|Arturo Gatti: Blood, Guts and Glory
By John Raspanti, DoghouseBoxing.com (July 13, 2009)
Arturo Gatti could ‘take it’. Whether it was a volley of punches, an automobile accident or a lawsuit Gatti stood in the box and took his shots. He’d go down sometimes but he would always mange to pull himself up, shake it off and start firing back.
That is until July 11, 2009. Shockingly Arturo Gatti is dead. There were blood stains on his neck and head. He was in Brazil enjoying his 2nd honeymoon. There are rumors that maybe he wasn’t. Thankfully
his 10 month old son was unhurt. The police consider his death suspicious…for once ‘thunder’ won’t be getting up. Arturo Gatti was just 37 years old…
Gatti seemed to live life on the edge inside the ring and out. He was born in Italy on April 15th, 1972 and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to Italian-born parents. Gatti began boxing at the ripe old age of eight. He loved it, took to it quickly and loved the attention it gave him. He transplanted himself to New Jersey and at 19 Gatti was a pro, knocking out Jose Gonzalez in the third round. The thunder was beginning to take shape.
Gatti won seventeen of his first eighteen fights and then crushed defending champion Pete Talifero for the USBA jr.lightweight title. Gatti was the most beloved fighter in New Jersey and his popularity was growing. He was the raging bull with a heart as big as Secaucus.
Gatti won a world title in 1995 by winning a unanimous decision against Tracy Patterson. Gatti beat Patterson again two years later, and then started building the legend of ‘the human highlight film. His fight against Gabriel Ruelas quickly turned into the fight of the year. Drilled and rocked by a left uppercut in the fourth round, Gatti absorbed punch after punch that left him reeling and the fight fans in a frenzy. He came out for the fifth round still feeling the effects of Ruelas punches. Gabe took up where he left off drilling Gatti with some right hands until Gatti, acting more on instinct uncorked a blistering left hook. Ruelas went down like a building that was booby trapped. He managed to get up but the fight was over. Gatti had looked over the edge of the abyss and manage to stay alive. It would be a feat he would repeat many times.
He lost a couple of wars with Ivan Robinson and then went toe to toe with the golden boy himself, Oscar de la Hoya. He was stopped in the 5th as the blood flowed freely and Gatti kept firing.
Gatti took some time off and hired Buddy McGirt as head trainer. McGirt taught him how to move a little and even how to duck. He could box now…at least for a few rounds.
The legend of Arturo Gatti was cemented with his trilogy of wars with ‘Irish” Micky Ward. The records say that Gatti won two and Ward one. The record doesn’t lie but the facts are amazing as the two warriors engaged in some vicious see-saw battles. There fights sometimes resembled a Rocky movie with both nearly out on there feet and then somehow digging down and finding the strength and character to go on. The cheers they received or the money never seemed to be enough. They would put it “all on the line” and we the boxing fans would watch there fights with a combination of glee and horror. I would worry sometimes that one of them would hurt the other, but it never happened and by the end of there trilogy there respect and admiration had grown into a close friendship.
Gatti fought on for another four years and lost more then he won. It was obvious that all the wars were finally catching up with him. His last fight was almost exactly two years ago against Alfonso Gomez a guy who the younger and fresher Gotti would have taken apart.
Win or lose Arturo Gatti was the ultimate warrior, a guy whose heart was bigger then his talent. Never say die, never give up Gatti epitomized what a true fighter is all about.
Get some rest now champ, you’ve earned it.
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing Inc. 1998-2009