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Sports Articles: Boxing Legends Part 2 - Arturo Gatti page 1

Boxing Legends Part 2 - Arturo Gatti
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Arturo Gatti
'Thunder', 'Blood and Guts Warrior', The Human Highlight Reel'

 

Arturo Gatti was born on 15th April 1972 in Cassino, Italy to proud parents Ida and Giovanni Gatti, one of six children the couple had. After living for a time in Latium, the family emigrated to Montreal, Canada, to start a new life. Unlike many boxers, Arturo was a child from a settled family, he was not a street urchin fighting to survive, instead he was encouraged to take up the sport by a father who loved it. He took up boxing at the age of 8, and like his older brother Joe, loved boxing and they both went on to become professional boxers.

While Arturo was still a teenager, his dad Giovanni died in a freak workplace accident, a loss that badly affected his later life. Initially it seemed to act as a spur and his amateur career saw him become an integral part of Team Canada with 6 Canadian Golden Gloves championships. In 1990 Arturo decided to follow his brother Joe to Jersey City, New Jersey, to concentrate on his boxing. He continued to compete for Team Canada, despite moving to the USA, representing the country at the World Junior Championships in Peru in 1991. Next step was expected to be the 1992 Olympics, but Arturo had other ideas and instead turned pro in 1991 at the age of 19.

On the 6th June 1991 Arturo Gatti fought his first professional fight, beating Jose Gonzalez by TKO in the 3rd round. There were a number of quick victories to follow, Luis Melendez was a 1st round KO, then there were three in a row won by TKO in the first, over Richard De Jesus, Francisco Aguiana and Antonio Gonzalez. Gabe LaConte, who ran fights at the Robert Treat, said of him: "He would take 5 punches to give 1, but his 1 punch would knock the other guy out. A nice, nice kid."

In May 1992 he was taken the distance by Joe Lafontant in a unanimous decision victory after 6 rounds, as he fought for $400 a night, with little of the hype surrounding him that sometimes attaches itself to young boxers. Any that was beginning to surround him was dispelled by his next fight as he suffered a knockdown on his way to a split decision loss to King Solomon. Though Gatti always maintained that it was not a knockdown and only a slip, the referee ruled it as a knockdown and it was a very surprising defeat to a fighter he was expected to dispatch fairly easily. Gatti never really did things the easy way though.

The following year, 1993, was a busy one for Gatti, he fought 8 times, notching up wins over Plamen Gechev (TKO 1), Curtis Mathis (TKO 3), Clifford Hicks (KO 3), Christino Suero (KO 3), Robert Scott (KO 1), Luis Guzman (KO 1), Derek Francis (KO 1) and Glenn Irizarry (TKO 1). He was back on upward curve and his next fight was to be the one that truly saw his reputation repaired as he fought Leon Bostic over 8 rounds. Despite his training being heavily hampered by a back injury, leaving him massively undertrained, he won a fight that showcased the heart he was later to become known for.

"After the Bostic fight," his manager Pat Lynch recalled, "we're walking into the dressing room, and there's Al Gavin {veteran cutman}. And he's got his hands spread by his crotch, and he goes, 'this fucking kid's got 'em this big. I've never seen a bigger set of ball on a person in my life.' That was the fight that told us what kind of heart Arturo had." It was a huge step forward for Gatti, putting him on the map and bringing the attention of Integrated Sports International, who signed him up because of his crossover marketing potential. The good looks and polite, humble manner got him an endorsement deal with a sports drink called All Sport even before he lifted a title.


Boxing Legends Part 2 - Arturo Gatti
Boxing Legends Part 2 - Arturo Gatti page 2

Written by Tris Burke - June 25 2018 19:55:06