Gatti-Leija, Ouma-Jantuah bring the goods to Atlantic City
By Aaron Imholte (January 13, 2005) 
Arturo Gatti
On January 29th at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City New Jersey, two title fights will be taking place that should not be missed by the hardcore boxing fan. This is a doubleheader that is sure to bring fireworks with four aggressive fighters going at it for a scheduled 24 rounds of non-stop boxing action.

In the first feature bout of the evening IBF junior middleweight champion Kassim ‘The Dream’ Ouma defends his title against Ghanaian Kofi Jantuah. Ouma, who originally hails from Uganda, is being heralded as one of the games brightest young stars and can really add to his resume with an impressive defense of his title against the red hot Janutah. Jantuah obliterated prospect Marco Antonio Rubio in a shocking 33 seconds last September on the Bernard Hopkins-Oscar De La Hoya undercard and is now looking to cash in on his good fortune by becoming a champion and a major player in the junior middleweight division.

Both Ouma and Jantuah are aggressive fighters with good power but the x-factor in this fight will be which of these two can take the better wallop. Ouma has a very sturdy chin and while Jantuah can bring a lot of pressure, his only loss came in a fight in which he was miles ahead when he was caught with a left hook that put him out of commission. So if a battle of chins is going to take place in this one, I am going to go with Ouma battling through an early storm by Jantuah and putting him away by the 8th round in a fight that has huge implications as to who can be the next king at 154 with the possible departure of Winky Wright and Shane Mosley to separate divisions.

Then in our main event we have who could be the most exciting fighter in the sport taking on a brave but aging warrior as Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti defends his WBC junior welterweight title against veteran 'Jesse' James Leija.

Gatti, who rose to worldwide prominence after his three classic wars with Micky Ward, is coming off an impressive KO of Leonard Dorin, dropping the Romanian born Canadian with a body shot that would have made his arch rival proud.

Leija is coming into this fight with a four fight win streak following up his TKO loss to Kostya Tszyu two years ago. While the competition was not first class they were big confidence boosters for the 38-year-old Leija and they have provided him with one more shot at a title, and one more day in the spotlight.

My guess is that this will be no chess match and that both men are going to try to put pressure on one another. But Leija is playing with fire if he thinks he can out-bang Gatti. If Leija doesn’t move around and play some D instead of just sitting in and punching with Gatti he could find himself ‘Thunderstruck’.

This fight has huge implications for both men. With whispers of a Gatti-Tszyu fight since Kostya’s comeback last year (although this has been all but dismissed by Gatti’s management), and a mega money bout with Floyd Mayweather possible, Gatti gains a lot with another Dorin like performance. If Jesse James Leija can pull an upset, as we said before, he can prolong his career and pick up a title belt to possibly retire on a high note.

That being said it may just be too much to ask for the Texas Tornado to pull this one off. I see Gatti pressuring Leija early and pounding him to a stoppage by the 6th round. All we can hope for is that Leija is game, brave, and entertaining in a main event that is sure to be a pleasure to watch.

So don’t forget, January 29th at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Kassim Ouma takes on Kofi Jantuah and Arturo Gatti does battle with Jesse James Leija. This is one card you will be mad at yourself for missing.
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