After a highly entertaining triple header of boxing on HBO last weekend, the network comes back seven days later with two fights that, on paper at least, could be candidates for ‘Fight of the Year.’ Whether or not this materializes in the main event likely depends on the betting favorite, Arturo Gatti, who takes on undefeated Leo Dorin. “To box or not to box?” That is the question.
The headliner features a Canadian-born buzz saw, high volume puncher who comes at his opponents with reckless abandon. If you think I’m referring to Arturo Gatti you are wrong. That is the way Gatti ‘used to’ fight and ‘is’ the way Leonard Dorin boxes. Unfortunately for boxing fans, James “no Buddy of mine” McGirt got a hold of Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti and now instead of ‘Thunder’ we get a rain of jabs.
Formerly known as boxing’s version of ‘the human highlight reel’ who used to guarantee excitement, Gatti is now a student of the “sweet science” and McGirt heads the class. While the Montreal-born fighter used to give an arm rather than lose a fight, that same arm is used for jabs while his legs ride a bike around the ring. Even his trainer McGirt has stated, “Arturo’s going to be on his bicycle July 24th.” How exciting is that?
Well, it actually may be exciting, but that has everything to do with Leo Dorin. While Dorin, who resides in Montreal, doesn’t have the pop that Gatti was born with, he does throw punches in bunches and has a nasty habit of getting inside an opponent’s reach without getting hit.
The fight sets up with Dorin in constant pursuit of Gatti and Arturo jabbing and moving to register points. What makes this interesting is that this scenario is sure to put Gatti behind on the cards, facing a boxer who fights like he used to. Dorin surely will score points due to his high volume of punches and have the scoring edge based on effective aggressiveness. So where does Gatti hold the edge? Power . . . but will McGirt let him use it?
If McGirt let’s Gatti loose, we could have one of the best fights of the year – in the same mould as the Gatti-Ward thrillers. But that too brings up a point to consider – how much does Gatti have left? Is there another war left in the tank? If not, Gatti may lose a decision. Then again, even if he does have it in him to brawl, what of the troublesome right hand? It seems like Arturo has hurt his hand in nearly all his fights during the past two years and, as a result, his past four fights have lasted the distance.
Also note that Gatti should be the much bigger man in the ring on Saturday. He has already claimed that he will enter the ring around 155 pounds if all goes according to plan. Dorin has had one fight at 140 after struggling to make the 135-pound limit and likely won’t come in more than 145 . . . a 10-pound difference.
Contrary to popular belief, Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti as we knew him is no more. The new-and-disapproved Gatti is a boxer first and it is Dorin who will be bringing the fight to Gatti. Dorin was a two-time Olympic medallist who, according to CompuBox, landed 476 blows against Raul Balbi in their 2002 title clash. That count is the 5th most connects in a championship fight since the records were kept. Against Paul Spadafora, Dorin traveled to The Pittsburgh Kid’s backyard and out-landed the slick southpaw 344-259. What is worth noting is that the previous high connect against Spaddy was 184 punches by Angel Manfredy. Despite the disparity, Dorin only managed a Draw due to some home cooking in Steeltown.
So with Dorin bringing the pressure all night long, will Gatti remain calm and cool in the eye of the storm, or will the ‘Thunder’ roll? That is the question, and the answer may be worthy of Fight-of-the-Year honors.