On July 11, it was reported that another talent was lost. Without getting into the details and conspiracies surrounding his death (we've had way too much of that lately), I'd like to simply say that Arturo Gatti was one of my favorites to step in the ring. He was a slugger and a sweller, many of his fights ending with his eye(s) basically closed shut due to his face bubbling up so much from hits taken, which brings me to my main point about Thunder...the man had HEART. Not only was he a good fighter, but he exhibited what some of the more technically-adept fighters lacked. He always fought until the fight was over...absorbing and re-administering the punishment. He'd eat hits in the multiples (whereas a single such connection would leave another individual shattered on the mat), find swift recovery from that "lucky punch", and fight through the sickening pain of injury (in most cases, to ultimately greet victory).
Many of his fights were deemed favorites among followers of the sport. An obvious choice for me would be the trilogy that was "Gatti vs. Ward". These fights, between real-life friends, contained some of the most brutal, unrelenting moments I've ever seen take place in the ring. Both fighters went in fully aware of the tremendous battle that lay ahead...and subsequently, fought mega hard...to the point where no matter who won, they both seemed to have gained bountiful heaps of respect and admiration at the end of each bout. All three fights spanned 10 rounds, regardless of mid-way knock-outs and injuries. The actual results were:
-Gatti Vs. Ward I: Ward won by majority decision.
-Gatti Vs. Ward II: Gatti won by unanimous decision.
-Gatti Vs. Ward III: Gatti won, again, by unanimous decision.
Here's a short clip collage (I'd honestly post the whole trilogy but I haven't the time) of Gatti Vs. Ward moments...peep the two warriors at work:
Gatti Vs. Ward I: The start of the Trilogy
Gatti Vs. Ward I: Check, at 7:14, the infamous Round 9 where Gatti is practically folded by a well-received body blow from Ward near the start...and seemingly, by a miracle, recovers to the point of later taking on the offensive. The remainder of Round 9 and the rest of the fight follows...
Gatti Vs. Ward I: Round 9-10...and the results.
Gatti Vs. Ward II: Finale..."not too many guys like Micky Ward around, that's for sure."
Post-Gatti Vs. Ward III: This is really ill...shows some of what Ward went through after his last fight with Gatti (also the last fight of his career) and captures some of the comradery between the two. Both deserve mucho props.
Gatti Vs. Ward III: 4th Round...the round when Gatti hits Ward's hip with an uppercut and re-injures his twice-repaired right hand...notice how he drops his arm and starts only throwing lefts...one-handed fighting...mind you, again, this fight goes on through the final round!
Gatti Vs. Ward III: Final Rounds...mind-blowing.
R.I.P. Thunder Gatti