The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire
by PusboilHello and Happy New Year from the CBZ. Last night was the much anticipated Gatti-Manfredy bout and on the undercard two young heavyweights, Michael Grant and David Izon. I am humbly filling in for our Editor-in-Chief GorDoom who could not be with us today due to his recent relocation. Well, HBO brought us their first card of the new year, and we are proud to give you our first of many reports of the year. Chiming in with correspondence are DscribeDC, Thomas Gerbasi, Joe Bruno, BoxngRules and myself. Hope you enjoy our coverage of list nightís fistic events and donít forget our new monthly issue will be up next week. Enjoy.
A Deal with the Devil
by Thomas GerbasiAtlantic City, NJ -
Arturo Gatti ran out of miracles last night. A packed house at the Atlantic City Convention Center waited and waited, but it never came. "Wear him out with your chin, Arturo" came a cry from the crowd. It was not to be. The Devil came down to Jersey, and in hostile territory, dismantled Gatti with, of all things, patience.
We got to see all the prerequisites of a Gatti fight; a knockdown, blood, and drama. But where Wilson Rodriguez, Gabriel Ruelas, and countless others failed, Angel Manfredy excelled. There were no wild flurries by Manfredy after his third round flooring of Gatti, no aggressive attacks which would leave his chin open to Arturo's "Thunder". Just a patient, effective attack, which opened up Gatti's left eyelid, and forced a stoppage at the end of the eighth round.
But don't blame Gatti. He would have fought blind if he had to. A true warrior, Arturo gave everyone their money's worth once again. And while that doesn't translate into a long career, Gatti is one fighter I would pay to see fight.
The fight opened with both trading jabs, and Gatti seemed to wobble Manfredy with a couple of hooks. But later in the opening stanza, a short right opened a nasty gash on Gatti's left eyelid, causing the hardest working cutman in the business, Joe Souza, to step into action early. And Souza definitely earned his paycheck. From my vantage point, I didn't notice the cut until maybe the fifth round. After viewing the fight again on tape, it amazes me that he was able to keep the cut manageable for eight rounds.
In the second, Manfredy started working on the cut, and his right hands frequently found their mark on Gatti, whose defense gets progressively worse with each fight. And he paid the price in the third. A perfect left hook dropped Gatti with a minute left in the round, and his legs were shaky. But as we all expected, "Thunder" roared back. You almost expected him to put Manfredy out by the end of the round. I guess we've been spoiled.
Just before the bell started the fourth, the crowd screamed "Gat-ti, Gat-ti". The war was on. Gatti pounded the body relentlessly, perhaps believing the rumor of an injured ribcage, and Manfredy showed his first signs of weariness in the fight. When the bell ended the round, Gatti had already followed his end of the bargain. He had been cut and knocked down, and now he was starting to come on. It was what we all tuned in for.
Unfortunately, Manfredy didn't read the script. After a toe to toe fifth round, in which both men had their moments, Manfredy started to take control. Angel stood right in front of Gatti, and he took Arturo's best, while landing his own bombs. Great combinations, to both the head and body, started to take their toll. By the seventh, Gatti's eyelid was in horrible shape, and the ring doctor had a long talk with referee Wayne Hedgepeth after the round.
The eighth was Gatti's last stand. The crowd waited with anticipation, but this was Manfredy's night. He landed at will with right hands, and Gatti just couldn't pull out another miracle. The fight was justifiably stopped, and maybe stopped a round too late. And predictably, the pro-Gatti crowd booed. Maybe they would have liked to see Gatti come out on a stretcher. But I digress. I'll save crowd psychology for another column.
At the time of the stoppage, Manfredy led on two of the three judges' cards. I also had Manfredy comfortably ahead.
Before the fight, many compared this fight as the beginning of an Ali-Frazier type rivalry. I couldn't agree more. We've got to see these two get it on again. As Manfredy said earlier in the week, "This ain't no Lightweight fight. This is a heavyweight fight." Amen to that.
TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL: A RING WARRIOR ENDURES THE UNKINDEST CUT OF ALL
by DscribeDCAngel Manfredy-Arturo Gatti; Michael Grant-David Izon
Atlantic City Convention Center; January 17, 1998
Home Box Office
In the Fight Of The Year thus far, 1998 (Hamed-Kelley could not sustain the tension like this mill did), Angel Manfredy, a glowering, heavily-decorated (literally) veteran of gang-patrolled street life, target-shot and narrowly outslicked one of boxing's most gutsy young champs, Arturo Gatti, a guy who seemed able to overcome every kind of boxing hardship but the frailty of his own skin. It was an edge-of-the-seat battle whose momentum teetered constantly in the balance, a fight that offered the classic brawler-boxer dynamics and showcased an impressive and flamboyant new personality. Except for the sister-kissing ambiguity of the ending, an eight round TKO stoppage due to a left-eye gash that will take more stitches than Calvin's spring collection, it had all the elements of a genuine event.
In a sport where so few fights ever live up to their advance billings and backroom shenanigans almost always take headlines away from ring combat, Arturo Gatti was a noble exception. Gatti was a throwback, beloved by insiders and casual fans alike, for his fighting style, a style that knew only one direction -- forward -- and only one gear -- high. His action, slugging style (not to mention his swarthy Italian looks) recalled some of the great names of the past (LaMotta, Basilio, Graziano) and put sportswriters and commentators where they felt most comfortable, on Memory Lane. Here was a kid who could reclaim some of boxing's glory, an unassuming, workingman's champ who threw caution to the winds, who perpetually balanced on the brink of doom before composing stirring finishes that would be more appropriate to The Late Late Show than Boxing After Dark. He could be one of boxing's saving graces. But, as everyone knows, warriors who rush in face first, bleed for the folks in the cheap seats and win the hard way, need suitably tough and ready competition to seal their legends.
And tonight, Gatti got it.
It was a battle of opposites: a "Cat" who was anything but catlike (in fact, who fights more like a junkyard dog) against a born-again Christian Angel who dons a devil mask and goes by the name of "El Diablo." But once inside the ropes, the two men played true to form. Gatti, the IBF lightweight titlist, entered the ring for this non-title bout four pounds heavier than the relatively unheralded Manfredy, but looked to be even bigger, his heavily-muscled frame dwarfing the sleeker, more diminutive IBC titlist. A casual observer would have predicted Gatti would maul and that Manfredy would stick and move, picking his shots and relying on stealthy footwork. He would have been right.
The early rounds were close, but Manfredy seemed to edge out the hometown favorite with short, sharp combinations, opening a large and troublesome cut over Gatti's left eye in round one with a winging right hand and flooring Arturo with a pinpoint left hook to the chin in the third. Many fighters take a knee after a tough punch, but Gatti flew to the canvas face first in the kind of spill that few fighters get up from. To his credit, he not only rose, but, perhaps sensing the kind of trouble from which his best fighting springs, began to take over the play in the bout, reasserting himself in rounds four and five with punishing body shots that seemed to tenderize Manfredy's allegedly-ailing ribs.
By round six, the fighters were working together like seasoned stage performers, thrusting and parrying, volleying back and forth the aggressor's role as if to showcase each other to the maximum extent. It was a superior display of fistic combat, but Manfredy's sharpshooting seemed to sap some of the will of Gatti, who eased up on the body work and was no longer asserting himself as he had just rounds before.
By the seventh, Arturo was fighting blind on his left side, wide open for the straight rights of Manfredy, who tagged the champ and forced him back to the ropes under a flurry, a certain sign that all was not well with New Jersey's favorite son. But, as he had in many prior rounds, Arturo managed a late charge that still put the outcome in doubt. When Gatti emerged for the eighth and final frame, his cutman's work had proved futile -- the cut already poured blood before the first punch had landed and all Manfredy had to do was pick away, avoiding Gatti's bullrushes until the inevitable stoppage by Gatti's corner. This was one Cat that had simply run out of lives.
