Does Gatti deserve Baldomir?

31.01.06 – By Geoffrey Ciani: Arturo Gatti didn’t have much trouble disposing of formerly unbeaten Thomas Damgaard of Denmark on Saturday night. For Gatti, this was his first bout since he suffered a one-sided defeat at the hands of pound-for-pound king, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. It was an impressive win for Gatti, especially considering the shellacking he suffered against Mayweather just seven months earlier.

This was the first time that the Danish fighter had ever fought outside of his home country, and it mustn’t have been an easy transition for him to be fighting in Gatti’s home state of New Jersey. For Gatti, this was his first fight at welterweight in nearly five years, when he was knocked out by Oscar De La Hoya.

After a fairly competitive first four rounds, Gatti took control of the bout by utilizing his superior boxing skills against the undefeated Dane. Oftentimes, Gatti would baffle Damgaard with his ring generalship and fairly frequent switching of stances; Gatti controlled most of the bout with his jab, and got the better part of most of the exchanges. The bout was stopped in the 11th round after Gatti landed a beautiful right hand that wobbled the Danish fighter, prompting the ref to jump in; the stoppage was perfect, for Damgaard was getting beaten silly and had no chance of winning. Official time was 2:54 in the round.

So what’s next for Gatti? Well, if he has his way, he’ll be challenging the newly crowned WBC welterweight champion, Carlos Manuel Baldomir. Baldomir captured the WBC title earlier this month when he scored an upset victory over Brooklyn’s Zab Judah. However, this begs the question: does beating Damgaard warrant a title shot for Arturo Gatti? Frankly, I don’t think it does.

Forget the fact that this is the first time Gatti fought at welterweight in nearly five years. And forget the fact that Damgaard was exposed as more of a regional talent. The fact of the matter is, since their fight last June, both Gatti and Mayweather have made the move from 140 to 147. Given this, there’s no way anybody can logically justify giving Gatti a title shot before Mayweather.

Now, this is boxing, and of course, money talks. Arturo Gatti is a pretty big name in boxing, and he garners a lot of respect – and deservedly so, considering all of the wars he’s been in throughout his illustrious career. I understand that people who put fans in the seats get preferential treatment; especially when one has such a crowd-appealing style like Gatti. However, despite this, I just can’t for the life of me imagine Gatti getting a title shot. I mean, let’s say Gatti beats Baldomir, which is certainly well within the realm of reason – then what? Are the powers that be then going to inexplicably try and sell us Gatti-Mayweather II?

I don’t think anyone in his right mind would be interested in that fight. The first encounter was decisive, and there’s absolutely no need to go through that again. Simply put, Mayweather is a class above Gatti. But the sad thing is, I wouldn’t be shocked if things transpire in such a way that talk of a possible Gatti-Mayweather rematch came to fruition.

In any case, as impressive as Gatti looked, I don’t think he deserves a title shot at this time; however, I believe he’ll probably get one. And somehow, this just doesn’t seem right; regardless of how entertaining Gatti is in the ring.

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