Like many others, I was shocked to hear the terrible news that Arturo Gatti had passed away on July 11, 2009.
I grew up in New Jersey, where boxing in Atlantic City had morphed from the days of "Iron" Mike Tyson fighting in black shorts and no socks, to the sounds of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" blasting at the Boardwalk Hall while Arturo "Thunder" Gatti entered the ring for one of his many wars.
I have seen Gatti fight live four times in Atlantic City, including the last part of the Gatti/Ward Trilogy. Standing and chanting "Gatti! Gatti!" while he fought his way out of the corner, thinking he's going down, only to see him land a few punches and stand straight up like a warrior, just brought chills every time.
Gatti made me a believer, and an even bigger fan of boxing.
Arturo Gatti was a warrior. He gave boxing fans what they wanted to see—an all out war. Gatti retired with a record of 40-9, while winning a handful of world championships bouts.
His legacy includes fights with such greats as Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya. However, I think Arturo Gatti may be remembered most for his true grit regardless of whom he fought. Gatti wasn't the greatest boxer, but he gave it his all each and every fight.
He fought through broken wrists, swollen eyes, and bruised ribs, but it never stopped him from giving 110 percent.
I was there for Gatti's last fight against Alfonso Gomez. When Gatti lost, and later retired, I always hoped that he had one last fight left in him. I had even read rumors a few months ago that he was training in his hometown in Montreal for a potential comeback fight.
Unfortunately, the hope is now gone.
I am saddened by the loss of this truly great fighter, and hope that one day, the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City will be renamed Arturo Gatti Hall, after the great fighter that gave the fans excitement on many Saturday nights.
Arturo will certainly be missed as he was one of the great ones.