With his free-swinging, crowd-pleasing style, it's unlikely that Gatti's appeal will wane from such a hard-fought loss. And although Larry Merchant gave the victor little on-air stroking, the boxing world may have made a real find in Manfredy, a tough, hard-living street kid full of fire and emotion (he nearly broke down on-camera describing a confrontation with his father over his former use of drugs) who can take a punch, fights with aggression and style and presents a winning story. The rags-to-riches script of a rough-hewn kid who conquers his demons, beats the street with the help of the Lord and still presents enough signs of his tortured past to generate real drama is one that a savvy network could expoit to great effect.
In essence, he's like a second Johnny Tapia, a bad boy who, for the time being, has gone good thanks to a sport not known for its redemptive qualities. Throw is some Camacho-style visuals -- more than 20 (count 'em, 20) tattoos; the latest says "Rent This Space" -- and you could have a compelling, highly visual athlete that could make a financial, as well as a fistic, statement if he strings together enough good performances. Already Manfredy is talking about wanting to get boxing's most promising cash cow, Naseem Hamed, in the ring, and, if anyone can survive what will surely be a pair of daylong ring entrances, it could make an exciting athletic contest and a test of Angel's star power. The Prince vs. the Devil sounds like a renaissance masterwork, and it may prove just as artful a use of canvas.
As everyone also knows, with fighters like Arturo Gatti, the real suspense is in seeing how far they can push the envelope before pushing their luck too far. The presence of The Big Crash, and the comeback therefrom, is what makes these guys exciting. And with ex-street kids like Manfredy, the real suspense is in seeing when they will slip, when the cracks in their psychological armor will first appear. The lingering drama is there. Manfredy claims to not want a rematch, but, with Gatti still coming forward at the bitter conclusion of this fight, the public will rightly demand Manfredy-Gatti II. Maybe III. My sense is that these two could become binary stars, locked in each other's orbits like Ali and Frazier. And if they can keep up the punchrate, it could be a great series for a sport that badly needs one.
In the opening bout, the monstrous, undefeated young heavyweight prospect Michael Grant proved to be simply too much for the slick and game David Izon. Although Izon struggled to get inside Grant's impressive jab early, the punch proved to be too dominant a weapon, and Grant effectively tied up Izon before he could launch combinations on those occasions he did get inside. By the fifth, Izon was tired, wobbly and frustrated and a short right opened up a Grant barrage of nearly four-dozen unanswered punches before referee Frank Capuccino wisely stepped in. Grant seems to need some polishing yet, but he has an engaging and jocular on-camera personality and a real way with a biblical quote. If the skills come along, he could be the man to take up the mantle as Rising Star of the glamour division.
As they say, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. And when the final bell tolled tonight, Angel Manfredy got his. How he uses them, and how clean he keeps them, will be a fascinating story in the months to come.
by Joe BrunoThe official time was at the end of the eight round, but in fact, last nightís great Arturo" Thunder" Gatti-Angel "El Diablo" Manfredy lightweight fight was decided in the first round, when an overhand right by Manfredy opened an ugly cut over Gattiís right eye. The cut was a two-inch trench which ran between the left eyebrow and the eye, and was the worst cut Iíve ever seen in my 20 years of covering boxing.The cut spewed gore throughout the entire fight, but in the eight round it was so bad, you could see the blood spurting out and covering Gattiís face in a sickening sea of red.
At the time of the stoppage, Gatti trailed 68-65 and 67-65 on two scorecards and was 66-66 on the other.
Take nothing away from Manfredy. He fought a tough, smart fight, and he scored the only knockdown in the third when a wicked left hook sent Gatti sprawling onto his face. Gatti was up at the count of three, and in fact, did most of the damage for the rest of the round.
In round four, Gatti took control of the fight with a barrage of body punches that visibly slowed down Manfredy. Gatti won the fifth, but the blood kept spilling into his right eye and made him an easy target for Manfredyís over hand right.
Manfredy won the sixth and seventh rounds by peppering Gattiís face with numerous three and four-punch combinations, and after the seventh round, the ring doctor told the ref Wayne Hedgebeth, "If he(Gatti) is not fighting back use your judgment and stop the fight."
