Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Khan vs. Peterson: Great Fight, Poor Officiating

Pictured: Lamont Peterson rips Amir Khan to the body.

Last Saturday night, Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson gave the boxing community a gift it will seldom forget.

Sadly, that gift, much like an Indiana Jones marathon, was possessed of a conclusion that well and truly shat all over the greatness that preceded it.

In this age of protected champions and risk-reward matchmaking, it’s rare to see 2 young fighters square off in their physical prime, particularly when one of them essentially holds all the cards at the negotiating table I.E. Khan.

Regardless of whether it was due to arrogance on the part of Golden Boy, or simply due to the dearth of headline worthy talent at Jr. Welterweight willing to step into ring with “King” Khan, at the end of the day Khan-Peterson turned out to be tremendous fight in spite of the controversy that would surround it’s questionable officiating.

In particular, the fight served to rekindle my appreciation for Peterson, as despite being impressed by his early bouts, by this point I’d just about written him off as a credible world champion caliber fighter.

Indeed, sometimes it feels good to be wrong.

The fight started out at a fast clip, with Khan circling and shooting out flashy combinations at distance while Peterson struggled to close the distance.

Despite both fighters being possessed of natural quickness of both feet and hands, it was clear from the start that Khan’s lengthy strides and wild punching was going give him a clear edge in a straight up boxing match.

Ducking awkwardly at times, and rarely going on the offensive in the first several minutes of the fight, Peterson looked to be stymied by Khan’s physical advantages, advantages that typically belong to Peterson himself in most of his fights.

Despite this however, Peterson did well to avoid or block most of Khan’s flurries, pressuring him all the while.

Fortunately, despite suffering a slip and a balance related knockdown in the first round, Peterson proceeded undaunted into the fight, adopting a brawling fight plan that has heretofore been unseen in career up until now.

Pictured: Amir Khan standing over the toppling, but still game Lamont Peterson.

Typically thought of as a boxer-puncher with an emphasis on “boxer,” Lamont Peterson entered into the 3rd and 4th rounds of his fight Khan a full-on rough and tumble brawler.

Employing his own formidable footwork and speed as a launchpad for his offense, Peterson chased Khan about the ring as few others have done before.

In the past, Khan’s one glaring weakness was always his questionable chin.

Floored by Breidis Prescott in embarrassing fashion, and hurt by several other fighters earlier in his career, Khan’s chin has always cast a shadow over his potential worth as a elite level fighter, however in recent years, after having moved up in weight to Jr. Welterweight and begun training under Freddie Roach, his chin has become less of an issue.

Last year however, against the brick-fisted plodder Marcos Maidana, Khan found himself wobbled and nearly out on his feet in the 10th as a result of late comeback rally from the Argentinean.

My account of the fight can be read HERE.

While Maidana succeeded in making Khan look bad in the last few rounds of their fight, he was able to do so mainly because of Khan’s fatigue, defensive failings, and inability to finish him in the 1st round in spite of putting him down with a crippling body shot.

I wouldn’t call it a lucky shot per se, however I’d argue Maidana’s success in that fight had as much to do with his immeasurable intestinal fortitude as it did Khan’s own failings and lack of focus.

That being said, when Lamont Peterson came out for the 3rd round, and showed Amir Khan what can happen when a guy with good head movement and footwork comes out to brawl, pushed Khan to the edge from that point forward.

Khan may have stumbled into a bad situation with Maidana, but last Saturday night, Lamont Peterson brought the trouble straight to his front door.

While pressure fighters, and guys with iron-chins are a dime a dozen, it’s truly a rare sight to see a guy with technical pedigree put their skills towards hounding and clubbing away at another, equally technical fighter.

For me, it was like watching a carefully choreographed, bloodsoaked ballet.

Khan would skip about in his uppity way, trying to create distance, and, as if tethered to him with an invisible fishing line; Peterson would step right along with him, pounding away at the body all the way.

