It’s funny how someone you don’t really know can come into your life through
television, music, movies, or sports and really connect with you. I am old
enough to know what Ed McMahon brought to The Tonight Show but
wasn’t around for the glory days of Farrah Faucet. I remember
how good Michael Jackson was in the 80’s, but I was just
getting into music when he started getting destroyed in the tabloids. I
understand how these deaths can make most people feel, but to me they are just
celebrities who went too soon.
Alexis Arguello had his second fight with Aaron
Pryer in 1983, when The ‘Bryguy’ (yours truly) was only 4-years-old,
that was well before ‘Bryguy’ was boxing.
Arturo Gatti on the other hand, came through my TV — as he
did for most of his fans — and he touched me with his grit, guts, and heart. In
the ring he had the tools that we all hope and wish we had in everyday life: the
ability to never give up, never give in and never be bullied, and the courage to
push through seemingly insurmountable odds.
When I think of Gatti, the first things that come to mind aren’t his fights —
it’s the few memories I have of actually interacting with the true life
In 2003 I had the chance to meet Gatti for the first time at Micky
Ward’s annual golf tournament in Andover, Mass. What shocked me the
most was how nice both he and Ward were. They were both ferocious inside the
ring but kind people outside it and I got to pose for a picture with the two
former rivals. It was nice to meet people that I had so much respect for, and
they took the time to be courteous back to a fan.
A year later I would bump into Arturo again, this time at a movie premier for
the boxing film “Black Cloud”. I was simply a camera guy covering the event and
my reporter John and I wanted to get a few of his thoughts in an interview. I
remember being taken aback by how gentle and nice Gatti was with us. This was a
guy who beat people up for a living; a guy who was being swarmed by fans at the
event, but he couldn’t have been more laid back and patient with us.
A year ago this December I was taking a vacation in the Bahamas with my
lovely girlfriend Jayme. During our stop at Atlantis (a giant water park in
Nassau) I was enjoying a daiquiri poolside when I noticed Gatti chilling on the
other side of the pool. Seeing as how he had retired recently, I felt I had to
approach him and let him know what a fan I was and to thank him for the
I remember walking over to him and wondering if it was appropriate to bother
him when he was obviously on vacation, but being a fan I couldn’t help myself. I
thought to myself, how many times do you bump into a guy you admire so much when
you are on vacation? Arturo was even cooler than he had been in past
experiences. I introduced him to my girlfriend and he introduced me to his wife
and baby son. He told us that he was heading to Florida to baptize his son and
stopped in the Bahamas on the way. He was gracious and even though I was
probably bothering him, he never showed it and seemed happy to be talking to a
fan. I think he knew just chatting with me would make my day and wouldn’t really
affect his. These are memories that will last with me forever.
The picture I got at the golf course has been hanging in my kitchen since
2003 and continues to be one of my favorite possessions. Arturo Gatti gave me
many great memories from his altercations in the ring, but more importantly,
those memories weren’t tarnished when I had the chance to meet him outside of
Thank you for those memories Arturo.
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