The doctor made a big mistake not stopping the fight right there. Gattiís eye was a mess, and only a miracle could turn the fight in his favor. But in Gattiís career, miracles have been commonplace, and he gallantly came out for the eighth round, knowing this round would be the last of the fight, either way.
Gatti rushed out of his corner flailing with both hands. The one-eyed fighter landed several looping combinations and he seemed to be clearly winning the round, when with about twenty seconds left in the round, two Manfredyís right hands caused the blood over Gattiís eye to spurt even faster. Gattiís face was a grotesque, ugly mess and only a sadist would have let the fight continue. The ref waved a stop to the action as the bell rang ending the round. The doctor immediately told Gatti the fight was over. When Gatti protested, the doctor said, "Your own corner threw in the towel."
After the fight, both fighters took turns singing the praises of the other. Then Gatti admitted, "I knew I was in trouble after the first round when I saw the blood flowing into my eye. Everything that happened after that was because of the cut. I couldnít see the punches coming."
"Manfredy proved heís a real champ. Hopefully, heíll be nice enough to give me a rematch."
Manfredy wasnít sure if he saw Gatti in his immediate future plans. "I donít know if Iíll fight Gatti again," Manfredy said. "The guy I want is the Prince(Prince Naseem Hamed) Bring on the Prince! Heís not as strong as Gatti. He talks the talk, but he canít walk the walk."
Hamedís promoter Frank Warren said he would like his fighter to fight Manfredy later this year. "Maybe two fights down the road weíll fight Manfredy," Warren said. "Most likely in England."
The prediction here is-------no contest. Both Gatti and Manfredy would put the elephant-eared Prince out of commission fast; like within the first three rounds. In fact, it probably wonít be much of the fight. We all clearly saw in Hamedís fight against washed-up Kevin Kelley that the Prince gets seasick even from a slight westerly wind. Both Gatti and Manfredyís punching power is too much for Hamed, and if promoter Warren is smart, heíd point his height-challenged and chin-challenged Prince in the exact opposite direction from Angel "El Diablo" Manfredy. And fast.
If Warren doesn't heed my advice, both he and the Prince will have hell to pay.
by PusboilOnce again Arturo "Thunder" Gatti proved he is one of the most exciting fighters in boxing today. Unfortunately he is exciting because he has to get hurt every fight. Not a good recipe for a fighting career. Tonight Gatti faced Angel "el Diablo" Manfredy. Manfredy had been trying to call Gatti out for about a year now. And tonight he got his wish.
The fight got exciting very early tonight when in the first round a cut opened over Gattiís left eye. It was a short overhand right by Manfredy that did the damage. Not a big shot but right on the sweet spot if youíll pardon the expression. At least we knew that this fight was going to be quite similar to most of Gattiís recent fights.
In the third round Manfredy hit Gatti with a left hook and Gatti tapped his chin to show Angel that he wasnít hurt. Well Angel caught him again with that hook and Gatti fell like a stone to the mat. In his usual fashion Gatti, was up quickly and bouncing up and down by the time the ref got to eight. Manfredy probably knowing of Gattiís recent achievements after getting hurt, seemed satisfied to just box out the end of the round and not try to finish Gatti off. Canít say that I blame him.
Manfredy seemingly thought that there was no use in fighting in the fourth round as he just moved around the ring picking shots here and there but not putting crap together. It was the first round I had given Gatti but it was the easiest one to score excluding the knockdown in the third. Gatti seemed rejuvenated in this round and the cut had not been a problem so it seemed as if all was going as planned for Arturo. Get cut or swollen, get knocked down, come back and beat the snot out of opponent. He was halfway there.
But Angel was in no mood to be the next victim of Gattiís heroic comebacks. In the fifth Angel picked up the pace again and started landing his jab. The ferocious body attack Gatti had subjected Manfredy to in the fourth didnít seem to slow Manfredy too much. As he moved about the ring he showed no signs of being worse for wear. He also shook off Gattiís best punches to this point and seemed confident that Gatti could not hurt him.