Watching expert infighters work their magic is one of the greatest spectacles in all of boxing, however watching Peterson, an innate boxer, lay into Khan with such agility and elegance, was a impressive and almost artful display of the craft I’ve rarely seen.

Throughout rounds 3 and 4, Peterson managed to breach Khan’s comfort zone and rip him with thudding body blows.

For whatever reason however, likely due to fear of overextending himself in his relentless, but physically taxing body attack, Peterson slowed down in the 5th and 6th round, doing extraordinarily well to avoid punches through careful shoulder points and rolls, but essentially gave the rounds away due to inactivity.

Pictured: Amir Khan swats Lamont Peterson across the chest with a hook.

The rest of the fight proceeded at a entertaining and feverish pace, with the lead changing virtually every 2 rounds.

By the end of it all, in spite of Peterson’s eye-opening performance, I expected a draw, or a 1 point victory for Khan.

As has been the case in virtually every fight in the past several months though, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Amir Khan, despite sounding like a whiny and decidedly broken-ass record in his post fight interview, claimed he felt he was fighting 2 men in the ring last Saturday night.

While I hate the idea of hometown favoritism in boxing, (the fight was held in Washington D.C., Peterson’s hometown) in all honesty, I feel there’s some truth to Khan’s claim.

Most of the judges for the Khan-Peterson fight were seasoned vets, and their scoring, based on the referees’ rulings, seemed entirely legit for the most part.

The real problem with the fight, despite the crowd-pleasing and competitive nature of the actual contest, was in the officiating of it.

In short, referee Joe Cooper did not strike me as a world class in-ring official.

Pictured: Joe "Coop Man" Cooper.

From the moment the 2 fighters touched gloves, and Cooper yelled the equivalent of “Look at me, I’m on TV!” you could tell he wasn’t quite up to snuff.

While an odd observation to make, given that he’s just a ref, Cooper struck me as particularly ungraceful and uncoordinated in the ring.

Often in poor viewing position of the action, and worse yet, often physically obstructing the fighter’s paths to one another, Cooper himself was actually the direct cause of Lamont Peterson’s slip in the first round.

Pictured: Referee Joe Cooper sweeping the leg.

That’s right, Lamont Peterson actually fell to the canvas due to having gotten his legs tangled with those of a slow and clumsy-as-fuck ref named Joe Cooper.

Another observation I made during the fight, was the fact that Cooper spent nearly the entire fight, or at the least the second half of it, yelling almost exclusively at Amir Khan.

There wasn’t a whole lot of clinching in the fight, as is typical of “good” fights, but there was a lot of leaning, mostly due to Peterson’s rough and physical infighting; however instead of telling the fighters to “punch/work out,” I noticed Cooper would always yell:

“Fight out Khan!”

Peterson was the one initiating the tie-ups, so if anyone, he should’ve have been the one being yelled at.

It probably doesn’t mean anything, but personally I started to get irritated by the one-sided nature of the referee’s chastisements.

All of this however, is merely a prelude to the true wrongdoings of Joe Cooper’s inept/corrupt officiating.

Throughout the first half of the fight, Cooper occasionally scolded Khan for pushing.

By scolded, I mean he wagged his finger at him, and told him to knock it off.

At the very end of the 7th however, Cooper actually stopped Khan from returning to his corner, and deducted a point for pushing.

Pictured: Joe Cooper deducting a point for pushing.

He deducted a point, for pushing.

I know pushing is technically illegal in the official rules of boxing, but to this day I’ve never seen it enforced.

It’s like clinching.

Clinching is technically illegal, but I never saw Ricky Hatton or B-Hop get points deducted for it.

Hell, when you get right down to it, some guys made their whole careers out of strong arming and pushing their opponents.

How do you think Jake LaMotta fought his way into the hall of fame?

How do you think Joe Frazier gave Muhammad Ali hell every time they stepped into the ring together?

How do you think Wladimir Klitschko is still the premier heavyweight in the world?

