Tuesday, July 14, 2009

R.I.P. Arturo Gatti

Over the weekend, the sport of boxing lost one of its most courageous warriors. Widely regarded as Boxing’s Ultimate Blood and Guts Warrior, former two-time world champion Arturo Gatti, 37, was found dead in his hotel room on Saturday in Brazil. A purse strap, stained with Gatti’s blood, was found in the hotel room leading investigators to believe that Gatti was strangled to death.

Police officers recently arrested Gatti’s wife, Amanda Rodrigues, whom they believe to be the murder suspect in Gatti’s death. When questioned by police how she did not realize for nearly 10 hours that Gatti was dead when she was in the room with him, Rodrigues was at a loss for words and unable to answer the question. Right about now, Rodrigues would appear to be guilty. Upon her conviction one can only hope that she remains in a jail cell for the rest of her life, with her entire life to think about what she has done while locked up. Boxing has lost one of its good men at a very young age.

Nobody could ever claim that this man ducked or dodged anybody when he was active as a fighter. Win or lose, he's fought a who's who of champions and contenders: Angel Manfredy, Ivan Robinson, Micky Ward, Oscar De la hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Carlos Baldomir, and others. Clearly he was boxing's human highlight reel. I am deeply saddened by his untimely passing.

Now that I have discussed his passing, what are your fondest memories and favorite fights of Arturo Gatti?

He was in so many spectacular, crowd pleasing fights over the years. His fight with Wilson Rodriguez at the theater in Madison Square Garden on March 23, 1996 (only the 2nd installment of HBO Boxing After Dark), might be one of the greatest fights I've EVER seen. His come from behind, 6th round stoppage of Rodriguez has to rank at the top of my list as one of the bravest efforts I have ever witnessed on behalf of a prize fighter.

Do you remember the ringside physican in Gatti's corner?
"Cover your left eye... COVER YOUR LEFT EYE OR IT'S OVER!"

Next round, with his eyes practically swollen shut, Gatti would knock Rodriguez out cold! Nothing quite defines the meaning of the term heart more appropriately than Gatti’s performance and will to win in that fight.

After his final ring appearance two years ago this very day, which resulted in a 6th round knockout loss at the hands of Alfonso Gomez in Atlantic City, NJ, Gatti retired with a professional career record of 40-9 and 31 knockouts.

My sincere condolences go out to Gatti's family and friends.

R.I.P. Arturo Gatti.

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