LEE GROVES’ ARTURO GATTI PIECE
I know you’re a colleague of Lee Groves so I don’t expect you to agree with me on this, but I thought his article on Arturo Gatti was a bit degrading of a guy who won titles in two weight divisions, had multiple fights of the year and was also a challenger for The Ring title at a third weight division.
The two guys who Mr. Groves points out showed up his weakness were either pound for pound number 1 at the time or had been and were still excellent fighters.
He fought Oscar De La Hoya at welterweight when he himself really wasn’t more than a light welterweight and De La Hoya was more like a light middleweight.
Anyway I think a guy who wins titles in two weight divisions and challenges for The Ring title in a third one and who is also involved in multiple fights of the year would be getting my first ballot vote.
What are your thoughts on Gatti? Cheers. – Leo
I thought Groves was fair and respectful of Gatti in his article, Arturo Gatti: Is he a Hall of Famer? Groves was thorough in listing Gatti’s ring accomplishments and eloquent in articulating what made the late fighter so beloved by fans.
Groves made a great case for Gatti’s inclusion in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. I think you’re focusing too much on his case against “Thunder” and his personal verdict (which is his and not the official opinion of THE RING).
What are my thoughts on Gatti?
It’s interesting how time changes one’s perception. I was asked (in an email to a mailbag column) if Gatti was Hall-of-Fame worthy shortly after his trilogy with Micky Ward and my response – if my memory serves me (this was nine years ago) – was that he was not and that even if his name appeared on the IBHOF’s ballot I would not vote for him until other popular all-action fighters of the past, such as Bobby Chacon and Danny “Little Red” Lopez, were inducted.
Since then, both Chacon and Lopez have been voted in. Gatti defeated three unbeaten fighters, Gianluca Branco, lightweight beltholder Leo Dorin and Thomas Damgaard, as well as former titleholder James Leija, before retiring and suffering his untimely death. The sentimental factor of Gatti’s passing, plus the totality of his entire career and what he meant to the sport, combine to form my new opinion that he is worthy of the Hall of Fame.
However, I don’t think he should be a first-ballot inductee. Gatti was great entertainer but he was not a great fighter.
I keep seeing Tweets from fans and boxing industry folks who proudly and loudly state that Gatti’s “heart,” “popularity” and ability to generate “excitement” and “drama” is reason enough to induct him into the IBHOF.
OK. Fair enough. But I don’t think Gatti had any more heart, popularity or ability to generate excitement and drama than Chacon or Lopez – two warriors who won titles, filled arenas, did terrific TV ratings and were in Fight of the Year battles — and they had to wait many years until they were finally inducted.
Chacon got in 12 years after he was eligible. Lopez got in 13 years after he was eligible (and that’s because he had an ill-advised comeback bout in 1992 – he really quit the sport back in 1980). Mando Ramos, another popular action fighter (who was more talented than Gatti in my opinion), is still not in the IBHOF. (I’m not even sure if the late Ramos is on the ballot.)
Why is Gatti so special that he needs to get in the Hall of Fame the first time his name appears on the ballot? Is it because he was the darling of HBO? Is it because he was an attraction on the East Coast?
And if it’s not about being a network favorite and a bona-fide ticket seller, is winning titles in two weight classes and earning three Fight of the Year honors enough? I don’t see anybody making a Hall-of-Fame case for Iran Barkley, and “The Blade” was an all-action fighter who won titles in three divisions, beat a great fighter in Thomas Hearns (twice), narrowly lost an ATG (Roberto Duran) in a thrilling Fight of the Year (1989) and was on the right side of the Upset of the Year (vs. Hearns in ’88).
First of all thanks for the “mailbags” and different stories (the Gym Notes are great!)…
* Corrie Sanders – LOT of respect for the man!!!!!
1.-I┬┤ll be quick. Now that Antonio DeMarco-Adrien Broner is on, I’ll be rooting for the Mexican and paisano (we’re both from Sinaloa) but I would love to see Miguel “Titere” Vazquez in against Broner and DeMarco against Ricky Burns and the winners meet! (I should be a promoter right? jajaja)
2.-I have always respected Maravilla and always will. He is a great ambassador for the sport, but I was rooting for Chavez being the Mexican. Man, it’s hard to support Chavez right now!! (I’m from the same city as he is.) I think that Pedro Diaz would be effective with Junior (if he really focuses). Pedro looks like he don’t make exceptions for nobody and takes no bulls__t.
3.-Since this is the 1st year of Hall of Fame eligibility for Gatti, how about a “mythical matchup” vs Edwin Valero at 140 pounds, maybe I’m just dreaming but what do you think?
4.-Top 5 active Mexican boxers: Juan Manuel Marquez, Antonio DeMarco, Miguel Vazquez, Orlando Salido, and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (but he really needs a legit top 5 contender). I’m not gonna smack Canelo for fighting Lopez because Josesito was the 4th choice. I’m happy that Josesito got his payday I don’t feel robbed because he gave his best. ***Special Mention for Erick Morales and for Jhonny Gonzalez (by the way I don’t have a problem with Ponce de Leon winning their fight but I think that those scorecards were just too wide). **Extra Special Mention for Jorge “El Travieso” Arce. His last fight wasn’t that good but he is a True Warrior inside the ring.