Oh wait, because when he feels like it, he can do this to people:

Pushing, or otherwise forcibly manipulating one’s opponent to create an advantageous position in the ring, is an expected consequence of a sport in which 2 people people punch each other in the brain all night.

Boxing isn’t always a give and take affair ala Rock and Sock ‘Em Robots.

That’s part of what makes it among the most inherently dramatic, visceral and human of all sports.

If a guy was tearing my gut to shreds with body blows all night, obscure 150 year old regulations aside, I could definitely see myself trying to push him away to catch a breather.

That being said, despite his horrible conduct in the fight through the 7th round, Joe Cooper went on to top himself by deducting another point from Khan for pushing in the 12th and final round.

Joe Cooper: "I AM, THE LAW!"

He deducted 2 points.

For pushing.

Who the fuck does that!?

Joe FUCKING Cooper that’s who.

So, on top of announcing himself to the cameras like a bro-hemian douche-rocket, on top of spending the whole night yelling at the foreign guy, on top of deducting 2 points for fucking pushing; Joe Cooper also single-handedly reversed the outcome of the fight.

That’s right, 2 judges awarded Peterson the victory via scores of 113-112, meaning Joe Cooper’s point deductions made all the difference.

Truly, it does indeed suck to be wrong sometimes.

As awesome as the fight was, it truly saddens me to know that boxing is, and forever will be, corrupt as a Chicago political official.

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Klitschko vs. Haye Flopped. Literally.

*Sigh* Once again my blind optimism towards the sport of boxing has lead to my utter disappointment in a high-profile bout.

Klitschko vs. Haye was supposed to be a score-settler, a fight that would do wonders to improve the image and worth of the winner.

True, David Haye has been overrated since day 1.

True, Wladimir Klitschko is one of the most boring and methodical fighters in the sport.

At the end of the day though, my gut told me this fight could’ve been something special.

Little did I know, my gut is retarded; most likely as a result of me having exclusively dined on hot dogs for the first 10 years of my life.

Yup, there's the fat fuck...

Like the hot dog munching, and very much overweight kid I was though; I came into this fight with wide-eyed enthusiasm, hoping and praying that Santa would drop down my chimney, the troops would come home from Iraq/Afganistan/The Moon, and heavyweight boxing would live again.

Sadly, as the title of this post would indicate, this was not the case.

Klitschko jabbed the night away and basically did the same as always, but in my opinion, and the opinion of virtually anyone who saw this fight that isn’t from the UK; Haye was largely the culprit in creating the flop-fest that was Klitschko/Haye.

That’s right, I said “flop-fest.”

What do you get when you type "flop fest" into Google Images? Hipsters and Batman.

For those who may not know, a “flop” is a term used in sports to describe the act of overplaying a foul or injury for the purpose of gaining some sort of advantage, usually through falling to the ground in dramatic fashion; hence the term: “flop.”

In soccer, players will flop to penalize the other team and get them carded.

In basketball, flops are used to gain the referee’s attention for calling fouls.

... Or for calling attention to how unbelievably stupid one is.

In boxing, the closest thing to a flop, one usually sees is that of a fighter feigning serious injury from a headbutt or foul for the sake of catching a breather.

It’s underhanded, yes; but in most cases a feigned injury in boxing is usually derived from a legitimate, if not minor foul that is simply exaggerrated.

It’s very rare to see dramatic “flops” in boxing that come as a result of entirely false circumstances.

Such was the case with David Haye’s performance in yesterday’s fight.

At an imposing 6′ 6″ and 240 lbs, Wladimir Klitschko is widely known as a fighter that gets a lot of mileage out of leaning on and holding his opponents.

Pictured: Klitschko, winning a fight in his own special way...

Holding is technically an illegal tactic in the sport of boxing, however this doesn’t stop every fucking trainer on the planet from teaching their fighters to tie-up their opponents when injured or in close-quarters.

Given Klitschko’s rather extreme height and reach, it only makes sense that he would lean on his opponents or tie them up when they venture too close, as with a wingspan like his; it’s hard to imagine his in-fighting abilities would be all that great.

