Boxing


Carlos Baldomir TKOs Gatti in 9

By Frank Gonzalez Jr. - July 23rd, 2006 - Saturday night in Atlantic City, Arturo “Thunder” Gatti (40-7, 31 KO’s), took a beating in front of his hometown fans at the hands of WBC Welterweight Champion, Carlos Baldomir (42-9-6, 12 KO’s) of Argentina.

The fight was stopped late in the ninth round after Baldomir caught Gatti against the ropes and landed a barrage of punches, capped off by a left hook that put Gatti down. When Gatti got up, Baldomir pounced on him for the finish, landing another left hook that put Arturo down, forcing the stoppage.

It was clear from the opening moments of the fight that Gatti’s power couldn’t hurt Baldomir. Baldomir recognized that and forced Gatti into brawls that Gatti couldn’t win.

The Fight

The first was a feel out round. Baldomir’s right hands got to feel Gatti’s face and body often. Gatti landed a few shots but Baldomir landed stronger and more often.

Baldomir used his jab nicely in the second, always pressing the action and tagging Gatti with something. Gatti’s arms looked too short to catch Baldomir. Gatti’s left eye started to swell. Baldomir landed a clean right and a body shot that rocked Arturo.

By the third, Baldomir was having a party with his right hand, landing it at will over Gatti’s guard. Gatti seemed caught between whether to box or brawl and just couldn’t get into gear against the harder working Baldomir.

Baldomir’s confidence was soaring in the fourth as he continued to dominate the exchanges and always managed to land flush rights to Gatti’s face. Gatti IS a warrior and he made his stand, blasting Baldomir with a big right hand to the chin. Baldomir just kept coming forward, knowing Gatti could not hurt him.

The fifth was more of the same, with Baldomir cracking Gatti against the ropes and when Gatti rallied back heroically…it wasn’t enough and Baldomir just doled out more punishment. Gatti looked on the verge of going down from all the rights he was eating.

It was a one sided affair with Gatti losing round after round, eating Baldomir right hands in the sixth round, when suddenly, Gatti took a shot to his right wrist that froze him for a second, while pain said hello. Baldomir approached with punches even as the ref was stepping between to inspect Gatti. Gatti threw some shots in retaliation over the ref at the swinging Baldomir.

With a damaged right hand, Gatti stayed outside in the seventh, worked his jab and slipped most of Baldomir’s offense. He rarely threw his right hand but with his left, he landed good, clean shots. Unfortunately, nothing he did ever shook the iron chinned Baldomir. The only round I gave Gatti was the seventh, because he managed to out box and neutralize Baldomir with superior footwork, feints and jabs. A message of too little, too late in terms of what strategy Gatti might have successfully employed earlier.

In the eighth round, Gatti went down during an exchange at center ring from what looked like a push. Gatti jumped up gymnastically and drew applause. He then proceeded to get walloped by Baldomir. Gatti went down in the corner from a combination of a punches and a loss of balance. It was ruled a slip.

Gatti was overmatched but managed to have a few good moments when he boxed outside, jabbed and moved in and out with punches. The slicker boxer style Gatti currently employs somehow keeps his left hand too low in defense, which made him vulnerable to Baldomir’s right hands all night.

In the ninth round, Gatti was back to boxing outside and doing well until Baldomir cut off the ring, cornered Gatti and started to throw combinations. Gatti went down, it was ruled a slip. A moment later, Baldomir landed a hard low blow. It seemed accidental and Baldomir was very apologetic. When action resumed, Baldomir got Gatti on the ropes and unleashed his arsenal. A left hook snapped Gatti’s head and he went down. This time, it was properly ruled a knock down. Gatti got up on the count of 8, the referee gave him at least five more seconds before allowing action to resume and when it did, Baldomir went for the finish, throwing a flurry and another left hook grazed Gatti just enough to send him back to the canvas forcing the stoppage.

Baldomir retained his Title.

Win or lose, Arturo Gatti always gave the fans their money’s worth. His fights have always been exciting. Though Gatti is only 34 years old, his boxing age is more like 50, considering all the wars he’s put his body through. Every fighter has an expiration date and I suspect that Arturo Gatti is thinking about that date right about now. He’s had a hell of a career, made lots of money and fans around the world love him. What more could a fighter ask for?

This might be a good time for Gatti to consider other pursuits in life and take his rightful place in the Boxing Hall of Fame. He definitely deserves it.

Congratulations to Carlos Baldomir, who demonstrated his tenacity and durability when he beat the inconsistent Zab Judah last January with grit and determination and again in Atlantic City with a strong showing against the always dangerous, Arturo Gatti. It has been seven years since Baldomir lost a fight. Beating Arturo Gatti in the twilight of his career may be more a big name on Baldomir’s resume than the best challenge the division had to offer but Baldomir has made it clear, he wants to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Ricky Hatton.

If he has any intent on fighting Antonio Margarito, I haven’t heard about it. Margarito, the WBO Welterweight Champion, is possibly the best in the division, yet no one is rushing to fight him. Do we really have to guess why that is?

The Welter division has a good stock of fighters. Somehow, I doubt Mayweather will fight Baldomir or Margarito. He’s busy chasing Oscar De La Hoya for the money. I doubt Oscar will dishonor his trainer to fight his trainer’s son regardless of rumors. Mayweather needs to stop chasing guys that are past their best days anyway and fight guys who are in their prime now. THAT would be the mark of greatness.

Mayweather would be wise to fight Baldomir and Margarito in an attempt at consolidating the Titles at 147. Consider that in the last two years, Mayweather has fought DeMarcus Corley, Henry Bruseles, Arturo Gatti, Sharmba Mitchell and Zab Judah. Not exactly a best of the best list that would justify ‘best pound for pound’ status. As talented as Floyd may be, he has a lot left to prove.

Its not enough to just assume Floyd can beat the top guys in the division. He will only be top p4p if he consistently fights the best fighters (in their prime) and beats them. Remember Roy Jones Jr.?

There are some tough dogs at 147. Antonio Margarito, Carlos Baldomir, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Luis Collazo, Carlos Quintana, Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron and Oscar Diaz come to mind.

Margarito (33-4-0, 24 KO’s) is slated to fight Cosme Rivera (30-9-2, 21 KO’s) in September. What a waste. Mayweather is not slated to fight anyone so far as I know. Hatton needs to go back to 140, but he’s scheduled to fight Urkal Oktay (37-3, 11 KO’s) in December. What a waste. It looks like Mayweather vs. Baldomir could be a very real scheduling possibility. Since there are no commissions to mandate that Champions fight each other, lets see what Floyd decides.

Article posted on 23.07.2006



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