- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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The death of Arturo Gatti on Saturday hit the boxing community very, very hard. He was a special fighter who provided fight fans (and writers) with more thrills than anyone in recent years. Fight after fight, he left it all in the ring.
He may be gone, but we will always have our memories and videos. ESPN Classic ran a marathon of classic Gatti bouts on Sunday night. Now, HBO, which was Gatti's home for all of his important fights, will honor the beloved fighter, who fought on the network 21 times and was one of its cornerstones from 1995 until his retirement in 2007.
When I traded e-mails with HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg on Saturday afternoon after we had heard about Gatti's untimely death at age 37, I mentioned that I hoped the network would pay tribute to him. Greenburg wrote back and said it certainly would, and he didn't waste any time.
HBO announced Monday that it will commemorate Gatti's career with replays of all three fights in his epic trilogy with Micky Ward on Friday and Saturday. The first and third fights both won fight of the year honors and the second fight was also pretty darn good.
The three fights -- Gatti won the second and third -- will air on the HBO2 service at 9 p.m. ET/PT Friday and at 10:15 a.m. ET/PT Saturday on the main HBO service. The three fights will air consecutively on both days. The trilogy will also be available on HBO On Demand from July 20 to Aug. 16.
Ward won the first thrilling slugfest by decision on May 18, 2002. That fight featured the now-legendary ninth round. Gatti took decisions in the Nov. 23, 2002, rematch and June 7, 2003, finale, which also marked Ward's retirement fight.
Get your DVRs and DVD recorders ready, and maybe even a few tissues.
Cherish the memories.
The death of Arturo Gatti on Saturday hit the boxing community very, very hard. He was a special fighter who provided fight fans (and writers) with more thrills than anyone in recent years.