In knowing this about Klitschko’s tactics, my guess is that David Haye’s camp made the decision to employ a “clever” strategy to counter the leaning and holding.

Said brilliant strategy, in the fine tradition of soccer; saw Haye flopping to the mat at the slightest touch of Wladimir Klitschko’s forearms or shoulders.

I can’t blame him for trying, as the strategy largely served it’s purpose given that Klitschko ended up getting a point deducted at one point; but the fact of the matter is, David Haye absolutely sucks at flopping.

I’ve seen William Shatner take falls more convincingly than the shit Haye was pulling yesterday.

Seriously man, the big Brit flopped to the canvas with such frequency that my brother had to call bullshit, exclaiming that he’d seen WWF matches where guys spent less time on the mat.

To make matter worse, it was clear that Haye just wasn’t in the fight by about the halfway point, seemingly checking out both mentally and physically for the most part.

The man’s stamina has always been in question throughout his career, and had he not been knocked out as a result of being gassed in a previous fight; I’d say it was on no better display than it was yesterday.

I hate to judge a book by it’s cover, but I’ve always felt that David Haye’s heroic bodybuilder physique was always ill-suited for pro boxing.

Like the similarly buff and bulky (and overrated) Jeff Lacy, Haye always looked the part, however his form was constructed of far too much “glamour muscle” to support the tremendous stamina and flexibility requirements of pro boxing.

If you want any evidence as to the state of Haye’s stamina throughout the fight, just look to his corner between rounds, and indeed before the fight even started; and take a look a how much water he chokes down throughout.

The man must have drank 2 gallons of water, which in case you didn’t know; is a big, big no-no in boxing.

Haye landed a handful of pretty big shots in the fight, though they all came one at a time.

Klitschko was hurt maybe once in the fight, in the last round; and from what I could tell he recovered surprisingly quickly.

All in all, it was a boring night (afternoon?) at the fights, with the only real drama spawning from the looming possibility that either fighter could hurt the other at any point due to their shoddy chins.

I will say this though, the entrances for both fighter’s were some of the most elaborate I’ve ever seen, though it would’ve been nice if they had been better coordinated.

Kudos to George Foreman for spoiling Klitschko’s big reveal on live television.

Filed under: Boxing, Comics, Movies, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Psyched For Klitschko vs. Haye

The heavyweight division has been boring as fuck for the better part of a decade.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a lifelong fan of boxing, but in all honesty; I kind of got the shaft when it came to the talent pool of my generation’s heavyweight division.

Truth be told, I think watching Joe Mesi awkwardly stumble upwards to the upper eschelons of the division was probably my biggest heavyweight thrill of the 2000’s.

Anyway, for those who are unaware, since the days of Lennox Lewis; heavyweight boxing has been completely and utterly dominated by the Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir.

Pictured: 2 guys that are more successful than you.

Many find their safety first, and consumately European style of boxing to be boring, and therefore a liability to the sport; however personally, I respect their abilities.

In my eyes, Vitali proved his worth by giving Lennox Lewis one of the toughest fights of his career, as well as through his somewhat miraculous comeback after a 5 year lay-off.

Wladimir doesn’t really have any tooth and nail, career defining fights on his resume like his brother, however I feel that’s to his credit.

As boring as Wladimir can be, his consistency is to be commended.

In a sport in which so much of the proceedings are determined by mental toughness and sharpness of reflexes, “consistency” is an adjective that is reserved for only the very best.

That being said, Wladimir’s biggest liability has always been the supposition that he has a shoddy chin, largely due to the fact that his only losses (3 in total) have been the result of being laid out cold from a single punch.

Not THE punch, but still pretty bad...

That doesn’t change the fact that he has a phenomenal reach, an incredible jab, and one of the most devastating right hands in the business.

Oh yeah, and he’s got Emmanuel Steward in his corner.  That counts for A LOT.

