Boxing


Baldomir and Gatti ready for War

20.07.06 - By Ryan Songalia: Boxing is a sport with a system unlike any other. In boxing, one can win and still lose, and lose but still win. Arturo Gatti personifies this law. Over the last decade, Gatti has thrilled the fans with his heart and fists, and usually his blood as well. Victorious or not, he has retained his fans not by wins or losses, but by the way he fought. As a result, his marketability has afforded him certain priveleges that are reserved for those who can generate the big dollars. In the welterweight division, no one brings in the green like Arturo Gatti.

Gatti has outhustled more deserving challengers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Antonio Margarito to a shot at the newly crowned World Welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir. They will square off in front of Gatti's partisan home crowd of Atlantic City, NJ. With a style matchup almost guaranteed to cause explosions, this fight promises to make for one of the most exciting encounters of the year.

Carlos Manuel Baldomir, 42-9-6 (12 KO), won the welterweight championship when he upset heavy favorite Zab Judah at the beginning of this year. The Argentina native has become a Cinderella story with his improbable success. After making Judah wobble like a weeble and outhustling the champ, Baldomir was awarded the unanimous decision victory and a lofty perch in the welterweight division..

With success comes the opportunity for more success. Immediately after the fight, Baldomir became the most sought after opponent in the boxing world. After the Baldomir camp was unable to come to agreement with Mayweather, Gatti stepped in and took advantage of the circumstances he found himself in. As a marketable, yet beatable opponent, Gatti was a very attractive option for Baldomir's first title defense.

Arturo "Thunder" Gatti, 40-7 (31 KO), is unrivaled in his entertainment value. Dubbed "The Human Highlight Film" for his knack for the dramatic, Gatti's ability to win and lose in spectacular fashion have made him a special attraction in the boxing world.
A former junior lightweight and junior welterweight titlist, Gatti is seeking to gain his third title belt in as many weight classes. Should Gatti acquire the WBC title belt on Saturday night, Ring Magazine would recognize him as their champion for the first time in his career.

Baldomir is the kind of opponent who seemed tailor made for the old Gatti, but is he the wrong guy for an old Gatti? Baldomir is a pressure fighter, a guy who will make you fight all night. He takes a good shot and is always in great shape. However, hes painfully slow of hand and foot, the two attributes that have been the foil for Gatti in the past.

Gatti is one of the best offensive fighters of the last decade, having registered some of the most sensational knockouts. Against willing targets like Ward and Daamgard, Gatti was able to do incredible damage. In his last fight against Thomas Daamgard, Gatti was devastatingly accurate in dismantling the durable Dane. Baldomir is similar in his crude aggression, and is not an exceptional offensive fighter. In exchange, Gatti's faster and heavier hands will be able to break down Baldomir, where he is not quick enough to respond to Gatti's combinations. Gatti should be able to finish his man off sometime after the tenth round. They don't come tougher than Baldomir, but they don't come any more average than him too.

Should Gatti lose, his career would essentially be over. With all the brutal fights he's participated in during his career, one more loss would probably convince him it was time to call it a career. If he pulls out the win, he would be able to stick around for one or two big money fights against crowd pleasing yet vincible opposition like Cotto and Hatton.

Should Baldomir lose, his run as a serious fighter would end just as it was beginning. He will be making some decent money for this fight, his biggest purse by a long shot. If he is able to pull of the upset (Las Vegas odds makers have installed Gatti as a 2-1 favorite as of press time), he will be in greater marketing position with the opportunity to pick up another big payday against Mayweather or Margarito.

For Gatti, his career and future stakes in the sport all ride on what he brings Saturday night. For Baldomir, its do or die time for the feel good story of the year. Has Baldomir found an unexpected Spring in his career, or will the clock strike midnight on the Cinderella man. We'll find out this weekend.

Ryan Songalia is a syndicated columnist. Agree or disagree, hit me up at mc_rson@yahoo.com. You can also check me out on Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/asian_sensation201 . Shoutouts to La La Izquierado.

Article posted on 20.07.2006



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