The mystery of Arturo Gatti’s death was examined by the TV show “48 Hours Mystery” on Saturday night.
The show took a hard look at Gatti’s wife, Amanda, who was arrested in July 2009 after the ex world champ was found dead in a rented condo in Brazil. She was released soon after being taken in to custody, and authorities in Brazil ruled that the former boxer had committed suicide.
“He was my soulmate,” she said, contradicting the lingering suspicion that Amanda at the very least knew more than she let on about Arturo’s end. She admitted that their relationship was tense at times, but told watchers that they had a whirlwind romance which resulted in a union, and were solid at the time of the death.
Viewers saw Micky Ward, Gatti’s rival for the ages, talk fondly about the late slugger. Ward recounted how he and Gatti were placed in beds next to each other in the hospital after their third and final battle. Ward said life was going well for Gatti around the time he supposedly killed himself.
But friend Tom Casino said that Gatti partied too hearty after he retired following his July 14, 2007 loss to Alfonso Gomez. The show cited public records of three DWIs, fights with cops and a streetfight which left a man brain damaged. Six months into their marriage, the show said, in early 2008, Gatti was hit with a domestic violence charge. The event occurred in Hawaii. Amanda admitted that she’d throw things when they fought, but said she didn’t hit him.
By spring 2009, Gatti was living apart from Amanda, and a court order forbade Gatti from her presence. The two would send vicious text messages to each other, but they’d forgive each other, and bounce back into each others’ arms. In May 2009, Amanda said, Arturo surprised him with a second honeymoon, to Europe. That was her story, while his friends say he wanted to patch things up because he was afraid to lose his son Arturo Jr.
Gatti pal Tony Rizzo made Amanda look bad when he disputed her claim that her and Gatti met walking their dogs. He said they met when she was stripping, and she vigorously denies this claim, stating that people make this assertion to muddy her reputation.
A month before he died, he made a new will, leaving almost everything to his wife and son. Amanda said she didn’t push for him to do this. She said their relationship in late June 2009 was “beautiful” and “perfect.” Pal Rizzo played a phone message in which he maintains Gatti calls the union a “nightmare.”
Gisela Minero, identified as a pal of Gatti’s, told the show that she heard Amanda say, “I’m going to show him..I’m going to kill him.” Amanda denied she said this. Casino is seen saying he believes she was a loving wife who tried to help him.
Amanda then described his last hours. They went to a restaurant, he became drunk, and she says that he threw her to the ground. He then took Arturo Jr, aged 10 months, away in a stroller. A crowd gathered around him, and some threw things at him. At around 2 AM, she said, she saw a cut on the back of his head, which he said came when those onlookers attacked him, ostensibly for what he’d done to his wife.
She took their son to bed, and then she says Arturo, looking sad, said, “So I guess it’s over, huh?”
“It’s over,” she replied, on July 11, 2009.
She woke up to get their baby a bottle, and she says she saw Arturo on the floor, downstairs. He often passed out on the floor, she said, so she wasn’t alarmed. Two hours later, she came back downstairs. She went to his body, touched him, and he was cold. She shook his body, opened the front door, and screamed, “My husband’s dead.”
A broken strap, from her purse, was on the floor near his body, she said, and she knew then the 37 year-old Gatti had killed himself. Cops, though, saw a knife on the floor, which made them curious, and also wondered why he had a huge gash on the back of his head. They also looked at security cam footage, and saw no one else enter the apartment. The police took her into custody, but let her out after three weeks, saying that Gatti had hung himself.
The courts are now deciding on the will, which Gatti’s family is contesting. His estate is worth over $6 million.
Paul Ciolino and Joe Moura, PIs hired by ex Gatti manager Pat Lynch to prove that Gatti was murdered, headed to the condos where Gatti died. Ciolino disputed the idea that Gatti tied a cloth purse strap to a staircase beam, pulled up a chair, and hung himself. He said he was hit in the head, and strangled, murdered.
Ciolino said where his body was found indicates that it is unlikely Gatti’s body dropped from the staircase. The PIs indicated that they believe the widow had a hand in the murder. They wonder if there was an accomplice to help in what they believe is murder, though they acknowledge that is merely theory, gut instinct.
They sent their findings, with multiple reports from various experts, to the Brazilian authorities.
Mario Costa, ID’d as a Gatti pal, backs the suicide theory. “He wanted to kill himself, he wanted to die,” Costa said. The fighter got addicted to painkillers, and was hospitalized for an OD in 2005, the show reported. Medical records show doctors suggested a psych evaluation and his ex girlfriend, the show says, deemed the OD a suicide attempt.
Costa said Gatti once showed up at Costa’s bar, and asked for a gun, to use to kill himself. Costa hadn’t seen Gatti in three years before his death but says he thinks the fighter killed himself.
Arturo’s brother Joe Gatti, also an ex fighter, is shown saying Arturo was on drugs and “was an alcoholic.” The older Gatti said he thinks Arturo took his own life. “On that night in Brazil he found himself in a dark place,” he said. Joe told the show that he thought Amanda might be suspect, but she won his trust.
Amanda says she wants to clear her name. The Canadian court is deciding on who will receive the fortune, and authorities in Brazil said they will take a look at the PI team’s findings.