Dorin Determined To Show Gatti He's No Boy Scout

BY Rick Folstad ON July 21, 2004
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Camp counselor, Boy Scout leader, circus clown.

When he's done with all this fight silliness, Leonard Dorin should consider working for a hospital that cures rare diseases, or maybe teach at a public school that helps underprivileged kids.

He should think about becoming involved in the Humane Society or maybe do volunteer work for a place that feeds the homeless.

Because if there's a spark of bad attitude in this guy, he's keeping it well hidden.

Of course, maybe the ugliness is there and we just haven't seen it yet. Maybe Dorin is just saving up all his meanness for Saturday night in Atlantic City when he fights Arturo Gatti on HBO for the WBC junior-welterweight title.

Maybe Leonard Dorin is really the orneriest sonofabitch to ever walk the tough streets of Romania, a sawed-off version of the old Mike Tyson, the one who liked to scare women and children and bite off chunks of human flesh.

How do we know that on fight night, Leonard Dorin makes Attila the Hun look like Little Red Riding Hood?

It's hard to tell which kind of guy he is, but he's probably somewhere in the middle, a tough fighter with a big heart and a non-stop style that makes his opponents gasp for breath. Push the other guy long enough - keep the pressure on him for three minutes of every round - and most of the time he's going to start glancing over at the time keeper, praying he'll ring the bell.

That's what Dorin brings to his fight with Gatti. He's a busy fighter, one who likes to get up close in your face and spend the night. And he's never been knocked off his feet in 23 pro fights.

So how come he's so nice on the phone?

"I'm proud to be challenging for the title,"he said Tuesday on a conference call."I like to have a great night for everybody."

That's fine, Leo, but what about Gatti? What do you know about him? He hasn't got a prayer, right?

"Arturo is a great champion and I want to be at the same level. I will be ready for anything."

Great, great, Leo, but how are you going to fight this guy?

"If he wants to box, I'm ready to box. If he wants to fight, I'm ready to fight. I like to throw punches, but if I have to box, I'll box. I like to do what the people want to see."

Most of the people at Boardwalk Hall want to see Gatti do everything but turn Dorin loose. It's a territorial thing. Gatti lives in New Jersey.

The thing about Dorin is, he's never hard to find, but he's not going to leave you seeing stars, either. He isn't one of those dangerous punchers who can put a dent in a tank with a left hook. He doesn't knock guys out as much as he wears them down, takes their heart away. It's tough to throw a punch when you don't have time to breathe.

And that's what could make this fight a great one. While Dorin might be a punching machine, Gatti has been known to mix it up some himself. You don't keep winning fight-of-the-year honors by slipping jabs and dancing away.

As for the hometown advantage for Gatti, Dorin doesn't see it.

"I'm not afraid to fight anywhere in the world,"he said."When you get in the ring, it's just between me and the other guy."

Unless, of course, the referee is from Michigan.

"It's not only the money,"Dorin said near the end of the call, talking about his life as a fighter."I like to fight. I like to perform. This is in my blood."

Which might flow freely on Saturday night.

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