Weather reports indicate some dramatic meteorological action Saturday night in Atlantic City. The prediction is for “Thunder and Lightning,” which is shorthand for Floyd Mayweather Jr. challenges Arturo Gatti for the super lightweight crown at Boardwalk Hall. Is this Mayweather’s long-awaited entrée as a marquee fighter? Or does Gatti pull a rabbit out of his hat a final time and put some hurt on Pretty Boy Floyd? This is how The Sweet Science writers see it.
On paper, this fight is a mismatch. Gatti hasn't fought a quality opponent in his prime since De La Hoya in 2001, and I think Mayweather is the most talented fighter in the sport. Mayweather sounds so confident going into this fight, he reminds me a little of Zab Judah before he fought Kostya Tszyu. You wonder if he's underestimating Gatti, but Mayweather is a boxer, not a puncher, and he knows he has to outmaneuver him to win. People make a big deal about Gatti's improved footwork and better discipline since Buddy took over his training, but what is he going to do, outbox Mayweather? Yes, Mayweather was buzzed pretty good by Chop Chop two fights ago, but I don't think Gatti gets close to him in this fight. Gatti has looked great since Oscar destroyed him, but I chalk that up to smart matchmaking by Main Events more than anything. Mayweather should dominate the fight, and I think something bizarre is going to happen, with McGirt stopping the fight some time late because Gatti is taking such a beating.
Arturo Gatti is my favorite boxer active today. Why? Because he a true warrior. He's a throw back to the days when you boxed to survive. His style would have made him popular and competitive in any era. That is why I was sad when I heard that Arturo signed to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. As tough and talented as Arturo is, I just cannot see him winning the fight. Floyd is the most naturally gifted boxer I've seen since a youthful Roy Jones Jr. Anything Arturo can do, Floyd probably can do as well if not better. I see a pretty one-sided bout with Floyd finally winning by late round KO. I hope that I am wrong.
My God, I've been flogged almost mercilessly in my predictions for the last month. But — Hallelujah! — I've been given a gift from above: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Arturo Gatti. Gatti gave us all a show when it came to his trilogy with Micky Ward. But he really hasn't proven himself beyond that. Mayweather Jr. is getting a gift in the form of a UD victory. I might relish this victory more than “Pretty Boy” Floyd.
Jesse K. Cox
Yet another pick where I'm going with my heart instead of my head. I've only picked against Floyd once in his entire career – the Corrales fight. I couldn't have been more wrong in that one, and am bracing for a similar letdown here. So, with no logic to support my pick, I'm just gunning for an upset based on a gut feeling. Arturo will be way behind on two cards, yet surprisingly close on a third, when he rallies late in the eleventh to batter him along the ropes. Floyd will not drop, but his head will snap back juuuuuuust enough for the referee to stop the contest – and set off a frenzy from the Mayweather camp. Floyd will immediately recover, and protest to no end that he was the victim of a premature stoppage. He'll be right – but will also be without his undefeated record at the end of the day. Gatti TKO11.
Heart and toughness are wonderful things for a fighter to have, but they still take a back seat to overall talent. Unless Gatti lands a good shot early, he has a long night against the superior skills of Mayweather. I'm pulling hard for Gatti, but my head tells me to pick Mayweather. If he comes into this fight focused and takes Gatti seriously, he wins by TKO (cuts) in the tenth round.
Though it’s hard not be impressed by the way Arturo Gatti has turned his career around, good matchmaking has figured strongly in his recent winning streak. In Mayweather, he faces an opponent who is surely the most naturally gifted fighter in the game today. I don’t know why Gatti and trainer Buddy McGirt seemed so eager to make this fight, but clearly they must know something I don’t. As much as I want to pick the man from Montreal, I can’t ignore the obvious: Floyd Mayweather has to make a tactical mistake to lose this fight. I don’t think he will. Mayweather boxes his way to a Unanimous Decision victory.
As much as I want Arturo Gatti to win this fight, Mayweather's hand speed will rule the day. If Gatti somehow can keep his eyes from swelling shut and can avoid knockdowns and one of Mayweather's hands get broken, he might have a shot. Mayweather TKO-7.
The specter of two more high-quality fighters in the talent-rich junior welterweight division meeting should make every boxing fan’s must-see list. Although Mayweather is as thoroughly inept at public relations as any celebrity I've seen, he may be the top P4P fighter in the world today. He's that good. He knows and exhibits every trick in the old-school book. He can punch when necessary and box better than anyone in the game – time after time. He has also proven that he can shut out the antics of his private life and execute flawlessly. Arturo Gatti is an old battler of the sport having engaged in epic contests against a wide variety of the class of today’s boxing scene. His flaw is well-known (i.e. propensity for engaging in wars). One glitch that may work against Mayweather is that in the 140-pound class he may – may – be at the outer edge of his power. Another is his growing belief that he is invincible. Gatti is willing to take a world-class beating and continue to forge ahead. He has also demonstrated rediscovered skills under the tutelage of boxing sage Buddy McGirt. Although Mayweather will be favored for all the reasons above, I see an upset. Gatti will push Mayweather to the edge – and edge him out. He is not the better fighter, but occasionally a gifted prodigy, such as Mayweather, allows himself to become the victim of his own press. Gatti by decision.
