Get Ready For Debut of HBO's Gatti-Ward "Legendary Night"

BY The Sweet Science ON October 16, 2013
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LEGENDARY NIGHTS: THE TALE OF GATTI-WARD, AN ALL-NEW INSTALLMENT OF EMMY®-WINNING BOXING DOCUMENTARY SERIES, DEBUTS SATURDAY ON HBO

HBO Sports, winner of nine George Foster Peabody Awards and 33 Sports Emmys® for documentaries, presents a new installment of the acclaimed LEGENDARY NIGHTS boxing documentary series this month when THE TALE OF GATTI-WARD looks back at one of boxing’s greatest rivalries, spotlighting the three-fight slugfest between Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward. Blending archival footage and new material shot this summer, the exclusive HBO presentation debuts SATURDAY, OCT. 19 (12 midnigh ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, immediately following “World Championship Boxing: Mike Alvarado vs. Ruslan Provodnikov,” which begins at 9:45 p.m.

Other HBO playdates: Oct. 21 (9:15 a.m.), 24 (5:10 p.m., 12:05 a.m.), 26 (11:00 a.m., 4:45 a.m.) and 30 (1:00 p.m., 1:00 a.m.), and Nov. 3 (7:55 a.m.), 7 (9:00 p.m.) and 15 (7:30 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Oct. 23 (6:00 a.m., 10:00 p.m.) and 29 (11:30 p.m., 4:50 a.m.), and Nov. 2 (2:45 p.m.), 10 (8:45 a.m.) and 12 (4:30 p.m.)

The special will also be available on HBO On Demand and HBO GO.

“2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the third fight of the landmark Gatti vs. Ward trilogy, so now is the ideal moment to revisit this classic rivalry,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports. “This retrospective will offer new perspectives and deliver revealing insights on the two ring warriors who produced this all-time great moment in boxing history. Combined with the ‘World Championship Boxing’ presentation from Denver, this ensures a memorable night of boxing programming on HBO.”

LEGENDARY NIGHTS: THE TALE OF GATTI-WARD revisits the unforgettable three-fight trilogy authored by junior welterweights Arturo Gatti of Jersey City, NJ and Micky Ward of Lowell, Mass. Over the course of 13 months, these two throwback sluggers engaged in 30 electrifying rounds of action, with Gatti winning both Atlantic City bouts (Nov. 23, 2002 and June 7, 2003), following Ward’s dramatic triumph in the opener (May 18, 2002) in Uncasville, Conn. The film also documents Ward’s journey this past June to Canastota, NY for Gatti’s posthumous induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

The first 2002 battle was named Fight of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and the three fights have been widely celebrated as one of boxing’s greatest rivalries.

THE TALE OF GATTI-WARD features HBO Sports’ acclaimed blend of new interviews and thrilling fight action, highlighted by previously unseen archival footage and new material shot in summer 2013. All three fights aired live on HBO, featuring the ringside commentary of Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant and the late Emanuel Steward on the first and third fights. Lampley, Merchant and George Foreman called the second bout.

In a remarkable twist, Ward wound up being Gatti’s trainer for his final pro fight, against Alfonso Gomez in July 2007. Gatti fought 21 times on HBO in his pro career, while Ward appeared six times on HBO.

Interview subjects include: HBO Boxing host Jim Lampley; boxing commentator Larry Merchant; referee Frank Cappuccino; promoters Lou DiBella and Kathy Duva; Micky Ward and his wife, Charlene; former fighter Dicky Eklund; Gatti manager Pat Lynch; trainer Buddy McGirt; and writer Ron Borges.

Celebrating the most memorable fights in the network’s 40 years of presenting the sweet science, LEGENDARY NIGHTS captured the Sports Emmy® Award for Outstanding Edited Sports Series when it debuted in 2003.

LEGENDARY NIGHTS: THE TALE OF GATTI-WARD is executive produced by Rick Bernstein; directed by Bentley Weiner and Gabriel Spitzer; senior producer, Dave Harmon; creative director, Bill McCullough; editor, Fernando Villegas; writer, Aaron Cohen; director of photography, Thom Stukas; original score composed by Jose Cancela & Amy Beauchamp; narrator, Mark Wahlberg.

Highlights of LEGENDARY NIGHTS: THE TALE OF GATTI-WARD:

On the fighters:

Boxing commentator Larry Merchant: “Micky defined the essence of the journeyman fighter. After all, he was still working as a road grader while his career was going on, but he was a serious prizefighter and he raised his game to a place that few fighters of that type or stripe ever do.”

Gatti manager Pat Lynch: “It’s funny, the first time I met [Arturo Gatti] he told me he was going to be a world champion, which I kind of shrugged off. You know, this young, 19-year-old kid coming down from Canada. Not cocky, but confident.”

Gatti promoter Kathy Duva: “At one point, somebody said he was sort of ‘boxing’s answer to the Grateful Dead.’ You had this same group of people that kept coming over and over and over.”

On the first fight:

HBO Broadcaster Jim Lampley: “I was trying to tell all my friends why this was must-see TV. It was truly an insider’s prizefight. I don’t know how many of the fans who came to Mohegan Sun [for the first fight] that night really understood what they were about to see.”

Fighter Micky Ward: “It’s weird, but I was actually proud of [Arturo]…I know how hard it is to go through that and continue…I can actually say I was proud of him for being that tough.”

On their friendship:

Micky Ward: “Arturo will be a part of me forever. The memories will be in my mind forever. Our fights will be in my head forever. We’ll be linked forever throughout boxing history together. So we’ll be together forever.”

Ward promoter Lou DiBella: “I think they both understood in their own ways the historic significance of what they’d just gone through.”

Kathy Duva: “Somehow the whole became much greater than the sum of its parts. The two of them together created history. Neither one could have done it by himself. But together, they became iconic.”

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