Arturo Gatti & the Curse of Boxing

By Rene Trujillo - Perhaps no other sport out there carries more stories full of glory and grief than the sweet science. From successful boxers who escape poverty to earn millions of dollars, to the unlucky warriors who earn a pittance just to pay the bills: Boxing has been the backdrop to many of these stories and different others in between. The sport of boxing unlike other major sports has no governing body set up for the well being of boxers in and out of the ring. There isnít a pension plan or a health care system in place for a set of athletes that run the biggest risk in participating in their sport both during and after their careers. For that reason alone we hear of many boxers who end up living on the streets after their careers mentally ill, hooked on drugs, alcohol, and in the saddest of cases end up dead in some pauperís cemetery. But above it all, it is the death of a boxer that strikes up the most emotion in all of us who passionately embrace the sport: and that emotion is always magnified when the life of a boxer expires all too soon..

Early deaths in boxing outside of the ring have over time become almost as synonymous with the sport as the gloves and ring themselves. We can call this phenomenon the curse of boxing: a curse that has struck among others over the years Marcel Cerdan, Rocky Marciano, Randy Turpin, Oscar Bonavena, Diego Corrales, Alexis Arguello, Vernon Forrest, and Arturo Gatti. That is just a small sample of the boxers who have suffered untimely deaths and who represent many eras in boxing. In these current times however, the death of Arturo Gatti is the one that has been most widely felt among American and Canadian fans, partly because he fought not too long ago but mostly for his never say die approach in the ring that thrilled us all over his highlight reel career.

Arturo Gatti was four times one half of the Fight of the Year and that in itself would be an honor for most boxers: Gatti though, was not most boxers. Throughout the years Gatti had become a boxing God to fight aficionados, some of whom were die-hard fans of his even though they realized that he was a B level fighter at best. Regardless of his skill set however, it is safe to say that what made us fans of his was the size of his heart in the heat of battle: a heart that was bigger than other fighters more skilled than him. Fighters will continue to come and go but for this generation of fight fans, Arturo Gatti, the blood and guts warrior, will always symbolize all that we love about this brutal sport.

Article posted on 02.10.2009

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