I overheard somebody at a women's fight in Las Vegas back in January say
Mayweather would win this fight on cuts. I didn't disagree to his face but will now. Gatti may not have all the “pretty boy” fighter ways but what he does have is something Floyd's never come up against: a blood-and-guts, never-say-quit or -die mentality. Gatti is a hard-charging warrior facing a slick and quick fighter who's already let his mouth go as much as he brags he’ll let his hands go. Saturday night he needs to shut up, put 'em up and keep 'em up if he wants to win. I say Gatti after a long tough battle.
I said I wouldn't let my heart get into it, but in boxing heart, character and intestinal fortitude are intrinsic with being a champion. Both these talented fighters are champions. They say “on paper” that Gatti, a 4-1 underdog, has no chance. Mayweather is the most purely talented fighter today, but I just don't know what will happen if he finally gets hurt. How will he respond? You can look awesome in beating everyone up. Let's see what happens when the rabbit gets the gun. IF Gatti can hurt Mayweather, he wins. Arturo Gatti beats Floyd Mayweather via 9-10th round TKO.
I think Gatti will have a nice edge in weight, as he always does, and his heavy shots will keep Mayweather respectful enough to box his way for twelve rounds. “They” say that Gatti has become a better boxer of late and not just a puncher. “I” say that he has fought nothing other than guys who have been right there in front of him to be hit. Look at his recent run – James Leija, Leonard Dorin, Gianluca Branco, Micky Ward (twice) – no boxers in that bunch and Branco came at Gatti all night, forcing Arturo to box and move. It isn't a stretch to say that Gatti has never fought anyone like Mayweather, and the speed will be too much. Speed means power and Mayweather is as fast as they come. Could be a great fight with Gatti pressing and getting cut but going on, or it could be a blowout. Either way it's Mayweather winning.
No surprises here: Mayweather cruises to a clear-cut unanimous decision. Would love to be wrong.
On paper this should be a rout for Mayweather – an easy TKO 9 due to cuts. But I've got a weird feeling about this one. I'm not brave enough to call for an upset, but something tells me to expect the unexpected. How's that for a definitive prediction?
On paper Mayweather should win handily. But I can't forget how much Gatti wanted this fight, and did everything in his power to make it happen. With Tarver-Johnson, I picked with my heart instead of my head and lost. Down deep, however, I believed Tarver would win but couldn't go against Johnson. But in this fight, something tells me that Gatti will shock everyone but him and trainer Buddy McGirt by stopping Mayweather. Gatti TKO 8.
I wish there was someway I could whisper: Mayweather … by … decision. Which does not mean I can't root for the other guy to kick his ass.
Floyd Mayweather will stop Arturo Gatti on cuts or the ref will step in to save Thunder.
Mayweather has the speed and tools to do what DLH and Manfredy did. Strength won’t enter into it. Arturo has the power to knock Mayweather’s block off, but Floyd will get there first and more often. His shots are shorter, straighter and quicker…and he pulls the trigger faster. With Arturo’s paper-thin skin and scar tissue, he should look like Vito Antuofermo very quickly. (It’s not about heart; it’s the wrapping God gives you.) Arturo should slog on through a curtain of red until Floyd makes the ref jump in to save him from the kind of volley that Griffth put on Paret — charitably, around seven — much shorter, if he didn’t have so much heart. Castillo gave Mayweather a stern test because he scratched to be inside — never stopped cranking. When the ref broke them, he never stepped back. Gatti’s a different animal; he’s a highlight-reel puncher — needs room to load up and throw. (But, those movie punches are thrilling.) Mayweather may have a career without answering the question: Does he have heart? It won’t be asked Saturday.
While Gatti has become a boxer-puncher under trainer Buddy McGirt, Mayweather's boxing ability is greater and he can punch, too. I am picking Mayweather, but one thing that worries me is that Gatti will have a significant weight advantage by the time the fight starts if his past history is any indication. Mayweather cannot let it become a brawl.
Arturo Gatti has the proverbial puncher's chance in this fight. Despite effectively mixing boxing and punching over the past few years under the tutelage of Buddy McGirt, Gatti won't be able to outslick the slickest of the slick in Mayweather. Gatti will need to mix his attack to the body and head with vicious intentions early to establish control in the fight. He has to force Mayweather to exchange with him to be successful. Unless his ego gets in the way, I think Mayweather will play it safe and use enough hand and foot speed to keep Gatti at bay. Conventional wisdom should prevail in this one. I see Mayweather taking Gatti out late or winning a wide decision.
I have always thought “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather was hard to stomach, and the weeks preceding this fight have not changed my mind. However, he may very well be the best fighter of his generation. When the final bell sounds, Floyd will not think Arturo Gatti is a C+ fighter anymore, but he will have won. Mayweather by unanimous decision.