In the sixth Gattiís eye started to get worse by the minute. The cut was right on the eyelid completely below the eyebrow. Definitely the worst spot for it. Manfredy didnít seem to focus on it too much but did land his fair share of blows to Gattiís left eye. Gatti was fighting his heart out hoping for that one sweet shot to at least start an effective attack to bring this night to a close.
Unfortunately for him, Manfredy was able to avoid a lot of Gattiís shots and block or absorb the rest. In the seventh the eye was a faucet. If Gatti was able to see out of the eye at all Iíd be surprised. By the time the round ended Gatti was a bloody mess. I figured the fight would end right there. But probably due to Gattiís history of coming back while at the brink of defeat the fight continued.
The ringside physician told the referee "As long as he is fighting back and not in trouble itís up to you." Gatti had one last chance to win this fight. But once again Manfredy outboxed Gatti in the eighth round. And once again when the round came to an end Gatti was bloody and I mean bloody. The cut was huge at this point. One of those cuts where you can see inside without a camera closeup.
The referee waived his arms signaling the end of the round and told Gatti "Your corner is throwing in the towel." Gatti threw his hands up in disgust but once he gets a look at his face he will realize his corner did the right thing. Nothing good could have come from letting the fight continue.
As Jim Lampley commented during the fight, Gatti will make his usual trip to the hospital after the fight. This time he goes without winning the bout.
Manfredy looked good throughout the fight, not spectacular but a good solid fighter who showed if nothing else he takes a good punch, can bang a little, and definitely can box. Gatti looked like Gatti, a tough kid with no defense but all the heart in the world. Imagine a punk like Lennox Lewis with Gattiís heart.
I would like to see a rematch between these two. Give Gatti at least six to eight months to heal and let Ďem go again. I guarantee it will be as exciting as this one. But I wonít guarantee who wins. Without that cut it could be different story, but then again whoís to say Gatti wonít cut next time too. Itís a shame to see a fighter like Gatti with all his heart and talent get stopped on cuts, but thatís boxing.
It was all it was supposed to be... and more
by BoxngRulesBefore I say anything, I want to give alot of credit to a brave warrior, Arturo Gatti. Following his stoppage loss to Angel Manfredy, Gatti's only response was a polite request for a rematch.
Though Gatti was fighting his heart out, Manfredy was declared the winner when Gatti's severe laceration left him unable to continue. It was hard to think this fight could live up to its hype, but I must say it was more than its hype.
It was in the dreadful first round when a Mandredy right hand opened a cut over Gatti's left eye. It seemed it was just one of various eye injuries that Gatti sustains during fights, but it was much worse than the usual swollen eyes and it became a factor in the stoppage.
Cutman Joe Souza did an incredible job on the wound, for the first few rounds at least. In the third round, Gatti, 29-2 (24 KO), was caught flush on the chin with a left hook that left him dazed on the canvas. Though up at 5, he was very hurt.
"Thunder" came back in the next three rounds. Gatti was caught with hard shots in the seventh. And in the eigth, Gatti is trying to pull it out of the bag, but his textbook left hooks cannot move the iron block in Manfredy, 23-2-1 (19 KO). Blood is all over Gatti's eye and his cut is bleeding profusely, Gatti is ruled unable to continue and Manfredy is the winner.
Though he lost via stoppage, Gatti is still a world champion, for this was a non-title bout. Gatti says he will not fight again until his desired rematch, which might be a while by the look of what the damage that cut will do to his career.
In an undercard bout, Michael Grant proved his status among the young heavyweights. The 6'7" muscleman stopped David Izon at 1:07 of the fifth round of a scheduled 12-round IBC Heavyweight title bout.
A jab opened a cut over Izon's eye in the first round and Grant controlled the bout from that point until 47 unanswered punches left Izon helpless as referee Frank Cappuccino rescued him from further punishment early in the fifth round. Grant improved to 27-0, with 19 of his wins inside the distance. Izon dropped to 20-3 (18 by knockout).
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