Arturo Gatti - After the Thunder Comes the Rain
By Jason Petock, DoghouseBoxing (July 26, 2009)  
Words cannot express the feelings that have overcome all of us at the loss of boxing great Arturo Gatti. There would be those who would question such a statement, as to call him “great”. Yet those of us who saw his fights and witnessed the true character and heart of a Champion in that ring would define calling Gatti “great” a gross understatement indeed. All too often it is the “greatest” among us who meet with unexpected tragedy and a far too early demise at the selfish and cruel hands of others. Arturo Gatti’s life and career are the epitome of a 1940’s boxing saga, with all of the drama and intensity in-between. I am reminded of one of my favorite films, “Body and Soul”, where John Garfield plays a fighter who has all the heart a Champion needs and then some, even in the face of insurmountable odds and with the cards often stacked against him. Gatti could have easily been cast in Garfield’s role, his significance and throwback persona in regard to boxing was just that relevant and important to us all in retrospect.

Watching Arturo’s fights always inspired me in a way no other fighter could. His come from behind wins, determination, sheer guts and heart that were unending and forceful made me only wish that I could be so brave and courageous in my own lifetime. He made me feel proud to be a boxing fan and proud that there was a fighter that I could look up to and try to emulate in some way. He motivated me to write article after article about his thrilling performances and ring battles. In some ways he kept me going and interested in boxing when there were times that the sport might have been faltering or lackluster in its efforts and drive. He still invokes all of those emotions in me. I only wish that his presence could have remained with us just a little longer. While several of his bouts were breathtaking to say the least, it was his humility outside of the ring that I think amazed us all. Like I have stated before I never knew the man personally, but being one of his fans it still feels like I have lost a friend. We have all lost a friend it seems.

There aren’t many fighters that have come along, at least in my lifetime, that have had such a deep impact on not only the sport itself, but its fans as well. Arturo Gatti was a throwback in every sense of the word when he stepped in the ring and gave his all in every performance. He didn’t complain, he fought whoever would fight him, and displayed a sportsmanship and honorable presence in the squared circle that was something to behold. He made his living as a fighter and gave his all to this noblest of professions. “Thunder” got many fans recharged and re-interested in the sport when he would take all of us back in time when laced up the gloves. He entertained us with his heart and won us over with his fists. That is something that no critic can ever take away from him, and it’s a gift that he gave to us all.

And for those who might say that the continual writing of the man is overkill and excessive, all I can offer you is this. Arturo “Thunder” Gatti is and always will be what boxing is about. He was an example of how all fighters should behave in the ring, with a grit and heart that push and propel them past the point where other lesser men would find themselves quitting. He never gave up and showed us all how to be a true warrior in that ring and go for it even when you don’t think there is anything left to give. I have always been a big fan of Teddy Atlas and I’m going to steal one of his phrases that I think fits best here. Teddy has said often in his commentary that “a fighter shouldn’t leave anything left in the tank”, or something to that effect, which basically means that when you are in that ring that you need to empty the tank and leave it all in there, leaving nothing to chance and fighting to win no matter the odds. Gatti did just that and then some.

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