School’s in for Gatti
By Luke Dodemaide (June 25, 2005) 
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Let me get one thing straight, there is no-one I admire more in boxing, for their sheer tenacity, heart, willingness, dedication and desire than Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti. He’s a dual divisional world champion and the current WBC super-lightweight titleholder.

Gatti’s achievements cement him as more than a bona fide club fighter. He is more than simply the most exciting fighter in the game, he’s currently one of the best.

He has giving us the immortal Ward trilogy, the two classic duels with Ivan Robinson, the bloody and brutal bout with Angel Manfredy and his astonishing performance against Gabriel Ruelas. They call him the ‘Human Highlight Reel’ and for good reason. If this generation could only fit one fighter’s career into a time capsule for the sheer enjoyment of future generations and perhaps civilisations, it would be that of Arturo Gatti. Not even Stanley Kubrick could have written more twists and turns of fate into a script than we have seen being played out live in Arturo Gatti’s career.

When the bell rings for the first round of Saturday night’s super fight the electricity ringside in Atlantic City will be nothing short of exhilarating, and as the two opposing fighters come out and prepare to trade leather the Atlantic City crowd, who have adopted the Montreal native as their own, will be electric with the anticipation of Gatti’s past struggles, inspirational battles and eventual Buddy McGirt led reinvention and rejuvenation culminating in Gatti reaching the previously unthinkable pinnacle before their very eyes…

Now stop for a second. I’d love to be the nice optimistic writer that tells the hordes of Gatti fans that their man is going to come through to reach the zenith of his career, but I believe I would be betraying the first obligation of all journalists in doing this, the obligation to inform the readers of the most feasible and plausible outcome the writer forecasts. And let’s just say, unfortunately, I feel there is a stormy and dreary night ahead for Gatti fans.

When the first bell rings, I don’t think it’s going to cue the climax of the Gatti renaissance that everyone seems to be hoping for, rather I think it will symbolise that school’s in for the Canadian combatant. Floyd Mayweather Jnr is adamant that he will teach Arturo Gatti a lesson he will never forget for the mere price of his WBC 140 lb. world championship, and you know what? When I look at a fighter who possesses the rare blend of talent, skills and speed which Floyd does, it is hard not to believe him.

Only great fighters, producing special performances, beat undefeated twenty-eight year olds of the calibre of Floyd Mayweather Jnr. And although Arturo Gatti may be great for the sport of boxing, and a very good fighter, he sat a similar exam, class wise, four years ago and failed in five humiliatingly one sided rounds against Oscar De La Hoya. Sure he’s done plenty of homework with Buddy McGirt since then but no matter how much Gatti pays his tutor, McGirt can not teach the natural gifts Floyd Mayweather displays fight after fight.

If Arturo Gatti comes out expecting to box his way to a Leonard Dorin or James Leija-like stoppage, he’s very mistaken and will be soundly beaten. I figure the best chance Gatti has is to revert to the more simplistic brawling tactics that he has largely shunned under the tutorage of Buddy McGirt. He cannot outbox Floyd Mayweather, as his boxing skills are inferior to that of the ‘Pretty Boy’. Gatti has the edge in perhaps one department: he is a war veteran, no-one in the sport has found themselves in the trenches as often as Arturo Gatti has. And if he can draw Mayweather into a dogfight he will be in with a fighting chance. However Mayweather has shown in recent performances he is more than willing to stand in front and trade. And he does it very effectively but more importantly very efficiently; Mayweather’s defence is the key factor that some seem to fail to enter into the equation. Mayweather’s defence is arguably the best in the entire sport, and it is far superior to that of the Mickey Ward’s, Gianluca Branco’s, Dorin’s and Leija’s of the boxing world.

And not only is Mayweather’s defence impeccable, but his offence is also devastatingly precise. He has all the punches in the book and has a rare nous to know when and where to throw them. If Gatti stands in front of Mayweather there is every chance we could see Gatti return to his corner at some stage only to have the doctor refrain him from further action for excessive cuts and bleeding.

I think if he brawls he loses, if he boxes he loses. This isn’t an overly pessimistic view of Arturo Gatti here either; let’s not forget what Mayweather has proved within the ropes. When admiring the battle of the ages that was Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo a few weeks ago, a fight many pundits described as a more prominent Gatti-Ward 1 because of the presence of two world championship belts, it must be noted that Floyd holds two wins over the honourable loser, Castillo, and a ten round absolute beat down over the winner, Corrales, knocking him down an unbelievable five times. These are two fighters I have seen in the upper echelons of pound-for-pound lists around the world, somewhere I have never seen Arturo Gatti thus far into his career.

Mayweather’s work speaks as soundly as his skills – his resume is perfect. No losses and thirty-three wins over a far higher calibre of opponents than Arturo Gatti boasts. Gatti has also registered six losses, while you will not find a single L on the ‘Pretty Boy’s’ pristine record.

There are gaps appearing in class when looking at the bout on paper, and it is likely that gap could become even more apparent and widen come fight night as well, when the two actually trade punches for the first time.

So has Gatti got it in him? I think he’s have bitten off more than he can chew here and I believe ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd will simply prove to be too good en route to a relatively easy victory and a third world championship crown.

School’s in Arturo, and you better sit up straight and pay attention… you might learn something.

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