|Arturo Gatti; Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place
By Jason Petock (May 1, 2007)
Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti, 40-8 (31), is no stranger to adversity, praise or criticism all in the same breath. He has climbed the ladder to a measure of success among other esteemed fighters of our era the hard way, the only way he’s ever known. And on this rugged journey he’s been both the hero and the target. As he steps once more between the ropes, and quite possibly for the last time in Atlantic City, New Jersey to square off against Alfonso Gomez, 16-3-2 (7), this year, he’s in familiar territory again and under the watchful eye of an inquiring public once more.
Gatti has always been the subject of critics and fans alike, each in their own way validating and invalidating him with their opinions. He’s been called ‘The Human Highlight Film’ and ‘The Blood and Guts Warrior’ because of his blatant bravery and acceptance and tolerance for punishment in the ring in fights past. Arturo has taken part in a great number of Fight of the Year bouts over the years that were deemed so by Ring Magazine, many fans’ go to source for information. He has delivered time and time again, and even in defeat has only gained more support and appraisal for his efforts. This outing should be no different, yet there are those who question this bout’s legitimacy as they have done in the past.
For Alfonso Gomez this is his crowning moment. Having been a professional fighter for almost 6 years now to Arturo Gatti’s almost 16, this is the biggest fight of his career. Should he leave July 14th at Boardwalk Hall triumphant, the world will become his oyster so to speak as he will have beaten one of the toughest if not the toughest throwback fighter of our generation to date. And should he lose, opportunities will still surface for him because of his mettle and effort. It is a win win situation for the charismatic Gomez.
Arturo on the other hand must win and win effectively. And even if he completely dominates Gomez there will still be those out there who pick apart not only his victory but also his choice of opponent. On the other side of the coin should he lose, those very same individuals will chalk his loss up to being washed up and a has-been.
One thing we as Americans have always been really great at doing is blowing people up so we can knock them down, and then kick them. Arturo Gatti has the sole marks to prove it.
So basically Arturo Gatti is caught between a rock and a hard place. He’s damned if he does and he’s damned if he doesn’t. Once thing is certain however, and that is that he never disappoints and gives his all no matter the odds or the situation. And that is something that has been slowly seeping away from the very fabric of boxing for quite some time now.
Alfonso Gomez will be on the largest stage of his entire life and Arturo Gatti will be there with him. Throw in ‘Irish’ Micky Ward, 38-13 (27), into the mix as Gatti’s trainer and you can’t go wrong. It couldn’t be a better night at the fights if it was scripted.
This one might have to be televised in black and white. We’ll see on July 14th.
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