WBN spoke to one of the promoters behind the famous Arturo Gatti vs Micky Ward trilogy ahead of what would have been the former’s 48th birthday.
Gatti, if alive today, turned another year older on Wednesday, and WBN decided to catch up with Kathy Duva for some memories to mark the occasion.
‘Thunder’ was firstly one of the best-loved fighters in the sport. Secondly, the man was all heart and gave everything he could for every second of every contest.
His death in July 2009 is still shocking to this day. It will never sit well with anybody who knew the Italian-American.
One of those is Duva, now head of Main Events – the company that looked after Gatti’s affairs at the time.
Asked about ‘that round’ – the incredible ninth that, for many, is the best three minutes of boxing in history, WBN wanted to know if it could ever be topped.
Duva exclusively told World Boxing News: “Probably not!
“If there is a better round than Gatti vs Ward round nine, it was in the same fight!
“I remember just sitting there a ringside and watching. I was wondering how they could keep it up,” she added.
What those two guys put on the line for everyone’s entertainment was sheer guts and determination. Gatti and Ward beat each other into a bond that would still exist today if they were both breathing.
As it turns out, Ward carries the pain of knowing Arturo passed away well before his time and still misses him dearly.
Asked if we could ever see that kind of action before a loving friendship again in boxing, Duva was unsure.
“I think those nights were the purest expression of what ‘The Sweet Science’ is supposed to be all about that I have ever seen.
“I’ll never say never, but if two future fighters ever top it, they will have to surpass a very high bar.
“I believe what we saw with Arturo and Mickey was what can happen between two well-matched opponents who simply love fighting. I find a kind of brutal joy in it.”
Later on, as Duva promoted later bouts with Gatti, Ward sat side-by-side with his friend until retirement in 2007.
Look out for more with Duva in the run-up to Gatti’s birthday on WBN this week.
Follow experienced boxing writer Phil Jay on Twitter @PhilJWBN. Follow WBN: Facebook, Insta, Twitter.