Watch the Video of Arturo Gatti and Jesse James Leija Weighing In
Atlantic City, NJ – The weigh-in for the Arturo Gatti-Jesse James Leija WBC super lightweight title bout went off today without a hitch and without bravado or animosity between the fighters.
Each man scaled the super lightweight limit of 140 pounds at the sixth-floor meeting room at Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City. Leija stepped on the scale first and was followed by Gatti, who draw an enormous ovation when his weight was announced. They posed for pictures before heading to the WBC rules meeting. Leija, on several occasions, patted Gatti on the back. The champion, however, remained stoic and focused.
“We’re ready,” said Buddy McGirt, Gatti’s trainer. “We had a great training camp and he worked very hard for this fight.”
Trainer Ronnie Shields said Leija and the camp like being in the role of spoiler. “Every time I get a fighter into a title bout, my guy is the underdog,” said Shields. “I like it that way. Because it makes me work harder for him and I know he will work harder for me.”
Shields expects a great fight. “This kind of fight defines a career,” he said. “This is what it’s all about. He’s been there, done that, and Arturo’s been there done that. These guys are pros and they are coming to fight.”
For the co-feature, IBF junior middleweight champion Kassim Ouma made his opponent wait on the stage for several minutes before bursting into the room with his ample entourage. Ouma was bouncing on the stage and shadow boxing before the weigh-in. Ouma weighed in at 152, two pounds under the junior middleweight limit. Kofi Jantuah scaled 153.
Ouma was all smiles throughout the process and mugged with Jantuah when they posed for pictures. At one point, he rested his head on Jantuah’s shoulder.
In addition to the presence of McGrit and Shields, former heavweight champ Tim Witherspoon was on hand as part of Ouma’s camp and Hall-of-famer and three-division champ Mike McCallum was with team Jantuah.