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Monte Barrett is out of prison. He’s no longer being abused or abusing others. He’s just trying to do the right thing, as Elliot Worsell discovers
OPTIMISTIC: Barrett still smiles when he looks into the future

INSIDE a gym in Hackensack, New Jersey, I watch Monte Barrett look out the window and wonder where it is he imagines himself going. It’s sunny outside, perfect weather for an actual stroll, yet the former heavyweight contender, a free man at 48, voluntarily stays inside, doing this, pacing on a treadmill, content to pretend. He remains in the gym, his comfort zone, five years after his last fight, and it’s hard to fathom why.

In the end, as his walk becomes a sprint, I contemplate not where Barrett is going but who or what he is running from. Perhaps it’s temptation. Perhaps that’s the opponent these days.

“I’m fighting every day”, Barrett explains, catching his breath. “I’m fighting to be better than I was yesterday.

“I run every year on my birthday, long, like 10 miles. This year, on May 26, I didn’t prepare myself for it but did it anyway just to keep me connected.

“I have a young wife, young kids and I feel youthful. I want to keep up. I work out three or four times a week and keep my weight down. I blew up to almost 260 pounds at one point and now I’m 239. I just keep myself as balanced as I can. I don’t have a six-pack; I have a three-pack.”

All around him are Hackensack kids on their summer holidays doing circuits with one of the Savage Boxing & Fitness gym’s coaches.

To them, this next generation, Monte Barrett is no different to the other large black men who huff and puff their way through a workout in a gym so hot it’s constantly described as a sauna. They wouldn’t be able to identify Wladimir Klitschko, Hasim Rahman or David Haye in a lineup, let alone the man who pushed them but ultimately came up short.

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SUPREMACY – Majestic Lomachenko dazzles the brave Campbell CONTROVERSY – Should the referee’s decision have been overruled? GALLAGHER v HEARN – ‘Promote Callum properly or we go elsewhere!’ MUCH, MUCH MORE – Including the an astonishing catch-up with Monte Barrett