16.07.07 – By Mike Indri: Retired Boxers Foundation – While Arturo Gatti’s decisive loss Saturday night essentially ended the career of a revered and beloved New Jersey boxing legend, Polish-born Pawel Wolak’s promising career continues to rise at a meteoric pace.
Fighting on the non-televised portion of the Main Events Promotions fight card, Wolak awakened the sparse “Pre-Gatti” crowd as his avid fans turned the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall into a small sea of red and white with their Polish flags that greeted Pawel “The Raging Bull” Wolak as he made his way into the boxing ring.
Facing a willing opponent in Edgar Reyes, a native of Orlando, Florida, Wolak swarmed Reyes at the fight’s opening bell and both fighters unleashed power shots. As Wolak became more aggressive and started landing the bigger punches, Reyes was pushed back onto the ropes and Wolak dug in, landing several hard shots to the body and head, which hurt Reyes.
As Reyes walked back to his corner at the end of the first round, it was obvious to all that Wolak was the stronger and better conditioned fighter, and Reyes, while game and a professional, was in trouble.
Wolak started off round two in similar fashion and quickly snapped back the head of his Puerto Rican opponent with a bunch of sharp punches.
Sensing desperation Reyes forged forward and went toe-to-toe with the heavy handed Wolak. The Mt. Arlington, NJ resident hurt Reyes with a lethal barrage of body shots and the damaged Reyes was forced to take a knee and drop to the canvas. Buying a few extra seconds of time by pushing out his mouthpiece was about the only answer Reyes had to stop “The Raging Bull”, who knew the end was near and pounced on his prey.
With his big legion of fans on their feet and cheering him on, Wolak fired away at the head of the hurt and dazed thirty-two year old fighter, who had lost his last three fights in a row, and five of his last seven, coming into this scheduled eight round jr. middleweight contest. Now overpowering Reyes, Wolak connected with a vicious combination which forced referee Lindsey Paige to jump in between the two battlers and wisely calling a halt to the one-sided brawl.
Wolak, who can now only dream of reaching the heights of success and adulation as his hero Arturo Gatti, adds another impressive knockout win to his still perfect record, which now stands at 16-0 (11 KO’s). Reyes, who must be commended for his heart and grit, drops to 10-8 (3 KO’s).
While Arturo Gatti was dominated, suffering a seventh round technical knockout loss at the hands of Alfonso Gomez; a fighter who is Mexican tough – but not as talented, he “went out on his shield” and had the badges of honor (a nasty cut lip and swollen face) to prove it.
Arturo Gatti finishes his glorified career (40-9, with 31 KO’s) fighting on HBO, with lots of money, great memories to be proud of, and maybe more important to him, the ultimate respect of knowing that everything he had to give in a fight was left inside the boxing ring, in Atlantic City, where he is loved by all.
Thanks Champ! For giving it all you had and fighting the only way you knew how – with your guts and your oversized heart.