Arturo Gatti: Tragically Exciting
26.01.04 - By Ron Widelec: After watching Arturo Gatti for the umpteenth time this weekend, I am wrestling once again with an old question: How good is this guy? Every fight he is in seems to be an exciting brawl, whether it is against a top contender or a journeyman. Many people have been quick to rank Gatti in the top two of three in the division after his slugfests with Mickey Ward, but are these ranking justified?
Article posted on 26.01.2004
When Ward and Gatti fought the first time it was a close win for Ward, and both fighters rose in the rankings. But should this have been the case. If Ward and won by knockout in round 2, lets say, of that fight, Gatti would have dropped in the rankings, but would Ward have moved up significantly? I do not think that would have been the case. Granted, when a fighter shows that level of toughness that can affect rankings, but to the extent that it did, I’m certain it was altogether justified.
This is not to say that Ward or Gatti are not very good. But this weekend, as I sat and watched Gatti eat a bunch of sharp right hands from the Italian Branco, I couldn’t help but think back to the Kostya Tszyu-Otkay Urkal fight. In both fights the only thing on my mind was “hey, if this Euro-fighter had a punch, this fight would be over”. If Branco had a bigger punch, Gatti’s face would have opened right up. Gatti was as fast as ever, he was punching hard, and showing head moving, and still getting caught with some nasty, but fortunately for him, weak punches.
This seems to be the deal with Gatti. If I had to rank Gatti, I’d say he is a really tough B+ level fighter, who is tragically exciting. If he is in with A level guy, he will be exciting in a loss. If he is in with a B level guy, he will win in exciting fashion. But always exciting, always close, always brutal. He will play up or down to his competition, and always cause some seriously tense moments. Now he has a belt around his waist, and the real champion, Kostya Tszyu, has been injured and has not fought in quite some time. Gatti has become the only active titleholder in the division, but I am convinced that he will lose in exciting fashion to several of the other top contenders, including Ricky Hatton and Sharmba Mitchell, and certainly to Tszyu, assuming he hasn’t declined too much in this last year of inactivity. Either way, win or lose, belt or not, there is no one I would rather see fight than this tragically exciting Arturo Gatti.
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