Well, when Klitschko decides to listen to him anyway…

Tomorrow night, Wladimir Klitschko will fight David Haye in what many are calling “the only fight that matters in the heavyweight division.”

Let me just say, the lead-up to this fight has been unbelievable.

For those who are unaware, after claiming the Cruiserweight championship from Jean-Marc Mormeck in 2007, David Haye immediately moved up to the heavyweight division (at 6′ 3″, one could argue this was his natural weight) and claimed the WBA title from Russian giant Nikolai Valuev in 2009.

BWAHAHA! This was hilarious...

Having secured his place in the division by gaining the WBA strap, Haye issued a challenge to both of the Klitschko brothers, ultimately gaining a date with Wladimir.

During the promotion of the fight, Haye showed up to a press conference wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a graphic depicting him standing over the 2 brother’s decapitated corpses:

Pictured: The Shirt of Infamy.

Typically a very calm individual, Wladimir reacted to this with noticeable anger.

Despite the juicy promotion, Haye eventually pulled out of the fight, citing a back injury.

It’s been 2 years since that promotional fiasco, and now we’re finally getting the fight we’ve all been waiting for.

While I know Klitschko stands as a symbol of stagnation for the heavyweight division, in all honesty I think I’m going to be rooting for him.

Call me old-fashioned, but if you ask me; David Haye talks too much for his own good.

He’s a very talented fighter, good enough to have become the guy at cruiserweight; but his arrogance doesn’t hold up to the quality of his resume.

In all honesty though, this fight is a hard one to call.

Both have clear weaknesses and strengths, it’s just a matter of who can exploit their opponent better.

Klitschko has a suspect chin and might be too robotic to contend with a lot of lateral movement.

At the same time however, he has excellent fundamentals, a reach advantage, as well as an overall size and strength advantage.

"Everything he hits, he destroys!"

Haye is known to have stamina issues and hasn’t faced the same level of competition as Klitschko.

At the same time however, he is incredibly fleet of foot and hand and is excellent at punching from dangerous angles.

If Klitschko’s chin comes into play, I could definitely see Haye putting him down with a right over-the-top.

Kind of like this.

If Haye’s stamina or focus lapse at any time, then I could definitely see Klitschko sweeping the whole 12 rounds.

It’s an either or kind of fight, but for my money; I’m going with the big Ukranian.

In any case, here’s hoping the fight doesn’t suck, as like I said; it’s kind of a big deal….

 

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 5 Boxers I Wish We’d Seen More Of

I’d like to kick things off this evening by saying that every fighter included in the following list had very long and fruitful careers.

This is not a list of fighters that never lived up to their potential, or guys who retired too early.

Many of the guys on this list were unfortunate to have died as young men, or worse yet; via unnatural causes, however the point I’m trying to make here is this:

Boxing is a violent sport that has the potential to permanently damage or injure it’s participants.

Regardless of how many fights a boxer engages in, whether it’s 1 or 100; serious injury or loss of faculties are a risk one always faces in stepping into the ring.

For what it’s worth, this is me saying that I understand it’s silly to ask more, even in jest; from men who already gave so much.

That being said, the following is a list of 5 fighters who I could watch forever; and thusly wish I could’ve seen in action just a few more times.

#5. “Baby” Joe Mesi

Despite retiring undefeated, Joe Mesi was never the best fighter around.

He was relatively small for a heavyweight.

He was more than little pudgy.

More importantly though, he never really got around to fighting anyone of note.

On paper, he sounds like kind of loser, doesn’t he?

Well, despite the fact that “Baby” Joe made his livings chewing up guys from the bum of the month club; he was in fact at one point the #1 contender in the heavyweight division.

He never won a legitimate world championship, but he made it all the way to Wladimir Klitschko’s doorstep; and gooddamnit, that counts for something.

“Baby” Joe was the Rocky Marciano of his day.

Sure, he didn’t have power, grit, or tenacity of The Brockton Blockbuster; but he was a short white guy in a division packed with… well, really tall white guys from Europe.

