clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

RIP, Arturo Gatti

New, comments
It's more than a bit of a shame that as "guy punching other guy square in the face" sports go, boxing currently finds itself in fourth place behind MMA, WWE and memories of Michael Barrett clocking A.J. Pierzynski in the jaw. As the sport fades out of the consciousness, so do its participants, and few reached the heights that Arturo Gatti did.
↵
↵Gatti, at 37, was ancient as a boxer, having just retired two years ago, but tragically young as an apparent murder victim, having been found dead in a Brazil condo. His wife is being held as a suspect, seeing as how there's about 10 hours she can't really account for. That's slightly problematic.
↵
↵The particulars of his death--a head injury and strangulation with the strap of a purse--are at the same time horrific and immaterial. The tragedy would be the same if it were a gunshot or poisoning or whatever. Someone, apparently (but not assuredly) his wife, wanted him dead and did what they had to do to make it happen.
↵
↵No, the real shame is that even though his boxing legacy was basically a finished product, the rest of his life barely had a chance to begin. Gatti, a native of Italy but a longtime Canadian resident, had just moved back to Montreal to sell real estate. He was in Brazil on a second honeymoon with said wife, Amanda Rodrigues.
↵
↵That would be the same Amanda Rodrigues, by the way, whom Gatti was accused of assaulting in Canada earlier this spring. When he finally appeared in court, long after the set date, he was ordered to stay 200 meters away from her and abstain from alcohol use. Witnesses and friends reported that Gatti was drunk the night he was killed, so clearly something had gone wrong with the plan.
↵
↵As mentioned before, Gatti had already retired from the sport, so as fans we're not robbed of watching him fight again or anything. What we are robbed of, however, is the chance to see him and Micky Ward reunite on ESPN Classic as it re-airs a 10th or 20th anniversary or whatever of one of its legendary fights. My guess is they'd have had a great time; Ward was Gatti's last trainer, after all.
↵
↵So with that, submitted for your approval as the lasting image of Gatti's career, is the unforgettable 9th round of Gatti-Ward I (and yes, this trilogy most certainly earned the Roman Numeral Treatment). Gatti should have been counted out of the match multiple times in the round but somehow kept fighting his way out of trouble.
↵
↵
↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵
↵
↵
↵He would lose this first match, but only on a decision, setting up two more matches with Ward. Each of those earned their way into the discussion of the best matches of the decade. And though Gatti's life ended far too soon, at least we can take the small consolation that as we celebrate his legacy, we can do so without having to reconcile it against allegations of adultery or child molestation. He was a good man, and now he's gone. Rest in peace.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.