Carlos Baldomir To Arturo Gatti: You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

25.07.06 - By Favio Alvarez - When Floyd Mayweather decided to fight Zab Judah even after Carlos Baldomir beat Judah to take away his Welterweight belts, it seemed to Arturo Gatti old lady fate was smiling down upon him. Here was a chance to redeem himself and regain a hold of the top again after being dismantled by Mayweather a year before, and close down his illustrious career by becoming a welterweight and three division champ. And all this against an opponent who seemed to slow and lacked the big fight experience to give him any kind of serious trouble.

In the third round of their championship fight on Saturday night, Gatti landed the kind of thunderous left hook that has sent fighters home early for twenty years, and someone was smiling at him again. But this time it was Carlos Baldomir. The barrel chested, chiseled bearded champ not only proved he had enough hand speed to keep peppering Arturo Gatti all night long with right hands, enough craft to evade most of Gatti’s attempt at damage, he showed he’s is strong as a bull and has a chin like a bank vault..

After the before mentioned third round, Gatti’s mug started to show the usual assortment of blood and bruises we have grown accustomed to see on him throughout his incredible career and something we seldom have noticed on Gatti, an expression full of
worry. The worry turned out to be founded, as Baldomir constantly beat Gatti to the punch, got stronger as the fight went on, and every time Gatti landed anything telling on Baldomir, he immediately ate leather for his efforts.

In the ninth, Baldomir put him down with a thunderous left hook and finally put an end to the action seconds later with a barrage of punches before a stunned and sad pro Gatti crowd that rarely found a good enough reason to cheer after Gatti’s entrance to the arena.

For Baldomir, a career journeyman who, in a land ruled by “fútbol”, was not even his country’s favorite active fighter (at least until last night), taking a backseat in the popularity department to the more Gatti like Rodrigo “The Hyena” Barrios, things are finally, and deservedly, looking bright. After the fight he made the obligatory call out to Pretty Boy and Ricky Hatton. Hatton, who like Gatti is a smaller man that will stand in there, looks like the better match up for Carlos but, unless we have a unification tournament in the welterweights, a division primed for such an event, both bouts just seem unlikely. Carlos, much like Antonio Margarito just does not represent the paycheck these guys are looking for.

More likely, if he wants a big fight, he will have to fight Margarito, or hope that Miguel Cotto comes up looking for a belt at 147. For Gatti, well, thank you. Thank you for your bravery, your heart, your relentless desire and the thrills that you have given us over the years at the expense of your own blood and tears. Many times have many people written you off only to see you resuscitate your career again and again. You have nothing to prove to anybody in this life, so if it is time for you to move on to bigger and better things, we’ll be just as happy to see you sit next to Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant as we were seeing you pulling off victories from the cusp of defeat.

Article posted on 25.07.2006

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