As it continues to slip out of the mainstream, boxing is always in need of a people’s champion, and for the American public (or at least Buffalo, New York); “Baby” Joe fit the bill.

I’d never claim him to be a great fighter, but I’ll never deny how much fun I had watching him climb the ranks and come away with inexplicable win after win.

Half of the fun of watching “Baby” Joe, was having to come into every fight knowing it completely possible that he’d get flattened.

Every time he’d get in trouble, my brother and I would scream with mock passion: “BABY JOE! NOOOO!!!!!”

“Baby” Joe effectively made his exit from the sport in 2004 when he suffered a subdural hematoma at the hands of former cruiserweight champion Vassiliy Jirov.

Many speculate that the current state of the heavyweight division would be considerably more colorful had “Baby” Joe not been forced into retirement prematurely, and I’m inclined to agree.

While I’d never wish for him to fight on after his injury, (note: he did anyway, though only in small venues due to difficulty finding licensing) however after watching his climb through the ranks, I wish I could’ve seen him challenge for a title.

#4. Edwin Valero

At first glance, one could call Edwin Valero the Kimbo Slice of professional boxing.

Underneath the surface though, it becomes evident that Valero was far more talented than the events of his career might have suggested.

Forced to fight out of Japan due to licensing issues associated with spotty brain scans, the vast majority of the buzz in U.S. surrounding Valero’s career was generated via internet streams of his fights.

Originally from Venezuela, Edwin Valero was a Southpaw fighter possessed of an uncanny punching power that would ultimately cement his place in boxing history.

In 27 fights, Valero managed a 100% KO ratio, with his first 19 bouts all ending inside the first round.

While it could be argued that the vast majority of his opposition was indeed severely over-matched, none can deny that Valero legitimately achieved this world record feat.

Coming across as a brick-fisted brawler utterly devoid of any sort of technical skills, it’s interesting to note that Valero was in fact a supremely talented boxer.

The truth of the matter is, that Valero was so in love with his incredible power; that throughout the majority of his career he simply chose to swing for the fences all the time because he knew he could get away with it.

Though in his later fights, against more solid opposition; inklings of Valero’s brilliant footwork and jabbing skills would begin to shine through, for the most part, the guy was perfectly content to leave his bag of tricks in the gym.

Sadly, Valero committed suicide just last year shortly after going to prison for murdering his wife.

Clearly possessed of some serious personal issues, it nonetheless makes me sad that Valero would never get a chance to test his mettle against top flight talent, particularly Manny Pacquiao; who he shared weight classes with for much of his career.

#3. Salvador Sanchez

Salvador Sanchez is one of my favorite boxers of all time.

His entire career took place years before I was born, but everything I’ve seen and read about him has me convinced that he was a truly special fighter.

Hell, when I was a kid I used to think he was cool purely because of his poofy hair.

A technical fighter if ever there was one, Sanchez nevertheless showed all of the grit and toughness that Mexican fighters are known for around the world.

Not exactly that big of a puncher, his expert footwork and extraordinarily fast-paced rhythm allowed him to befuddle his opponents; often luring them into KO traps by way of the disparity in their technical competence.

To this day, Sanchez’ battles with Danny “Little Red” Lopez and Wilfredo Gomez rank among some of my favorite bouts of all time.

Despite having a very fruitful career, Sanchez ended up dieing in a car crash while still in possession of the featherweight title.

He was only 23 years old, and a had one of the brightest futures in boxing that one could imagine.

#2. Rocky Marciano

Oh give me a break, you knew this was coming; right?

Rocky Marciano represents one of the greatest stories in boxing history.

I love him to death, but it’d be foolish of me to claim that he was the best of the best.

It feels weird saying it, but I’m one of those guys that, in the Muhammad Ali vs. Rocky Marciano simulation; would definitely be rooting for Marciano, but ultimately expecting Ali to win.

He was a tough son of a bitch, he trained twice as hard most of the people he fought, and he could punch like a mule kicks; but in the end Marciano was just a tiny heavyweight with a lot of guts.

