The great Arturo Gatti was always an honest fighter, a warrior who genuinely wanted to see who was the tougher man: him or his opponent. Gatti went through hell in a number of simply epic fights and, win or lose, Gatti did it with honor.
There is, however, one sickening knockout Gatti scored in a fight that plenty of fans would possibly prefer to forget. It was on February 26 back in 2000 when Gatti met Joey Gamache in a 141 pound catch-weight bout that was televised by HBO.
33 year old Gamache, a former WBA super-featherweight champ and also a former WBA lightweight champion, was 55-3. Gatti, a former IBF super-featherweight ruler, was six years the younger man and he was 30-4.
A solid match-up on paper, Gatti Vs. Gamache turned out to be a slaughter. The two men weighed-in at the official weigh-in that took place a day before the fight. Both men appeared to make weight but then, on the night of the fight, Gatti had gained a stunning 19-pounds.
By stark contrast, Gamache entered the ring at 145 pounds. So, this fight really did in fact consist of a middleweight going up against a small welterweight. It showed.
Gatti, looking huge, dropped Gamache twice in the opening round. Gamache showed amazing heart as he tried his best to fight back, even having a touch of success. But every shot Gatti hit him with hurt him. Then, in round two, Gatti blasted Gamache into a frightening state of unconsciousness – the KO sickening and disturbing to witness.
Gamache was taken to the hospital, where he almost died on the night due to the head trauma he had suffered. To this day, Gamache is reported to suffer from headaches and bouts of depression.
Gamache’s case went to court and it was determined that there had been negligence at the official weigh-in. Gatti was reportedly off the scale before officials had had sufficient time to fully confirm he had in fact scaled 141 pounds; Gatti perhaps being a pound or two heavier. Gamache was pleased the New York State Athletic Commission’s negligence had been brought to light.
At the time of Gatti’s wicked knockout, there were calls for the return of same-day weigh-ins. Also, a limit on how much weight a fighter should be permitted to gain between the time of the same day weigh-in and the night of the fight was demanded.
There could not be a repeat of the almost fatal knockout that took place inside the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York on the evening of February 26, 2000.
Gamache’s career came to an end, while he almost lost his life. Seldom has a more disturbing knockout been seen in modern times. Had these two men, fine fighters both, been fighting one another in even terms from a weight standpoint, we may have seen a great fight. As it was, we witnessed one of the darker episodes from the sport of boxing in the 2000s.
Gamache went on to become a fine boxing trainer. Sadly as we all know, Gatti tragically died in Brazil in 2009, aged just 37.