Floyd May Weather the ‘Thunder’

03.02.04 - By Luke Dodemaide: Last November Floyd Mayweather (31-0) captured the eyes of the Boxing world with a magnificent display to stop highly regarded lightweight contender Phillip N’dou in the sixth round of their WBC lightweight championship match up. It was a fantastic display, that transformed the boxing public’s view on Floyd, 26, in one fight, from skilful cautious boxer to become possibly the most devastating boxer- puncher currently in the sport.

While Floyd Mayweather announced himself as a must see fighter a few months back, one man has been one for years. That man is the ‘human highlight reel’ himself, Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti (37-6) . Arturo’s classics with Angel Manfredy, the two classics with Ivan Robinson, the war with Gabriel Ruelas, among others, those are fights that have established Arturo Gatti as one of the most exciting boxers to ever lace up a pair of gloves.

Arturo’s breathtaking trilogy with Micky Ward will be remembered for decades, there may have been no title on the line, but it seems no one told either fighter. Rarely have two men showed more heart, more determination than those two warriors in those three classic battles. The first instalment is the greatest fight of all time according to a lot of fight fans and boxing purists, and the second and third meetings weren’t too far behind.

Arturo,31, has earnt respect as ‘the human highlight reel’ for the better part of a decade, as humbling as that is for the Canadian, it was disappointing for him to know that he hadn’t captured a world title since, 1997. On January 24th, Arturo destroyed that hunger, by beating Gianluca Branco, Arturo Gatti captured the vacant WBC world jnr welterweight world title.

But it now seems Arturo wants one more thing, he wants Floyd Mayweather Jnr, the WBC lightweight world champion and arguably the best pound for pound fighter on the face of the earth right now.
What makes this situation more intriguing is that Floyd announced he also wanted a piece of Gatti, after his six round destruction of the ‘time bomb’ Phillip N’dou late last year.

It seems the only thing in the way of this potential super-fight is, typically, sorting out the money and perhaps a lucrative option for Arturo Gatti to fight countrymen Leonardo Dorin in Gatti’s home country of Canada.

But when there is a will, there is a way, and both boxers have definitely shown a strong will to fight each other.

So it seems in 2004, we could see the very intriguing match up between two dual divisional world champions, it will be Floyd Mayweather’s biggest fight, and perhaps the career defining fight for boxings’ favourite warrior Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti.

So what can we expect? Is Mayweather biting off more than he can chew? Will Floyd’s outstanding skills allow him to account for Arturo and weather the ‘Thunder’?

Floyd Mayweather is the faster fighter, perhaps the smarter and a far better defensive fighter. But on the other hand Arturo Gatti has the power, the height, and has the biggest heart of any man in boxing.

But will Gatti be able to lay his ‘thunder’ on the impeccable defence of ‘pretty boy’ Floyd. Floyd may be a lighter man, coming up from 135 pounds, but it is clear he is in another class to the Millet’s, the Ward’s and the Branco’s of world boxing.

Floyd Mayweather is in the same super star class as Oscar De La Hoya was in 2001, when the Golden Boy brutally destroyed Arturo Gatti over five rounds.

Is Arturo Gatti capable of competing with the true pound for pound super stars in boxing? So far he’s been there once and failed once. Can Gatti make the transition from beating contenders, to beating super stars in 2004? We know he has the heart, he has the determination, but does he possess the sheer skill to compete with this level of opponent?

Arturo would enter the fight the under dog, but that is a role that, you would think, would suit a warrior such as Arturo Gatti. This isn’t the first time he’s back has been up against the wall.

While Floyd has everything going for him, he’s young, he’s confident, he’s fast, he’s skilful and he’s coming off the performance of his life. Floyd seems capable of weathering any storm that Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti can conduct.

While the ability to take a punch has earnt Gatti many admirers, at the same time it can not be good for the mans personal health. With all the wars Arturo Gatti has been in, he may just be the oldest 31 year old in boxing. Gatti gets hit too much, it’s that simple. Sometimes you can get away with it, but when your fighting Floyd Mayweather Jnr, you can’t.

Gatti is one of my favourite fighters, but in my honest opinion, Arturo is the perfect opponent for Floyd Mayweather. Gatti will get Mayweather the exposure and the money he wouldn’t make anywhere else in the 140 pound division. And he is doing all this fighting a man who in reality is a class below the Kostya Tszyu’s, the Zab Judah’s and the Sharmba Mitcehll’s of the jnr welterweight division.

But in saying that Arturo Gatti is a great fighter who will never give up. Gatti’s best chance is to turn this fight into a war, while Buddy Mcgirt’s boxing system has worked well for Gatti, but you know what they say ‘box a fighter, fight a boxer’. Floyd is the better boxer, so fight him. Brawl him. Take him into unfamiliar territory and then maybe, just maybe, Arturo can upset the undefeated Floyd Mayweather jnr.

But I still tend to believe Floyd May- Weather the ‘Thunder’… and win the fight.

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Article posted on 03.02.2004

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