David Tua is a good boy. Good on many levels. He’s a patriotic New Zealander and Samoan. He’s a loyal and proud South Aucklander. He’s a courteous and respectful son. He’s a committed and devoted husband and father. He’s also staunchly proud of taha Maori as witnessed by his mihi post match. He’s also a good boxer because he beat Kevin Cameron in round one which was officially called seven seconds into round two.
This ‘good-boy’ will eventually win out against the shameless-shysters Kevin Barry and Martin Pugh formerly known as his Managers. The problem is, Tua’s take home purse after the court bout is over and done with will probably be empty thanks to the lengthy drawn out legal fight. The only winners in this sorry saga are Barry and Pugh who copped off with millions previous to this debacle and the lawyers fighting in the respective corners.
The problem started back in 2000 when coach Kevin Barry hired self-made Marketing Manager Martin Pugh. Within 5 years Tua lost everything. Tua trusted these two, to take care of business for him while he concentrated on core business – fighting. But things went awry when he discovered he had lost control of his $20 million earnings after wife Bina and Accountant Jennie Grant raided the offices of Tuaman Inc.
In court documents, Tua accuses Pugh of forgery and misappropriating money in all directions. Records show that Barry took $1.4 million dollars from Tuaman Inc while Pugh $1.2 million. It is also alleged Pugh sucked out hundreds of thousands of dollars furnishing his house and that payments were made to a Vanuatu registered company, Sports Tech, owned by his mate Richard Gregory aka Richard Booth. This dodgy dealer was jailed in 1995 for an insurance scam. Pugh is also alleged to have siphoned over $800,000 to his partner Sally Cross to pay off her business debts.
When Barry and Pugh appeared in Court last year to defend charges against them, some media painted a telling image; “Bleached and greased hair, gold medallions, winkle-picker brogues with white socks and shirts more suitable for a night out clubbing. If they’d wanted to portray the image of wily, slimy creatures that had crawled out from beneath boxing’s nasty underbelly, they were going the right way about it” (Investigate Magazine March 2008).
These are the men that also took Tua to Las Vegas to train for the Lennox Lewis fight. The Prince Ranch was complete with nuclear attack shelter, wild animals, including a lion and tiger, and football field sized bedrooms.
According to Brian Kennedy, an American sportswriter with two decades of experience covering boxing, says Tua's management embraced the showbiz side. "They were caught up in the Las Vegas hype, the Don King's style wafted over Martin Pugh," says Kennedy. He dressed the part, played the part, and girls were part of that."
One of those girls was Model Robin Reynolds. Remember her? She gained notoriety after a fling with pop star Robbie Williams in 2000. Reynolds was part of the Tuaman entourage during Lennox Lewis fight.
According to Robin’s whanau they tried to warn boxer David Tua that his managers were exploiting him. Reynolds' parents, Kevin and Merrilee Reynolds, told the Weekend Herald they unsuccessfully tried to contact David Tua in 2001 on their daughter's behalf after she sacked Pugh as her manager, claiming he owed her $25,000. She was disturbed by comments she overhead Pugh and Kevin Barry made about the boxer and told her father they were using Tua and joked behind his back.
"Robin told me they referred to him as a 'big, ugly gorilla'," Mr Reynolds said.
"Robin warned me well before the Tua thing broke that over there in the [United] States Martin Pugh and Barry had discussed Tua and they were saying what a thick dick he was, [how] he wouldn't have a clue how much money he had."
So David Tua will be back in court to battle it out against Pugh and Barry. New Zealand will be backing Tua to win this fight and so he must. If there is any justice in this world David must beat these shysters to show the world that good guys do win.