I usually don't get around to checking my Facebook that often on a Saturday. Especially on one like today where I'm ripping and running trying to get things done. With that being the case, I definitely didn't expect to catch the news of the latest celebrity passing on that medium. But it is what it is and it doesn't change the fact that one of the greatest fighters of our time is now gone.
Former junior welterweight champion Arturo Gatti was found dead in a hotel room in the posh seaside resort of Porto de Galihnas early Saturday. He was 37-years-old.
The name may not ring a bell (no pun intended) with casual sporting fans. It's not like he was a common name in boxing like a Tyson or even a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. However, to the folks that enjoyed watching some good, old-fashioned boxing, Gatti's name is one of the first to come to mind. That's thanks primarily to his epic trilogy with his nemesis Mickey Ward.
I first caught wind of their fight when it came on HBO. Honestly, I had never heard of either one, but just felt like watching some boxing since I hadn't seen any in a while. Mainly because the commentators had been talking it up so much, it sounded like it would be a decent match. Was it ever. Those two went at each other non-stop from the sound of the opening bell. It wasn't that they hated each other, it's just that their two styles was just to be aggressive from beginning to end. There was never a dull moment. None of that dancing around and hugging. These were two boxers who weren't afraid leave everything in the ring. It was like that each of the three times they fought. Something that is very rare in the boxing world today.
I didn't realize that Gatti also fought Mayweather back in 2005 and lost. That was before I was hip to who he was. Thanks to his showdowns with Ward, I did remember his name from then on out. It's a shame that other folks may not know his name due to this tragedy.
Rest in peace, Gatti.