|Gatti to the IBHOF in 2013?|
As one of the most spectacularly exciting fighters of all time, Gatti's ring exploits truly are the stuff of legend. Miraculous comebacks, a slew of epic ring wars, pulling long-lost fights out of thin air with one punch knockouts, and of course nobody will ever forget his three fights with Micky Ward, a trilogy which in and of itself earned two Ring Magazine "Fight of the Year" awards and produced arguably the greatest round in the history of boxing, the epic 9th round of their first fight in 2002.
But is all that enough for Gatti to overcome his Hall of Fame shortcomings - he lost nine fights despite winning forty, he never beat a truly great fighter, and what about the perception that Gatti possessed at best, average boxing skills? Let's take a closer look.
Very few ever gave more of themselves in a boxing ring than Arturo Gatti. Check out his fights against Wilson Rodriguez, Gabriel Ruelas, Ivan Robinson, and Micky Ward if there is any doubt about this. Gatti's "boxing skills", limited though they may have been, were more than simply the sum of his talents and easily recognizable accomplishments.
If you only consider Gatti's Hall of Fame worthiness in terms of basic boxing elements like defense and other fundamentals, or the number of world titles he won (for the record, two), or the quality of opposition in his biggest wins, maybe you would say he doesn't deserve to be inducted and you would have a reasonable argument shared by many but if you look at how Gatti fought (as the ultimate blood & guts warrior of his era), and consider how many epic ring wars and "Fight of the Year" quality fights he was involved in, well then maybe you would say he does, and you too would have a reasonable argument shared by many.
|Gatti battles Oscar De La Hoya|
Yet despite all of this, some will still argue that Gatti just did not have enough "skill" or "ability" to be considered for a place among boxing's immortals. Frankly, that is a very shortsighted way of looking at it, and it does not do justice to what Gatti contributed to the sport and what he accomplished in the ring. More than just fundamentals; the category of boxing "skills and abilities" also includes intangibles like heart, the ability to take a punch, the ability to rise from knockdowns, the ability to fight though pain & injury, and the ability to somehow win fights when normal men would have long ago packed it in. Arturo Gatti was anything but a normal man and all of the above are skills that he possessed in epic quantities. His fighting heart was truly legendary and some would say in a class all by itself. Ultimately, isn't that what we expect from "great" fighters?
|Reborn & Eternal at IBHOF?|
There is something transcendent about dying young and what that loss adds to any great athlete's legacy. It tends to enhance it, particularly when that death is as mysterious and tragic as was Gatti's at the age of 37.
Yes, of course Arturo "Thunder" Gatti belongs in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
He was the real life ROCKY and there may never be another fighter like him.
Written by KO Digest creator Jeffrey Freeman, this article was originally published in the March 2012 edition of Beyond the Badge newspaper and has previously appeared online on this website and in various other sites and forums. Please feel free to share this link in support of Thunder. Rest in Peace Arturo Gatti - 1972-2009.
UPDATE (12/10/12) - Arturo "Thunder" Gatti has been voted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on the first ballot! Gatti's induction will take place on June 9th, 2013 at the IBHOF in Canastota, NY where boxing's ultimate blood and guts WARRIOR will be REBORN and made IMMORTAL.
Well deserved HONOR!