31.01.06 – By Michael Montero: After handing Denmark’s Thomas Damgaard his first loss Saturday night in Atlantic City, suddenly things are looking up once again for Arturo “Thunder” Gatti. The first thing he did after winning a tough fight via 11th round TKO was call out the current linear champ at 147, Argentina’s Carlos Baldomir, and talk about a possible July showdown. While many hard-core Gatti fans are excited, many more boxing fans are pondering whether he even deserves a title shot at welterweight.. More specifically, many of you are asking “what about Floyd Mayweather? You know – the guy that destroyed Gatti last year! Where’s his shot?”
Who’s more deserving – Mayweather or Gatti?
While Mayweather fans and Gatti detractors alike do have a very viable argument, I feel that “Thunder” deserves a title shot at 147 right now as much as anybody, including the Pretty Boy. Since their fight back in June, both guys made the move to 147 and have each fought once. Mayweather fought Sharmba Mitchell – a guy who started his career as a lightweight, and at 35 years of age with 4 losses, was well past his prime. Gatti fought Thomas Damgaard – an undefeated fighter in his physical prime, and a natural career welterweight, for the vacant IBA belt (sure, it’s not recognized as a world title, but it’s something to bring to the table). What’s my point you ask? While both guys have fought once at 147, Mayweather’s fight had absolutely no meaning, while Gatti’s did. Remember, I am talking about 147 pounds here, and what each fighter has done in this division – we’re not talking about 140 and what happened there.
Styles make fights…
Does anybody really want to see Baldomir-Mayweather? In my opinion it would be even more lopsided than Gatti-Mayweather because although Baldomir has a sturdy chin, he does not carry the big punch threat that “Thunder” does – so basically you could throw away the whole “puncher’s chance” theory. That being said, I think Baldomir-Gatti is a fantastic match-up, it makes perfect sense. Now don’t get me wrong, neither of these two are pound for pound players (especially Baldomir), but they match up very well as they are both tough as nails, throw-back fighters with iron chins. They are true warriors, and would undoubtedly give fight fans an action packed event sure to entertain! Not to mention, in a time when boxing is short of “good guys”, these are two professionals who get 100% out of their bodies, they embody the very definition of the term “over-achiever”. Not great, but good, and willing to fight.
It’s the champ’s call…
Whether you want to believe it or not, when Carlos Baldomir beat Zab Judah earlier this month, he became the linear welterweight champion of the world. That means, less any possible madatory, that he gets to fight whomever he wants. His camp knows that a fight with Mayweather will draw attention, but at the same time it won’t put butts in the seats, and “Pretty Boy” will demand an overwhelming majority of the purse. Notice I did not say negotiate, I said demand – because that’s just what Mayweather will do. With Gatti in Atlantic City the fight is an instant sell out, it’s big-time exposure (Gatti automatically brings big ratings on HBO), and he could negotiate his fair share of the purse – not to mention it’s a winnable fight. Think about it people – which direction would you go if you were in the Argentine’s shoes?
Now if you want to talk about undeserving, let’s talk about Mayweather-Judah! Yes fight fans, after losing to a guy with 9 losses, after almost being KO’d by a guy with only 12 KO’s in 57 total fights, Zab “Pooper” Judah still gets his big Pay-Per-View showdown with Floyd Mayweather this April. They want to charge us $50 for this garbage – while Baldomir-Gatti will be free on HBO (not to mention a better fight). And while the “Pretty Boy” likes to talk more than fight, and constantly proclaim himself to be the pound for pound king of the boxing world, Arturo Gatti gets in the ring and gives a small piece of himself for us, the fans. And while he’s never once claimed to be the best, he’s never been afraid to fight the best. If Mayweather had that kind of mentality, he’d be the biggest thing in boxing today, hands down.
You tell me Arturo Gatti doesn’t deserve a title shot against Carlos Baldomir; and I’ll tell you that you’ve probably never put on a pair of gloves and stepped in the ring. I can’t wait to see Baldomir-Gatti in person this July. Who’s with me? Buona Fortuna Arturo!.
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