"I hear the cheers when I need to hear them. It feels good to know my fans are still behind me."
Today on July 11, 2012 marks the third year of the death of 2 division World Champion Arturo "Thunder" Gatti. After competing as an Olympian for Canada in the 1992 Summer Olympics, he would later begin his illustrious professional boxing career in November 1992. He won many provincial championships and a few canadian championships all below the age of 18. One of the most entertaining boxers to ever grace the sport and was the pathway to an exciting fighter, Chris Leben and Scott Smith were most notably called the "Arturo Gatti Of MMA" for their hard fought performances and comeback wins, and although lacking natural skill, both had more heart than almost anyone and in MMA, but neither were as great as Thunder.
Follow Me after the Jump as I remember the legacy of one of the most exciting fights in Combat History.Arturo "Thunder" Gatti (40-9) 31 KO's
Gatti was known as a relentless fighter who was almost never in a boring fight and put it all on the line every single time with every single opponent. Gatti although being an exciting brawler, unlike many brawlers had solid technique and was more than capable of incorporating his technical prowess in some of his fights, Most notably his fight against Joey Gamache is his last pro boxing match.
After solid action in the first round and 2 knockdowns from Gatti, he would later go on to demolish Gamache in the second round in what was considered a controversial KO.
Gatti would later show us all just how exciting of a fighter he truly was when he would go on to fight legendary "IRISH" Micky Ward for the first time ever in arguably the most exciting fight in combat sports history.
Arturo Gatti v Micky Ward I won the Fight Of The Year award uncontroversially and showcased the true brawling instincts of "Thunder" that many weren't accustomed to previously. A match that can never be repeated, showed the true endurance and way of a warrior. Micky Ward was awarded the the Majority decision in a back and forth fight where Ward truly edged Gatti in the latter rounds to win a history making brawl in emphatic fashion.
After the loss Gatti would go back to the drawing board with trainer Buddy McGirt and immediately re matched Ward in their second fight which again was another slug fest where this time Gatti's technique would win him the fight. Then came the trilogy between the two in another Fight Of The Year contest after Gatti broke his twice-repaired right hand on an uppercut to the hip in the fourth, and he dropped his arm, and continued to win a UD beating his greatest rival in history.
Gatti would later become the WBC Light Welterweight Champion after defeating Gianluca Branco by Unanimous Decision.
After Gatti won his second only world championship he would later go on to the defend that title twice against Jesse James Leija and Leonardo Dorin in 2004-2005.
Gatti would appear to have finally reached his peak when he was defeated by Undefeated P4P Floyd Mayweather after a brutal outclassing of his skillset by the better pure boxer. This would mark the last time Gatti defended a world title, it not only appeared that Gatti was out of his league, but his career was running out of time.
Arturo Gatti would later go 1-2 in his last 3 fights retiring in the year 2007 after another dominate loss to Alfonso Gomez where long time rival Micky Ward was his trainer for the fight.
On July 11, 2009, Gatti was found dead in a hotel in Ipojuca, Pernambuco, Brazil, where he was on vacation with his Brazilian wife, Amanda Rodrigues, and their 10 month old son he was 37 years old and would be 40 were he alive today.
Gatti will forever be remembered as one of the most entertaining fighters to ever walk the planet, and his matches with Micky Ward will forever be remembered as some of the greatest, if not the greatest matches of all time.
Thank You, Arturo Gatti