Young Victor Boxing

FIGHT NEWS

Gomez finishes Gatti.

By Mike Indri
Retired Boxers Foundation
Photos: "Sugar" Ray Bailey



Atlantic City, NJ - To the dismay of the 9,437 faithful fans that once again transformed Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall into "Arturo Gatti's backyard", Alfonso Gomez, a supposed perfect opponent due to his lighter punching, pounded the New Jersey legend throughout the surprisingly one-sided bout, putting an end to the career of one of the most beloved and cherished fighters - of this, or any era.

For seven rounds Gomez, of the television reality series "Contender" fame, out-boxed and out-hit Gatti, landing too many clean power punches along the way before finally battering the blood and guts warrior into submission at the 2:12 mark of the fateful seventh round. A scorching round in which Gomez, according to Comp-U-Box, landed 40 of his 62 power shots.

While winning four of the first six rounds on two of the judges scorecards, and pitching a shutout on that of highly respected Steve Weisfeld's ledger, Gomez hurt Gatti early in round seven with bludgeoning bombs along with an effective body attack which instilled desperation into his damaged foe. Resorting to the type of homerun swings which pulled him from the depths of defeat in his career defining dramatic knockout triumphs against Wilson Rodriguez and Rafael Ruelas, Gatti valiantly unleashed his best effort, and paid dearly for his reckless abandon. A big right hand was the exclamation mark for which Gatti had no answer. Totally spent, annihilated, and with nothing left to give Gatti slumped down the ropes and onto the canvas. As a true champion, the lion hearted Jersey City native struggled, in vain, to get to his feet.




As sad and regrettable this scene was for the true boxing fan, the moment turned proud for the sport and business as Commissioner Larry Hazzard, Sr. jumped into the ring ensuring stoppage of the fight. While many ringside observers wondered aloud why referee Randy Neumann or Gatti's trainer Micky Ward were allowing this non-competitive punishment to continue, Hazzard's actions again proved why the state of New Jersey, through its State Athletic Control Board, runs the finest, most stringent and strictly regulated fight commission in the country. For this, Commissioner Larry Hazzard, Sr. should be commended.

Afterwards, a realistic Gatti, 40-9 (31 KO's), announced his retirement before leaving for the hospital to check on a nasty looking injury to the left side of his face (lip/cheekbone area). "I will be back to Boardwalk Hall," said a smiling Gatti, "but only as a spectator!"

To his credit, Alfonso Gomez was given an opportunity and he seized the moment. Figuring to be a tailor-made opponent, due to his coming straightforward approach and a lack of punching power, Gomez proved his detractors wrong. From the fight's opening bell to his fight-ending picture perfect right hand, Gomez, who improved to 17-4-2 (8 KO's), controlled the action, displayed an effective jab and wore his thirty five year old opponent down with a solid attack to the body and head.

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