Boxer Arturo Gatti, former JC & Hoboken resident, found dead

Arturo Gatti, the former Hoboken and Jersey City resident who electrified boxing crowds with his never-say-die style, was found dead in a Brazil hotel room Saturday morning. Gatti was 37 years old.
According to published reports, including the Associated Press, the Brazilian police believe that Gatti was found dead with a mark on his neck and some sort of head injury. Blood was also found near his body. Gatti’s wife was detained regarding the murder. Reuters reported that she was charged.
Gatti was in Brazil with his wife and his 1-year-old son.
Gatti, a native of Canada, came to the United States at age 17 and settled in Jersey City with his older brother, Joe, and became a professional boxer soon after.
Gatti fought his entire pro career for Main Events Promotions, who ironically held a prime-time boxing card Saturday night featuring their latest star, another Jersey City resident named Tomasz Adamek, the IBF cruiserweight champion of the world.
Gatti moved his way up the ranks and in 1995, captured the IBF super featherweight championship of the world, defeating Tracy Harris Patterson in Madison Square Garden.
In the coming years, Gatti became a fan favorite in Atlantic City and especially on cable network HBO, which televised several of Gatti’s bouts, including the famed trilogy with Micky Ward from May, 2002 through June, 2003. Gatti lost the first fight to Ward, then came back to win the next two. He won the second fight despite fighting most of the bout with a severely broken right hand.
Right after the Ward trilog y, Gatti moved to Hoboken and called the Mile Square City his home.
In 2004, Gatti defeated Gianluca Branco in his favorite boxing hall, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, to capture his second world title, the WBC light welterweight crown. Gatti held that title for 18 months, winning two more times as the champion, before losing via technical knockout to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. on June 25, 2005.
In 2006, Gatti defeated Thomas Damgaard, but then dropped his final two fights to Carlos Manuel Baldomir for the both the WBC and IBF welterweight championships by a ninth-round technical knockout and then his final fight, almost two years to the date of his untimely passing, on July 14, 2007, when he lost to Alfonso Gomez, also in Atlantic City.
After Gomez knocked out the battered Gatti in the seventh round, the local hero announced his retirement.
News of Gatti’s passing shocked boxing officials who were attending the Adamek fight against Bobby Gunn.
“I never saw a crowd show so much love for someone like the way20that the crowds flocked to Arturo’s fights in Atlantic City,” said referee Randy Neumann, who officiated over Gatti’s last fight against Gomez two years ago. “I mean, they were so into him and the crowds were electric. He just fought his heart out every fight.”
Neumann said that it was tough for him to stop Gatti’s last fight, simply because of Gatti’s incredible ability to come back in fights.
“I couldn’t stop that fight, simply because he was Arturo Gatti,” Neumann said. “He was much more dignified to go out that way. He had to be counted out. When he fought, you never knew if he could come back. He looked beaten and still came back.”
Neumann said that it was a tough week for the boxing world, mourning the passing of Gatti and former champion Alexis Arguello in the same week.
“The boxing community is a small community,” Neumann said. “We already have a high mortality rate. We can’t afford more like this.”
We’ll have more about the tragedy of Arturo Gatti’s passing in this week’s editions. —Jim Hague

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