When local boxing manager Pat Lynch received a phone call last Monday morning, informing him that his long-time friend and colleague Arturo Gatti was being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, there had to be mixed emotions.
“Of course, there was such joy and pride,” said the Union City-based Lynch. “I was really happy to hear it and so proud to be a part of it.”
But there’s the sense of sadness that comes with the fact that Gatti isn’t still around to enjoy the moment. Gatti, who lived in Jersey City, Weehawken, and Hoboken during his day, died in Brazil in July of 2009 at the age of 37 under very controversial circumstances.
It was first believed that Gatti’s wife may have murdered him, but it was later ruled that Gatti committed suicide, an idea that was just unfathomable to his millions of fans and of course, Lynch, who hired a private investigation firm to try to prove that the suicide ruling was simply not true.
In the ring, Gatti, nicknamed “Thunder,” was one of the most popular fighters ever. He posted a 40-9 record and was a two-time world champion in the super featherweight and light welterweight divisions.
His trilogy of fights with Micky Ward produced some of the most memorable in boxing history. Four times, Gatti was involved in Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year. He was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
“Arturo would bring it up from time to time, wondering if he would ever get in the Hall of Fame,” Lynch said. “I always thought the day would come. So when I got the phone call [Monday], it was a great phone call to receive. He absolutely deserves this, no question.”
Lynch recalled the magical nights that took place in Atlantic City whenever Gatti fought. There’s no question that Gatti’s immense popularity enabled boxing to enjoy a rebirth in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.
“He brought so much to the sport,” Lynch said. “He would fight on Saturday night and Monday morning, we would be flooded with phone calls wondering when he would fight again. It was a phenomenal time. Everyone came to his fights. You had FBI agents and mobsters there together, sitting in the same row. It was an unbelievable, exciting time, a great time. It puts a smile to my face just reliving those memories.”
The induction ceremonies for Gatti will take place in Canastota, N.Y. in June. Lynch has been asked to accept the award for Gatti, along with Ward and Main Events president Kathy Duva.
“It’s just so sad that he’s not here to be a part of it,” Lynch said…
St. Anthony High School football coach Sean Fallon resigned at the end of the season after three successful seasons.
The school wasted little time in finding a successor to Fallon, tabbing assistant coach Tony Rosillo to take over for Fallon. Rosillo has been a long-time assistant in Bergen County before coming to St. Anthony…
The Great Hagueini nailed his final pick of the football season, picking Hoboken to defeat Roselle Park, 35-14 (actual final score was Hoboken 39-9), giving Hagueini an astounding 14-2 record for this season. The old wide one was dead on this playoff season…
There’s no time for rest. The high school football season closed Friday and the winter sports season begins this weekend. It’s madness, pure madness…
The North Bergen wrestling team suffered a huge loss, when state medalist Luis Gonzalez transferred to Don Bosco Prep. The Bruins still have two-time state medal winner Anthony Giraldo back…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.