JUNE 25, 2005—Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In what was perhaps one of the defining moments in his career, Floyd Mayweather Jr. battered Arturo Gatti in one of the most one-sided fights the sport of boxing had seen in the past 20 years.
Before the bout, Mayweather promised to annihilate Gatti; nay, he promised more than that: He promised an erasure.
And for six brutal, breathtaking, jaw-dropping rounds, he did just that; it wasn’t just a domination; it was an expression of greatness.
It was as artistic as boxing could ever be; a ballet of violence that embodied the spirit of boxing: hitting while not getting hit.
Mayweather hit Gatti at will, landing four-, five-, six- and even seven-punch combinations with near 100 percent accuracy, attacking both the head and body with such fluidity that Gatti was reduced to the role of punching bag.
Years later, it still stands the test of time—perhaps the truest measure of art or anything considered “artistic.”
Fights such as Mayweather vs. Gatti are not the standard for boxing, and how could they be? The exception to the rule is always that which we remember the most, simply by virtue of contrast.
When examining the sport of MMA, you don’t have to think too long or too hard to come up with examples of fights that could be considered artistic—although perhaps not to the same degree.
Still, all art is relative, and relatively speaking, here are 15 of the most artistic performances in MMA.