It was May 18th, 2002, and I was 30-years-young when I went to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut to see a 37-11 fighter named 'Irish' Mickey Ward from Lowell, Mass fight a 34-5 fighter from Canada (by way of Italy and Jersey City) named Arturo Gatti.
Gatti was arguably the more decorated fighter having held the IBF junior lightweight belt from December 1995 through January '98 before losing 4 out of his next 9 fights including a fifth-round TKO loss to Oscar De La Hoya the year before.
Ward was coming off 2 interesting fights… His ten-round decision victory over Emanuel Burton in July of 2001 was voted The Ring Magazine's 2001 Fight of the Year. And then he lost a split technical decision to Jesse James Leija after only 5 rounds when Leija was cut from an accidental head butt.
(couldn't find any footage of the headbutt)
That win gave Leija a shot at WBC, WBA, and IBF world light-welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu… And that loss set Mickey up with a fight versus Arturo.
Thank fucking God that it did because these two motherfuckers proceeded to rattle off the greatest trilogy boxing has ever seen AND the greatest fight these old eyes have ever seen live.
For people unfamiliar or forgetful, I won’t tell you who won any of those three fights, but I urge you to watch all three… But you probably won’t.
So I urge you to just watch the first… But you probably won’t watch that either.
Therefore, I am BEGGING you to just watch the attached truncated cut of Round 9 of Gatti vs Ward Part I to watch the momentum change at the 2-minute mark and then again at the 1-minute mark… And to see what it means to dig deep and finish a round…
(WARNING-The recording quality isn't great, but stop bitching and just fucking watch it, you whiny cunt.)
And if what you just watched doesn’t appeal to you, then I give up on trying to get you to watch boxing… Enjoy whatever else it is that you do.
Oh… And I mentioned flippantly that Mickey’s fight with Burton won 2001’s Fight of The Year. Whereas Gatti 1 & 3 won him the same honor in 2002 and 2003 making Mickey Ward the only boxer to be involved with the FOY 3 years in a row outside of some guy named Rocky Marciano and Carmen Basilio, who each did so in the 1950s.
So that was Gatti vs Ward.
FAST FORWARD 20 YEARS
And since my next DAZN gig is over 2 months away, I am about to switch gears slightly and board a plane to not only host the weigh-in but also judge the RING GIRL CONTEST for Rough N' Rowdy 17 in scenic Wheeling, West Virginia…
Dave, Dan, and Robbie will once again be on the call, and it is probably not going to be the place where we'll witness the next Gatti/Ward-type fight…
But it will undoubtedly contain more midgets, ex-strippers, and obese bumpkins than anything professional boxing has ever provided.
And you can order it at buyRnR.com
Tune in on Thursday for the weigh-ins, enjoy the fights on Friday night, and take a report.