HBO has announced that it will will begin production of Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward, an hour-long documentary that will chronicle the trilogy between the late Arturo Gatti and Irish Micky Ward.
Although Ward (38-13-1, 27 knockouts) was victorious in their first meeting in May of 2002, he lost the next two to Gatti (40-9, 31 KOs) in November of 2002 and June of 2003.
“With June 2013 marking the tenth anniversary of the third fight of the landmark Gatti vs. Ward trilogy, we believe now is the ideal moment to revisit this classic rivalry,” said Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports.
“This retrospective will offer new perspectives and deliver revealing insights on the two ring warriors who produced this all-time great moment in boxing history. We plan to present the special on a night with a major fight on HBO, ensuring a memorable night of boxing programming.”
Gatti was involved in a Ring Magazine “Fight Of The Year” four times throughout his career, but was most known for his three bouts against Ward — the first and third of which earned Ring Magazine’s “Fight Of The Year” honors.
The first clash between Ward and Gatti in 2002 was named Fight of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and the three fights have been widely celebrated as one of boxing’s greatest rivalries.
All three bouts aired live on HBO and featured the ringside commentary of Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant and the late trainer Emanuel “Manny” Steward on the first and third fights. Lampley, Merchant and George Foreman called the second bout. Gatti fought 21 times on HBO in his pro career, while Ward appeared six times on HBO.
A former titlist in the IBF junior lightweight and WBC junior welterweight divisions, Gatti was nicknamed “Thunder,” turned professional on June 10 of 1991, and retired in 2007. In a remarkable twist, Ward wound up being Gatti’s trainer for his final pro fight against Alfonso Gomez in July 2007.
Gatti was found dead on July 11 in his hotel room in Brazil, where he was vacationing with his wife, Amanda Rodrigues. Rodriguez was originally arrested and charged with his murder, but later, released.
Initially ruled a suicide, the circumstances surrounding Gatti’s death still are being investigated.
Gatti was the Godfather to the youngest daughter of his manager, Pat Lynch, and served as an usher in Lynch’s wedding when he was married to his wife, Lisette.
The special will also be available on HBO On Demand and HBO GO.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]