Nevertheless, he was a tiny heavyweight that never lost, and rarely failed in knocking the fuck out of his opponents.

In the current age of sports science and giant heavyweights, I don’t think Marciano would do to well; but in his time, he was the king of the castle.

When Marciano retired, and abdicated his title; there were a handful of guys that likely would’ve wanted a crack at him.

Archie Moore, who was Marciano’s last opponent; still had a few good fights left in him.

Tommy Jackson was a solid competitor who held Floyd Patterson to a split decision.

And of course, Floyd Patterson himself would ultimately be the one to claim Marciano’s vacant title; which of course would be the biggest (and most plausible) “what if” match I wish we’d seen in Marciano’s career.

Of course, Marciano would retire, and stay retired in 1956; only to tragically die in a plane crash in 1959.

I’m pretty sure The Rock made the wise decision in retiring when he did, however I don’t think I’m alone in wishing that he turned that 49-0 record into a 50-0 one.

Records are always easier to remember when they’re in multiples of 10…

#1. Arturo Gatti

I didn’t even need to think about this one.

Arturo Gatti was singlehandedly responsible for converting boxing from a sport I used to watch to spend quality time with my dad, to something I obsessed about and became emotionally invested in.

Boxing writers and commentators like to throw around the term “blood and guts” warrior when talking about fighters that lay it all the line every time they step into the ring.

Everyone who was fortunate to have seen Gatti in action during his prime knows that he is the man these people are thinking of when they use this term.

In the ring, Gatti was the definition of toughness and heart.

Originally from Montreal, but adopted by Jersey City, New Jersey, he’d take 1,000 to give you 1, and more often than not; he’d ending up beating you in the process.

My brother and I used to joke that Gatti’s face would start swelling on the ramp, before ever stepping into the ring.

That’s just the way he was.

While his epicly poor weight management was likely the culprit responsible, if Gatti wasn’t cut or swollen by the end of the night; then it wasn’t a Gatti fight.

That’s like a Steven Seagal movie without an instance where he doesn’t flip some poor son of a bitch by the wrist.

It just doesn’t happen.

While I know it sounds like I’m some immature fuck who’s into boxing for the blood and violence, when it came to Gatti; the real reason we all watched was just that:

We wanted to see him, win or lose.

He was the real life Rocky Balboa or Little Engine That Could.

He was that guy that always seemed to have the cards stacked against him, yet somehow he’d always come behind a surprise us all with something magical.

Even when he didn’t win, there was just something about him that made us love him.

When he lost, there were no feelings of disappointment or anger.

We were just happy to have seen the (no doubt, spectacular) show that he put on.

I’ll never forget what he said when asked why he was going to win his ill-fated match with Floyd Mayweather:

“Because I’m a nice guy!”

Even though I’ve read plenty of reports to the contrary of that statement, it was stuff like this that made Gatti one of the most endearing fighters of his time.

The last few years of his career were less than stellar, in fact it was kind of sad; but you better believe I tuned in regardless.

Such was the power of Gatti, that he could continue to show up, a complete shadow of his former self; but still draw hopeful crowds regardless.

When Gatti was utterly broken by Alfonso Gomez in his last fight, everyone knew that was how it had to end.

He was starting to look pretty bad by then, but short of dieing in the ring; I don’t think anything could’ve stopped Gatti from slipping on the gloves one last time for his fans.

As I’m sure everyone is aware, Arturo Gatti was murdered in Brazil, allegedly by his wife; in 2009.

In leaving boxing, Gatti left a void that I scarcely believe will be filled in my lifetime.

HBO likes to call every tough fighter with heart the “second coming” of Gatti.

That’s bullshit and they know it.

4 Fights of the Year and countless classic battles are not something achieved by just any bum with a chin.

The sad part is that you can tell that they want a Gatti for their network so badly; that they callously throw his name around any time a decent fight starts to brew.

That’s how much boxing misses Gatti.

That’s how much we all miss Gatti.

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Donate

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers