Boxing


Gatti Vs. Chavez Jr. Pencilled In For November - Arturo’s Looking To Go Out In Style

arturo gatti01.06.07 - By James Slater: It is by far a done deal yet, but there is a strong possibility that Arturo “Thunder” Gatti and Julio Cesar Chavez Junior will meet in a November showdown. The coming to fruition of this intriguing match-up depends on a good many things happening first, however. Needless to say, the most important thing is that both men come through their next fights okay. In fact, Julio has two bouts scheduled before any potential fight with “The Human Highlight Real” can take place.

Grover Wiley (the man who famously retired Chavez Senior) must be taken care of on June 9th, in a fight that will be staged on the under-card of Miguel Cotto-Zab Judah in New York, and then Julio must come through his next fight unscathed also - a bout with an as yet unnamed foe on August 4th, which will be chief support to David Diaz-Erik Morales in Chicago.

While for his part, the mega-popular Gatti must first get past The Contender’s tough Alfonso Gomez on July 14th at The Boardwalk, A.C. Assuming neither Arturo or Julio comes unstuck, the two will then square off on November 10th in yet another fight held in Gatti’s house - The Boardwalk on Atlantic City.

Talk about an unexpected fight. First off, Arturo’s clash with Gomez was supposed to be his farewell ring appearance. Not so, it seems. While the knock on young Chavez has been that he wants to fight no-one but a creampuff. Also not so, it seems. For while it is undeniable to all that Gatti, 40-8 (31) all thirty-five hard years of him, has seen better days, he remains one hell of a tough SOB. Should he do the business against Gomez I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see Jersey City’s finest made the betting favourite over the unbeaten twenty-one year old son of a Mexican legend. Count on it, if Arturo gets past Alfonso - especially if he does so in a manner that doesn’t necessitate a trip to the hospital afterwards - a fight between he and Chavez Jr will happen.

Sure, he looked all through against Carlos Baldomir, and sure, he told us his fight with the 16-3-2 (7) Gomez would be his last fight. But Arturo clearly wants to do quite a bit more fighting before he, and he alone, decides he is through. So what type of a fight will a Gatti-Chavez showdown be?

First of all, the bout will be one that has a strangely nostalgic feel to it. The reason? Well, back quite a few years ago there was the strong possibility of a Gatti-Chavez Senior fight. Who would have thought that instead Arturo would wind up trading blows with Julio’s son? He may have beaten Julio Senior, too. For the fight, had it happened, would’ve done so at a time when “J.C Super Star” was well past his best. Maybe it’s good that that once possible match-up didn’t take place. This one is, though - at least subject to the conditions mentioned above - is going to happen. But will it be a great fight? Arturo is very rarely in a fight that isn’t either truly great or very close to it, and the guess here is that if he has enough to get past Gomez with something to spare - not a dead-cert by any means, of course - then a fight with the man some fourteen years his junior will be an eventful and entertaining affair.

Young Julio can fight, despite what his detractors may say. Yes, he’s fought his share of stiffs, but with him turning pro so early in life Julio was entitled to have had his share of easy, teach-him-the-basics type of fights. Now, against Gatti, he takes a huge step up. If he can defeat the fighter we all think of when we hear the words guts, excitement and heart, he will have arrived on the big stage. Both men will give it their all if and when they meet, such is their style of boxing and mental make-up (ok, Julio has never passed a serious gut-check, at least not one anywhere near approaching the ones Gatti has). As a result, the fight that looks to pit an idolised
warrior from one era against a yet to reach his potential fighter from another should be a barn-burner.

I hope the match gets made. Arturo wants it, Julio wants it, and though many would prefer it if he had retired a long time ago, Gatti has more than earned the right to end his unforgettable career the way he wants to.

And judging by his final(?)year schedule, the thirty-five year old wants to end his fighting days by giving his fans matches that see him squaring off against good fighters - in other words, he wants to quit the sport in style. Should we really have thought Arturo Gatti would have done it any other way?

Article posted on 01.06.2007



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