Joseph Parker Ten years after he split with David Tua in acrimonious circumstances that resulted in a multimillion-dollar legal scrap, Kevin Barry is back working with New Zealand's top heavyweight boxing prospect.
Barry, an Olympic silver medallist in Los Angeles in 1984, will train Joseph Parker for his June fight against South African veteran Francois Botha. The pair will depart for Barry's Las Vegas base on Sunday for an eight-week pre-fight camp.
Barry managed Tua from 1992-2003, guiding him to an unsuccessful heavyweight title shot against Lennox Lewis in 2000. The pair fell out over the management of Tua's finances, with a protracted legal battle leaving both parties with legal fees in the millions.
With Parker's promoters Duco also having Tua on their books, Barry and Tua are now effectively working for the same employer. Barry said he didn't expect there to be any issues on either side.
"I don't think there's even room for concern," Barry said. "David has signed a one-fight deal with Duco. Me working for Duco is no concern of David's. He has enough to worry about getting himself ready for his fight in August." No opponent has yet been named for Tua's comeback fight, however the Herald understands undefeated Cuban prospect Luis Ortiz is in line for that August bout.
Tua is the godfather of Barry's twin sons. However, Barry admitted the pair now had "no relationship whatsoever".
"It really didn't end well and it was really sad. We had such an incredible journey together - 12 years of incredible success and incredible experiences.
"Sure, it ended really, really ugly. But David was a huge part of my life and part of my family. He was a godfather to my boys. We accomplished so much together."
The 53-year-old Barry now has a chance to play a formative role in Parker's journey. A 21-year-old with a 4-0 professional record, Parker will stay at Barry's house and train at Barry's Boxing Gymnasium - which is owned and run by friends of the same name.
The arrangement represents a return to fight training for Barry after he closed his own Las Vegas gym following ankle replacement surgery.
His clouded history with Tua was no reason for concern when it came to Parker, he said.
"If anyone had reason for concern you think it would be Joseph's parents, but they were so warm towards me and appreciative and thanking me for the fact I am working with their son. They never mentioned David Tua's name."
Duco's David Higgins said Tua had appeared relaxed when told of Barry's appointment.
"I would say it was a non-issue," Higgins said.
Barry's record with Tua was in fact a big part of the reason for the appointment, Higgins said.
Linking with Barry would provide Parker with high quality sparring that he couldn't access in New Zealand.
Parker is close to appointing new management after splitting with Sir Robert Jones when Jones and Duco were unable to agree on suitable opponents.
The Herald understands Parker is in negotiations with prominent rugby player manager Bruce Sharrock.