Arturo Gatti - Good Manners and Bad Intentions
If this fight was a battle of words, we'd all fall asleep early.
Instead, Arturo "Thunder" Gatti saves his best work for the short time he spends between ringing bells, not the time he spends answering questions on conference calls.
He doesn't pretend to be a spokesman, a speaker or even a raving Bernard Hopkins. And that's a good thing, because he's none of the above. He's a fighter, not a guy working the lecture circuit. He doesn't do any name calling or yelling or screaming, and he doesn't make threats. He just talks fighting and answers everything the best he can.
Leonard Dorin (22-0-1, 8 KOs) is the same way, though he's got it a little tougher than Gatti. Dorin, from Romania and now fighting out of Montreal, is still wrestling with a tricky new language that's not his own. And though he's handling it pretty well, you can still tell he's not real comfortable yet describing his profession and how he does it.
But he's working on it.
Like Gatti (37-6, 28 KOs), Dorin is polite and respectful on the phone. And also like Gatti, you can tell he thinks these conference calls - like the one on Tuesday - are as much fun as catching a thumb in the eye.
But it's all part of the deal. It has to be done. Tickets have to be sold. The word has to get out. When they fight Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for the WBC junior-welterweight title, they want a packed house. So does the promoter.
They also want people across the country tuning into HBO to watch the fight, because HBO keeps track of that kind of thing. They're into ratings and big numbers and they're a little slow to bring back fighters who don't draw a big crowd.
But that's why they have Gatti. He might not go looking for a ring war every time he puts on the mitts, but he somehow manages to find one. It's why HBO keeps bringing him back. It's why he's on the phone again.
"I never look ahead past my next opponent," he said early in the conference call. "And I hate questions about who I'm going to be fighting next. But I still answer the question, because someone asks me about it."
So Arturo, would you like to fight Floyd Mayweather after Dorin?
Of course, someone had to ask the question. And of course, Gatti politely answered it.
"I definitely want to fight Mayweather," he said. "Let's test his chin a little, and his heart."
Against the much shorter Dorin, Gatti said he's just too quick and too powerful for the guy.
"Everybody compares (Dorin) to Micky Ward," said Gatti, who fought Ward in three epic battles, winning twice. "I'm fighting a totally different guy than Micky. And with my power, (Dorin) might think twice before trying to come in on me. I have power and speed.
"Everybody also thinks I'm going into a brawl. But it's very comfortable for me to fight from the outside."
Gatti, who fights out of New Jersey and calls it home, sounds like he knows he's going to win this fight. He's not looking past Dorin, but he's still sure the Romanian has about as much of a chance of winning this fight as the guy working security at the front door.
"I'm winning this fight because there are a lot of big things out there for me," he said. "I'm not going to get beat, especially fighting in the back of my house."
That's about all he needed to say.