Thousands of words have already been written about the demise of Arturo Gatti and still more about the life in boxing that preceded it. News of his death, aged just 37, has shocked a legion of fans for whom Gatti is synonymous with courage, exhilaration and entertainment. Recently betrothed, Arturo Gatti leaves behind a young son and wife, Amanda Rodrigues Gatti – to whom responsibility for Gatti’s death is expected to be attributed following her arrest today.
It would be mawkish to speculate as to the events preceding his death, suspicious and unsavoury, they seem to be in the public domain in unpleasant haste too. The little boy who will never know his father, and could well be estranged from his mother, should her culpability be proven, is the real tragedy in the sorry events of the weekend. A sad conclusion to an astonishingly inspirational fighter’s life and another human tragedy befalls a boxing hero.
Among the flood of articles from writers and bloggers who never knew Gatti beyond their television screens I was most taken by Jerry Izenberg’s piece for the New Jersey based paper The Star-Ledger. Gatti came to represent the people of New Jersey and as someone with frequent contact with the man, Jerry’s words carry greater resonance than many of the other tribute pieces I’ve read.
Through the voices of those who really knew Arturo, who saw the honest, humble, down to earth attitude demonstrated in the ring exuded in the flesh, in real life, Jerry more successfully captures the essence of Gatti’s significance as a fighter and his nature as a human being. A couple of simple anecdotes illuminate and reassure those who never met the man, that the hero they saw fighting Ivan Robinson, Micky Ward and all was as decent beyond the ropes.
Arturo Gatti 1972-2009