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‘Two Gunz’ Barrett to climb back into ring

After last month’s less-than-spectacular 10-round split decision win over former heavyweight champion “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon, Jamaica native Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett chalked up his performance to a lack of activity. After all, the 30-year-old sparred just 30 rounds in five months to prepare for the bout.

Barrett vowed he would keep busy in his attempt to climb up the heavyweight ladder, so when his promoter, Joe DeGuardia, offered Barrett a fight at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan on short notice, the former John Adams football star jumped at the opportunity, even though he is slated to enter the ring in Atlantic City in late August.

“The last two years I only fought three times,” said Barrett, who is ranked 12th in the world by the International Boxing Federation and 18th by the World Boxing Council. “That’s no go, not if I’m going to be a contender or champion. I have to build my confidence and start working in the ring, getting a lot of fights.”

Barrett (25-2) will take on John Sargent (22-3) in the 10-round main event of the card to be held at Roseland on Thursday, July 26, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, which are available through Ticketmaster, range in price from $30 to $100.

“They’re not putting me in against a killer. We’re getting in [the ring] to get work at this time,” Barrett said. “All fighters need confidence, all fighters need to know where they’re at. I know I need to gain more confidence, start fighting guys and start feeling more comfortable in the ring again.”

After sparring sparingly for his bout with Witherspoon, Barrett has already picked up the pace as he plans to spar 30 rounds this week to get ready for his bout against Sargent. His first taste of live action was Monday when he went five rounds at the Morris Park Boxing Club in the Bronx.

“I felt OK,” he said afterward. “I didn’t know the guy was going to come out warring in the last round but that’s good though. You have to learn how to fight going forwards and backwards. It made me aware and I saw some things that I did that I have to get out of. As far as my conditioning, I felt good.”

In Barrett’s corner Monday was Hollis native Al Davis who was with the 6-foot-3, 224-pounder even before Barrett threw a punch in the ring.

“He needs a lot of boxing, but I’ll get him back sharp again like he was one time,” said Davis, who will join Barrett’s head trainer and former light heavyweight champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad in his corner next Thursday night. “He just needs some good boxing. He has all the heart in the world, he’s strong and he can box but if you’re not in the ring, mentally you’re not sharp.”

Barrett, who is considered relatively small by today’s heavyweight standards, is effective when he sticks his jab and is deceptively quick for his frame. What he lacks in size Barrett makes up for in heart.

“Taking a fight like this on short notice and fighting the next month and being active again, it brings everything together, the timing, the coordination, everything is going to be all right,” he said.

While Barrett is aware of the pitfalls of training in his hometown, like all the phone calls from “friends, family and bill collectors,” he said there is nothing like fighting in the Big Apple.

“I like fighting in New York, I just don’t like when people come up to me asking me for free tickets because I already give out a lot of free tickets to the community,” said Barrett, who now lives in Strasburg, Pa. “I love fighting in front of my people, this is where I’m from. New York is the mecca of boxing, whether it’s a small show or a big show.”

On the undercard of Star Boxing’s card at Roseland will be a bout between unbeaten Robert Wiggins (10-0) against Louis Monaco (1-22-3) in an eight round heavyweight fight. Also on the car is Golden Gloves heavyweight champions Newton Kidd taking on Patrick Nwami, Andre Eason will battle David Salgado, Said Quali takes on Tyrone Jackson, Naseem Deen will face Ismail Rasheed and “Mexican Fire Ball” Antonio Oliveros faces Jose Espinal in a rematch. Also on the card is the “Russian Rumbler” Andrew Tsurkan, “Brooklyn’s Italian Stallion” Paul Malignaggi and women’s world lightweight champion Zoulfia Koutdioussova.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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