed concern that (1) David might load his hair with chemicals that would get into Lennox’s eyes and impair his vision; and (2) a hard gel applied on fight night would turn the challenger’s hair into dozens of spikes, any one of which could become the equivalent of a thumb in the eye.
A decade later, Tua has a decidedly different look. His head is shaved in the manner of Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
Why the change?
“Years ago, I was at my mother’s house,” David explained at the final pre-fight press conference this week for his bout against Monte Barrett on Saturday night. “And she said to me, ‘You’re scaring all the children. You have to cut your hair.’”