Prediction: Leonard Dorin, but can he win a decision in NJ?

23.07.04 - By Jose Sanchez: The Combatants: On paper, the Arturo Gatti vs. Leonard Dorin fight should by all accounts be an exciting slugfest and possibly even a ‘fight of the year’ candidate. Both fighters are known for being in the type of exciting give and take action fights that boxing fans love to watch. Arturo Gatti being the more popular fighter, his Italian heritage and power making him basically the real life Rocky Balboa. How many fights have we seen with Arturo bleeding from a huge cut, down on the scorecards, only to pull the fight out with one of this dramatic late round finishes? Even fights were Gatti does not end up victorious are exciting for the fans because he is always in the fight to the very end with his punching power, and of course his heart will not let him give up. Gatti is as much known for his heart as he is for his action fights. These qualities have made Arturo Gatti into perhaps the most ‘exciting’ fighter to watch at any skill level. Needless to say, if you come to see an Arturo Gatti fight, you definitely are going to get your money’s worth.

What about the challenger then, Leonard Dorin? Although Dorin is also well known for being in ‘exciting fights’, he is not nearly as well known as Gatti. This is in no small part due to the fact that Leonard Dorin only has 7 knockouts to his credit in 23 professional fights. Still Dorin is a volume puncher who likes to lure his opponents into brawling with him. Dorin is well known to have very good stamina, and if the fight goes the distance it is difficult to see Dorin (with his intense work rate) being out pointed on the scorecards. Let us also not forget that Dorin had a very distinguished amateur career, and is still undefeated as a professional.

The Breakdown:

Arturo Gatti has openly stated that he is going to try to use his boxing skills against Leonard Dorin. He will try to jab, move and keep Dorin away with occasional power shots. Dorin will just plain try to make it a brawl and lure Gatti into a slugfest, hoping to outwork him. Even though Gatti has exhibited some boxing ability in his past fights, he has always been known to revert to being a slugger when ‘the going’ has gotten tough. You see, like all punchers he looks for his power to bail him out of trouble. Dorin is indeed the smaller man both in height and weight (he is moving up to 140lbs for this fight) and whether he can take a good shot from a hard puncher is definitely a question that needs to be answered. If Gatti is unable to hurt (or kayo) his opponent, he is going to have a very tough time trying to outwork a stamina and punching machine like Leonard Dorin. Dorin is also a past Olympian medallist, so he may surprise us with some boxing skills of his own at moments. Still, I mostly expect a slugfest.

Other factors:

Both Arturo Gatti and Leonard Dorin tend to cut easily. Dorin has been known and criticized in the past for coming in with his head down. This situation can easily create a scenario where a clash of heads could adversely affect and even prematurely stop the fight. Arturo Gatti himself mentioned some concerns over headbutts in the last press conference, going on to say he hopes the referee will warn Dorin should this become a problem. The fight is being held in New Jersey, which will likely be a very ‘pro Gatti’ environment. Can Dorin win a decision with such a hostile crowd? Lately we have seen some horrendously bad officiating in boxing. For example, last week we saw the referee completely take Zahir Raheem out of a close fight with Rocky Juarez by deducting no less then three points with very little provocation. It was one of the worst officiating jobs I have seen (he was literally breaking up the fight every few seconds to warn Raheem). Can the referee likewise become an issue in the Gatti-Dorin fight? It is quite possible that even a 1 point deduction (say for head butting which Gatti has mentioned concerns over) would be a serious obstacle against Dorin should we go to a decision given the location of the fight. On top of this we’ve also seen some very bad scoring lately, namely in the Courtney Burton vs. Emanuel Augustus fight. All these circumstances, coupled with the fact that Gatti is the ‘belt holder’ in this fight tell me that Dorin is going to have to really put up a convincing performance if he hopes to get the nod. Another factor to be mentioned is that Gatti has hurt his hands in several of his recent fights leading up to Dorin. If that should once again happen, how will that situation affect the outcome?

For the Betters:

Gatti is a solid betting favorite in this fight. I do see him as a legitimate favorite given that he is the bigger guy (and bigger puncher) and is fighting in basically a ‘hometown’ environment. However, let us not forget though that Dorin is still undefeated as a professional. He is known for having a tremendous work rate and solid stamina going into the final rounds. If Gatti does not hurt or kayo Dorin he is going to have one heck of a time out scoring him. Still I will say that the odds are too drastically skewed for Gatti in this fight. Dorin was about a +400 underdog by decision, and that is too much considering he is an undefeated former champion moving up. I attribute this mostly to the fact that Dorin is largely an unknown quantity in the U.S.

-I like Dorin by decision given the odds. If he doesn’t get kayo’d…. it’s going to take a mightily spirited effort to outpoint him with his work rate. If Gatti can stick and move and play Ali for 12rds, more power to him. I don’t see it happening personally.

-I like the draw. My logic is that with the pro Gatti crowd, it is very possible that what looks like a Dorin close decision can very easily turn into a draw. You get 20 to 1 odds or better, so it’s not a bad philosophy to lay a few on the draw of any fight you think will be a close affair.

Final Take:

It’s hard to look at this fight on paper and not predict a slugfest. Both fighters involved are well known for their determination and heart, and I only hope that the officiating will not ‘tar’ what should otherwise be a very memorable event. May the best man win.

Article posted on 23.07.2004

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