The life of the Human Highlight Reel, Arturo Gatti, ends in tragedy

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. His wife, Amanda Rodrigues Gatti, was arrested 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 a further victim in the sorry events of the weekend. His death at such a young age, a heartbreaking conclusion to an inspirational life and yet more tragedy heaped on the sport and one of its heroes.

Among the flood of articles from writers and bloggers, most of whom who didn’t know Gatti beyond their own television screen and his projected and inferred persona, I was most taken by Jerry Izenberg’s piece for the New Jersey based paper, The Star-Ledger. It told how 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, Jerry more successfully captured 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

Boxing opinion and insight by David Payne

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