Gatti Goes to Canastota

By Robert Ecksel on December 10, 2012
Gatti Goes to Canastota
Gatti was willing to take a punch, or five or six punches to land one of his own. (Ecksel)


Although some have questioned, and will continue to question, his entry into the International Boxing Hall of Fame based solely on his merits as a fighter, there was little doubt that the late Arturo Gatti, a sentimental favorite, would be a first-round inductee this summer in Canastota.

The IBHOF announced its Class of 2013 today. The inductees include, in addition to Gatti, former light heavyweight champion Virgil Hill (50-7), who made 20 title defenses from the years 1987-1997, and South Korean sensation Myung-Woo Yuh (38-1), a former junior flyweight champion with 18 title defenses to his credit.

In the Non-Participant Category, the inductees are former referee Mills Lane, ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr., journalist Colin Hart, and manager Arturo “Cuyo” Hernandez.

The inductees in the Old-Timer Category are lightweight Wesley Ramey (141-28-12) and middleweight Jeff Smith (88-12-3).

Cartoonist Ted Carroll is the inductee in the Observer Category.

The inductee in the Pioneer Category is Joe Coburn.

Gatti, whose suicide in 2009 at the age of 37 is still being called, politely but inaccurately, a “mysterious death,” was a fan favorite and TV perennial during the 1990s and 2000s. His kamikaze mindset, his kill-or-be-killed ethos, warmed the hearts of fight fans the world over.

Nicknamed the “human highlight real” for the thrills and chills he brought to the square circle, Gatti had what used to be called “bottom.” He was willing to take a punch, or five or six punches to land one of his own.

The former junior lightweight and junior welterweight titleholder, who retired in 2007 with a record of 40-9 (30 KOs), was best known for his all-action trilogy with Micky Ward. While he lacked the gifts of Jerry Quarry, for example, those in the know knew that Gatti was headed for a similar end, had death not headed him off at the pass.

“Arturo was a throwback-type fighter,” said Ward, “like LaMotta or Graziano. He could also switch it off. He could brawl if he had to, and he could box as well as anybody. He gave it all in the ring. He gave everything to the sport of boxing. He gave the fans what they wanted.”

The IBHOF is giving the fans what they wanted as well.

The 24th Annual Hall of Fame Weekend is scheduled for the weekend of June 6 in Canastota, New York. The Official Enshrinement Ceremony takes place on Sunday, June 9. For more information visit the International Boxing Hall of Fame website.

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Documentary: Arturo Gatti's death - Part 1 of 3 ("48 Hours - Arturo Gatti's Last Fight")



Documentary: Arturo Gatti's death - Part 2 of 3 ("48 Hours - Arturo Gatti's Last Fight")



Documentary: Arturo Gatti's death - Part 3 of 3 ("48 Hours - Arturo Gatti's Last Fight")



Virgil "quicksilver" Hill vs. James "the heat" Kinchen



Myung-Woo Yuh KO8 Rodolfo Blanco



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