Today would be 48-year-old Arturo Gatti

Arturo Gatti (Photo: PuzzlePix Photo Agency)

Arturo Gatti was born on April 15, 1972 in Cassino, Italy. The family moved to Canada not long after, but he was already in the U.S. as a teenager. He became a professional boxer in 1991 and four years later, in December 1995, he won his first world title. By defeating Tracy Harris Patterson, he became the IBF super featherweight world champion. He defended this title quite a few times and then changed weight classes in 1998.

He had to wait until his next world title fight until 2004, when he won the WBC super lightweight world title in January of that year. However, even between 1998 and 2004, he had more fights that could rightly be included in the great history of boxing without a world title. For example, the two fights against Ivan Robinson in 1998 that he lost. Either a fight against Oscar De La Hoya or the trilogy against Micky Ward between 2002 and 2003.

After the third fight against Ward came the aforementioned WBC super lightweight title, which he won against Gianluca Branco and was able to defend twice, until he met Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2005, who boxed out Gatti.  His coach Buddy McGirt gave up the fight after the sixth run as Gatti didn’t have much of a chance against Mayweather and even barely saw anything so his eyes swelled. But he did not give up this fight on his own, just as he did not oppose De La Hoya back in 2001.

Then, in 2006, he had a world title title fight at a large organization, already in relegation against Carlos Baldomir, where he was defeated by TKO. Then a year later he entered the ring for the last time, but he could not win here either and in 2007, at the age of 35, he retired with a 40-9 (31 KO) record.

Gatti was a true icon of boxing in the second half of the 1990s and early 2000s. He also won a world title in two weight classes and also chose four fights from The Ring Magazine as the match of the year. Because of his striking power and spectacular style, he was a real audience favorite, fighting with heart and soul. He was a real warrior.

After his death in 2012, he was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.

The circumstances of his death are still disputed. On July 11, 2009, he was found dead in a hotel room in Brazil. According to the first version, there was a murder, the Brazilian authorities suspected his young wife, detained her and released her not long after. Eventually, suicide officially became the cause of death, which Gatti’s family and friends could not accept. They said Gatti would never have committed suicide and had no good relationship with his wife, they quarreled a lot. Gatti was only 37 years old at the time of his death.