David Tua inducted into Boxing Hall of Fame
“I’m going to Burger King”… On such a momentous occasion most fighters might dream of Disneyland, but maybe it was a fitting statement to a man who took on the greatest in the world but never forgot his roots and stayed humble all the way through.
I grew up watching David Tua, he was already a legend before I was even old enough to know what boxing was but I remember the glory days. I remember when he brutalised Hasim Rahman in 1998. I remember Lou Duva saying “you’re going to have to knock him out, that’s the only way you can win.” I remember when he beat John Ruiz through the ropes without barely breaking a sweat. I remember when he did the same to Michael Moorer. But there may be no fight that sticks in my memory more than watching the Tuaman stand in the ring with Lennox Lewis. It was a moment of national pride, the first time I truly felt New Zealand taking on the world.
“I’m going to Burger King” … They called it the fight of the century, Tua was all but written off. Too old. Too fat. And that was just what Shane Cameron had to say. Ever humble though, whenever questioned in the build up to the fight Tua would tell reporters that he was just going to go out there and do his job. The fight lasted 7 seconds into the second round, David Tua knocked Cameron down twice in the first before knocking him out.
David Tua’s third professional fight was at Madison Square Garden. His seventh was at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. His tenth was at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. His eleventh… was on a basketball court in Kohimarama. That’s who David Tua was.
I remember the way he would lean in to fighters, always coming forward, almost always the shorter man in the ring, he stuck that big head of his out there and let people swing at him, knowing that if they let him inside he had the knockout power to end anybody’s night. Evander Hollyfield once claimed that Tua hit him harder than even Mike Tyson.
“I’m going to Burger King”… It’s been a few years since he hung up the gloves, so maybe he’s allowed the odd whopper or bacon double cheeseburger nowadays. He still keeps fit though, running his own gym in Onehunga, training the next generation of amateurs. Still humble, still just doing his job. Next April David “the Tuaman” Tua will be inducted into the American National Boxing Hall of Fame, alongside greats like Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali, forever recognised as one of the greatest men to ever step inside the ring. O for Awesome Dave.