Together, Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward shared 30 rounds of ring battle. At the end of the savage rivalry (savage in the ring, the two men became great friends, each full of admiration for the other out of it), Gatti won, 2 fights to 1.
Neither guy got knocked out or stopped, this despite the full-bloodied attempts from both sides to register a KO. These two incredible fighters gave us one of the most celebrated and lauded over trilogies in all of boxing.
And, rightly so, Gatti Vs. Ward has had ton upon ton of ink devoted to it for its reaffirming quality, for its man against man rawness.
Simply put, those three fights made new believers of jaded fight fans, while at the same time it was successful in bringing in millions of new admirers.
For this, we will always thank Arturo and Micky. But there is something no-one has been moved to ask, perhaps has never been dumb enough to have asked – who was the tougher fighter of the two?
As we know, Gatti won the series and he was also a world champion twice. Ward won fight-one and he was every inch the equal of Gatti in all three wars, yet Micky was never able to win a world title (not a universally recognized one, anyway). Gatti was stopped some five times, Ward just once.
But Gatti fought the overall better quality of opposition. Then again, there is the feeling that if Ward had gone in there with Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, and Angel Manfredy, he would have seen it to the final bell (I’m ignoring the last two stoppage losses of Gatti’s career, faded as he was when he fought Carlos Baldomir and Alfonso Gomez).
So who picks up the ‘Overall tougher Man’ trophy, Gatti or Ward? It’s steel Vs. steel. It’s Iron Vs. Iron. It’s Heart Vs. Heart. It’s one helluva tough (or dumb) question.
Ward finished at 38-13(27). Gatti at 40-9(31).
Ward defeated – Arturo Gatti, Alfonso Sanchez, Shea Neary and Emanuel Augustus. Gatti beat – Micky Ward, Tracy Harris Patterson, Wilson Rodriguez, Calvin Grove, Gabriel Ruelas, and Jessie James Leija.
Ward lost to but was never stopped by – Arturo Gatti, Harold Brazier, Charles “The Natural” Murray, Zan Judah, Antonio Diaz, and Jessie James Leija.
Gatti was stopped by – De La Hoya, Mayweather, and Manfredy. While Gatti also lost to Ivan Robinson (twice.)
Of the two men, Gatti tasted the canvas far more than Ward did.
In their primes, these two men were about as evenly matched as any two fighters could be evenly matched. Gatti never had the poker face Ward had, Ward never had the boxing ability Gatti had. The two greats each enjoyed a stellar corner. Both warriors will forever be idolized and appreciated by fight fans.
There is almost no splitting these two gladiators. Indeed, think about this – would Ward have survived the way Gatti did after being dropped by that crippling body shot in that once in a lifetime ninth round?
Would Gatti have been able to carry on after absorbing that eardrum blasting knockdown punch Ward was cracked with in the third round of their second fight?
Yet to answer the question – Ward was the tougher man. Just about. Stopped just once, on cuts, Ward was arguably the single most durable, unstoppable lower weight force of the 1990s/early 2000s.