Monte Barrett (tied for 199)
May 26, 1971
6’3” / 78” reach / 213-229lbs
35-11-2-0(20) from 8/16/1996 to 4/3/2014 (17y8m)
0-4-0-0(0) against the top ten
0-2-0-0(0) against linear champions
0-0-0-0(0) against hall-of-famers
no fights for the linear championship
Top ten opponents: L-TKO-7 Wladimir Klitschko, L-MD-10 Joe Mesi, L-UD-12 Hasim Rahman, L-TKO-11 Nicolay Valuev
-4 total score (0 + -4 + 0 + 0)
It’s arguable that Monte is being slightly overrated here, as his total strength-of-competition is lacking next to Alex Miteff and even Jameel McCline. However, the math in my methodology leads me to this ranking for Monte. And truthfully, as I stated in my introduction, most of the bottom 40 or so are all fairly interchangeable. I could see moving almost any of numbers 140 to 202 a dozen places each, and it would still look fine.
Anyway, Monte Barrett himself had a good career, with surprising longevity. On more than one occasion it seemed that he plateaued, then he managed to snag another good win or solid performance. Sometimes he was outclassed, but he almost always made it a fight.
“Two Gunz” was a smallish to mid-sized heavy, standing at 6’3” and weighing around 220 pounds for most of his career. He had good hand speed and middling power. His chin wasn’t great, but he had good recuperative powers. He was a good boxer, though overwhelming physical/athletic advantages could negate his skills.
Barrett started out as a promising prospect, winning his first 21 fights against the usual assortment of club fighters, then journeymen, then progressing to former contenders and fringe contenders. He beat an old Greg Page in his 19th fight, then outpointed a faded, but serviceable fringe contender in Phil Jackson. Barrett finally hit his first wall in his 22nd fight in the form of 6’8” 249 pound giant (and fellow prospect) Lance Whitaker, losing a split decision to the much larger man. Monte won two straight coming back from his first loss, only to run into rising contender (and future champion) Wladimir Klitschko. Monte gave Wlad some difficulty, but was dropped five times during the fight and eventually stopped in the 7th.
Barrett kept fighting, however, and won 6 straight, including a decision over former contender and titlist Tim Witherspoon, and decisions over tough fringe contenders such as Robert Davis and Robert Wiggins.
His next big test came in December 2003 against undefeated up-and-comer Joe Mesi. Mesi was coming off a 1 round demolition over the powerful (if slightly fragile) DaVarryl Williamson, and was considered to be on his way to a title shot. Barrett managed to upset the applecart, at least slightly, in taking Mesi the distance and losing a very tight split decision. Both men traded knockdowns, and the punch stats were nearly identical. The fight highlighted the ceiling for both men, but also managed to get both near the perceived top ten of the division.
Despite the (official) loss, Barrett’s stock was on the rise. Monte managed to acquire top ten ratings in the Ring in both 2004 and 2005, and followed the Mesi fight with a win over another hyped prospect/contender, Dominick Guinn. This time, the fight wasn’t even close, with Monte dominating the fight, winning by split decision in (with most considering the fight to be a clear 7 rounds to 3 or even 8 to 2). Then, he took on yet another undefeated prospect, Owen Beck. Beck gave Monte some trouble, but was outgunned and eventually stopped in the 9th. Barrett segued this win into a shot at Hasim Rahman’s interim WBC bauble. Neither man appeared to step on the gas (may have been related to their long-standing friendship), and the stronger and more experienced Rahman won an unexciting decision.
Barrett still retained a top ten rating, however, and was granted a shot at Nikolai Valuev’s WBA title. Barrett gave a good accounting of himself, rocking the giant in the 1st, but was gradually worn down by his much larger opponent. Valuev landed enough shots from looooong range, and clinched inside, and Barrett couldn’t do enough damage to deter his much larger foe. Monte was generally outdone by bigger opponents, and this was no exception. Valuev won in 11.
Barrett took nine months off, and came back against hard-punching, but limited Cliff Couser. Couser shocked Barrett, and everyone else, by coming out hard, catching Monte early, knocking him down in the 1st and 2nd, and prompting a quick stoppage. Barrett avenged this loss a few months later, with a 2nd round knockout of his own. He also managed to finally defeat one of the division’s giants, shocking the 6’8” 265 pound Tye Fields with a devastating 1 round demolition.
Barrett found himself in a big fight once more after the Fields win. David Haye was moving up from the cruiserweight division, and wanted a reasonably challenging, but not elite opponent for his first major heavyweight fight. The former linear cruiserweight champ dominated early, knocking Barrett down twice in the third, and twice more in the 4th. Barrett fought back, though, and managed to knock Haye down, though the referee declined to score it as a knockdown. Haye responded in impressive fashion, however, and knocked Barrett down for the 5th and final time shortly thereafter.
After the Haye fight, Barrett fought just 7 more times, going 1-4-2, losing badly to Odlanier Solis and Alexander Ustinov, and managing a draw and a win over an equally ancient David Tua. He finished his career with a one-sided 4th round KO loss to Luis Ortiz.
Monte Barrett never achieved greatness, but he won more than he lost, faced many of the best, and certainly achieved significance.