Arturo Gatti Laid To Rest, Remembered By Those Who Knew Him

arturo gattiby James Slater - Yesterday, in Montreal, Canada, thousands of mourners came out to pay their respects to the great Arturo Gatti, who shockingly died at the young age of 37 last Saturday in Brazil. Today, friends and family of the warrior known as "Thunder" gathered and also paid their respects.

Those people who were close to Arturo also refused to accept the latest released news that suggest Gatti may have committed suicide. Police have accused Gatti's wife, Amanda Rodrigues, of strangling her husband, but formal charges have yet to be made.

Two people who say there is no way Gatti would ever have committed suicide are his brother-in-law, Rocco Crispoe, who asked, "Why would he want to commit suicide? Multimillionaire, have everything to live for, nephews, brothers, sisters, just retired," Crispoe is quoted as saying by CBC News..

Trainer Howard Grant also refuses to accept that Gatti took his own life: "The only place Arturo would like to die was in the boxing ring," Grant said.

One man who perhaps knew Gatti better than anyone on a professional level is his former trainer, James "Buddy" McGirt. Grieving along with others close to the legendary fighter, McGirt kindly took time out to speak with this writer recently, whereupon he spoke about the fighter he worked with from 2001 until 2006.

"Arturo was the best, that's all I can say," McGirt told me over the phone last week in a clearly upset voice. "He was all heart and he was in a class all by himself."

I asked Buddy when he had last spoken with Gatti.

"I haven't spoken to him properly since the [Carlos] Baldomir fight. Whenever we did see each other we would speak. We remained friends after we stopped working together (after the loss to the Argentine). He was being trained by Micky Ward and I would go down to check on him to see how he was doing from time to time."

I also asked Buddy if there was one fight in particular of Gatti's he was most proud of during their time together.

"All I can tell you, man, is all of them (sounding as though he was choking back tears). Every day with him was a great day, a special day - because you never knew what to expect (laughs). I'll miss him. I love him."

Should Gatti be elected into the Hall of Fame one day?

"Most definitely. Not just because of this sad time, but definitely, in spite of everything."

Buddy was upset, but he kindly answered my final question - had he one special memory of his fighter that sprung to mind?

"I had a dance step I always tried to teach him, and he could never quite get it. One day in the gym, I watched him and he never knew I was watching him, and he was trying to get this dance step right. Then he saw me looking at him and we both just laughed out loud. He was the best I ever worked with. It was a real and genuine pleasure working with Arturo Gatti. There will never be another fighter or man like him."

Amen to that.

Article posted on 21.07.2009

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