Boxing


Baldomir - Gatti: Blue Collar Boxing at its Best

21.07.06 - By Troy Ondrizek: First things first, I want to thank Zab Judah for this fight, for it was his vision, or lack thereof that created this opportunity. As most of you know Judah back in January was preparing for a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather. All Judah needed to do was beat his handpicked opponent Carlos Baldomir, and an enormous payday was inevitable. Problem was, Judah underestimated the toughness of Baldomir and couldnít adjust to the slightly awkward come at you style of the Argentinean journeymen..

That loss to Baldomir didnít stop the Mayweather-Judah bout from happening, and Judahís payday wasnít as big as expected, but that was due to his antics in the ring, and not his loss to Baldomir. I will say this though about the entire scenario of Mayweather-Judah. Brian Kennyís dialogue with Floyd Mayweather was priceless, and how Floyd looked like a total ass against the ESPN boxing host made us realize just how much Mayweather valued his legacy.

With all that drama aside, we come to this fight. Mayweather is considered the pound for pound king in boxing and is in the same weight class as Baldomir. So the question can feasibly be raised as why this fight didnít happen. I donít know the schematics of it all, but Mayweatherís ability to dodge certain fighters out of the ring is just as good if not better than his ability to dodge his opponentsí punches inside of it.

So with Mayweather declining this bout and Baldomir not really being an attraction of any kind in his own right, HBO needed someone who can sell out Atlantic City and still be a respected and viable opponent. In steps Arturo ďThunderĒ Gatti. Gatti was obliterated by Mayweather just over a year ago, but came back and stopped previously unbeaten and untested Dane Thomas Damgaard earlier this year. Gatti had injured his right hand in the fight, and still had enough in him to stop Damgaard with one hand.

Now it will take at least two if not three hands for Gatti to stop Baldomir this weekend, but even if Gatti doesnít look like Goro from Mortal Combat, he still is the best fit for a great fight. Arturo has more heart than just about any fighter in the game. His trilogy with Mickey Ward had more action in it than Star Wars, and those fights subsequently made Gatti more marketable than Darth Vader. With Baldomirís claim as the linear Welterweight champion and Gattiís absolute drawing power, HBO needed to give us a fight like this after the coma inducing hug-a-thon between Calvin Brock and Timur Ibragimov, and for making Mosley-Vargas II a PPV. Even though Gatti is Canadian, Atlantic City is basically Gattiís hometown and the crowd will be dominantly Gatti supporters. Thatís okay because Baldomir has traveled to South Africa, England, Germany, Denmark, America, and Germany to get his victories and the travel hasnít cost him any.

So what makes me think this fight is going to be so great? Well, neither man is a dancer. They both love to stand in front of their opponents and go at it. Gatti will stand and trade with a wall, and Baldomir has a chin like a wall. Baldomir isnít the most mobile but is difficult to land cleanly, and Gatti is easy to find, but he drops punches from every angle and you have to eat a few to get to him. Baldomir might possess the heavier hands and sturdier chin, but Gatti is a little faster and moves a bit more, when motivated. I actually see this fight going Gattiís way in the beginning, but with Baldomir wearing down the former champion late. Now my good friend J.E. Grant feels that this fight will be a unanimous decision for Baldomir, and to be honest, who am I to question him, but I think a little favoritism might string this out to a draw if it goes the distance, plus Gatti is busier than Baldomir. However, I see a late round TKO, and either man can score it, but I lean towards Baldomir in this one.

No matter the outcome, the substance of this fight will be tremendous. Neither man will back down from the other, and both arenít afraid to be hit. If Baldomir is victorious than he will hopefully be marketable enough to take on Mayweather or get a good payday against Margarito. If Gatti wins, I pray he takes on Margarito and not Mayweather, Margarito might knock him out with one shot, but that will be less debilitating than be bombarded with 500 shots like he was against Mayweather. All I know is Iím going to take all my bathroom breaks and have my food ready beforehand, for missing a moment of this fight will be a travesty. So with a stogie in one hand, and a Guinness in another, you can find me cheering this one on come Saturday, and Iíll drink a few for you.

Article posted on 21.07.2006



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