ARTURO GATTI ...
THE END OF AN ERA
COMES TO A CLOSE IN ATLANTIC CITY
IT WAS REALLY SO EASY TO SEE HOW THIS WAS GOING TO END!
By HARRY HURLEY
Editor & Publisher
Not since the very colorful and skillful Apollo Creed hand-picked Rocky Balboa, has a fighter chosen his opponent more unwisely!
By all public accounts, Arturo Gatti personally hand-picked Alfonso Gomez ... in what would turn out to hopefully be the last fight of Gatti's storied, 2-time World Championship boxing career.
Everything about this fight was wrong for Gatti.
First, he chose a much younger opponent ... always dangerous, especially when you are (like Gatti is) much older then your 35 years.
DIV>Gomez never stops throwing punches. At this late stage of Gatti's career, he never stops catching punches ... with his face! It was a love match made in heaven (for Gomez).
My friend and colleague, Chuck Betson called me live from the fight, almost the moment it ended at 10:30 p.m. this past Saturday night. Chuck was very kind in his remarks about my pre-fight analysis.
This one was so easy to see.
Styles make fights. Ask Ali-Frazier ... Frazier-Foreman ... Ali-Foreman ... Leonard-Hagler ... Leonard-Hearns .... Hagler-Hearns. No further explanation is required.
This fight was so poorly chosen by Gatti ... I can't believe he took this fight. Also, while I'm a huge Mickey Ward fan ... the only reason for him to be your trainer is the ironic symbolism of the historic Gatti-Ward triology. Not to be unkind, but Ward offered nothing for Gatti during that precious 1 minute between rounds.
In fairness to Ward, Gatti is just plain shot as a fighter. There is nothing left ... except the heart of a warrior.
Gatti took a beating. It was ugly. It was sad.
Before I forget to mention this, am I the only one who is growing sick and tired of Larry Hazzard busting throw the ropes and usurping the authority of the referree?
Arturo Gatti is a great Champion ... The referee did a great job giving him every chance to stay in the fight. Hazzard is perhaps the nations biggest hot dog, when it comes to his unnecessary ring antics. In my humble view, Hazzard had absolutely no business busting through the ring ropes and charging out onto the canvas to stop the fight.
The referee (Randy Neumann) is a veteran and skilled boxing referee, who has always exhibited good judgment in the ring.
And, in case you think that Hazzard only had the best interests of the health of Gatti (and, I leave open that this is possible) ... Did you happen to notice that Hazzard hung around and actually raised the hand of Gomez in victory as legendary ring announcer Micheal Buffer (the greatest ring announcer of all time) announced Gomez' knock out victory.
It was the job of the referee (Randy Neumann) to raise the hand of the winner. I'm sure this went unnoticed by many.
The other thing that's terrible about it ... is that it looks like Gatti was pounded into the ring floor by a Reality TV invention.
Gatti announced his retirement immediately following the fight. All of his friends and family need to make sure that Gatti keeps his word.
Gatti has brought Atlantic City and all boxing fans alike great thrills over the years. A lop sided defeat like this past Saturday night is not how I will remember Arturo Gatti.