Sorry for the grammar some words might be incorrect. Take Care. – Salom├│n “Glondy” Gaxiola
Thanks for the email, Glondy. No worries on the grammar. I cleaned it up as much as I thought was necessary. I’ll respond to your points in order:
1) I’m excited about the DeMarco-Broner fight, but I think Vazquez would be the tougher opponent for “The Problem.” It’s just a matter of styles. By the way, I spoke to manager Richard Mota yesterday (while visiting the Azteca Boxing Club, where Vazquez trains). Mota, who works with Vazquez, told me that Golden Boy Promotions offered the IBF titleholder a fight with Broner, which they readily accepted. However, Broner’s management (Al Haymon & Co.) turned the fight down, says Mota. If this is true, Broner needs to drop the “CAN-man” routine because, obviously, not everyone CAN get some as he claims.
2) I think Pedro Diaz would do well with any fighter who has a professional attitude, but that doesn’t seem to be Chavez at the moment. Until Junior takes his life and career seriously it doesn’t matter who trains him, he will ultimately fall short of his potential.
3) Although Valero never fought at junior welterweight, I gotta go with the Venezuelan southpaw in – what else? – a brutal, war of attrition. Gatti would certainly have his moments, but his penchant for getting sucked into slugfests and eating punches would be his undoing against Valero, who was not as easy to hit as he appeared. (I’m not making any friends among Gatti fans with this mailbag, am I?)
4) My Top 5 Mexican fighters: JM Marquez, Ulises Solis, Abner Mares, Miguel Vazquez, and Orlando Salido. Honorable mention: Antonio DeMarco, Tyson Marquez, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Jhonny Gonzalez, and Canelo.
Hey Doug, lovin the mailbag as always. Just wish there were a few more pages to it!
Now for my weekly gripe.
What the hell is the big deal with Robert Guerrero?!? Why do people keep talking about him as if he’s done anything spectacular?
Who has been his toughest opponent? Old Man Casamayor? Michael Katsidis, the limited brawler?
Give me a break, please.
I would understand it if he was putting people to sleep in the ring but he’s not!
The “Ghost” is above average at best and there’s no way anyone can make me believe otherwise.
Damn, folks do love a sad story, huh?
Peace. – Steve, Bay Area
Oh man, and you’re a Bay Area fan “hatin'” on Guerrero. That’s wrong, Steve!
I agree that Guerrero has not faced a Who’s Who of the sport but he’s been in with very solid opposition and he’s dominated most of them. What’s impressive to me is that he’s been a legit contender in four weight classes – featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight and welterweight – which is a range (20 pounds) that very few fighters can be effective over. I think he could have been a top-five contender at junior welterweight. Maybe he will be.
Everyone is going ga-ga over Adrien Broner, but it says here that the South African that Guerrero beat to win the IBF title (Malcolm Klassen) was better than any junior lightweight The Problem has faced.
I think Guerrero is better than “above average” and hopefully the right fights can be made in the next 10-12 months to prove or disprove my opinion.
HAVE YOU NOTICED?
Have you noticed that most of your emails for the bags are from Canada and the UK? Keep up the great work. Your neighbors to the north are listening. – Travis
I have. There are a lot of good fighters to go along with the many passionate, knowledgeable and articulate fans in those areas of the world.
It makes sense that I would get a fair amount of feedback from Canadian and UK fans. (And when they are as concise as you are, how can I not post their emails?)
Rafael Marquez / Johnny Tapia @ 118
I say Tapia by close UD
Donaire / MAB @ 122
Prime MAB wears down Donaire to a points victory
Floyd vs. Pacquaio @ 130
Floyd by decision. He was nearly untouchable at 130.
Tszu vs. Bradley @ 140
Tszu by comfortable decision
Duran vs. Trinidad @ 147
I think Duran has trouble with Tito, but figures him out for a close points victory
Terry Norris vs. Sergio @ 154
Toss up, slightly lean toward Norris
Toney vs. Hagler @ 160
I think Toney by SD
Jones Jr vs. Spinks @ 175
I think Michael lands a Jinx and wins by KO
Holyfield vs Haye @ Cruiser
Holy gets up off the canvas to win a thriller
Bowe vs Wlad @ heavy
I think a prime Bowe matches the skills of Wlad and backs him up for a comfortable points win or late TKO.
What say you? – Will in Indiana
Great minds must think alike, Will. I agree with all of your mythical matchup outcomes, except I believe the prime Duran would have stopped Tito and even though Norris is one of my all-time faves, I think his less-than-world-class chin would have ultimately let him down vs. Maravilla near the end of a high-octane boxing match.
Email Dougie at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer