After all of the debate and arguments surrounding the worthiness of former two-time world champion Arturo Gatti's inclusion on the 2013 International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot, the late all-action fighter was elected today in his first year of eligibility.
Those boxing insiders who argued against Gatti's candidacy pointed to his limited credentials, skill deficiency and lack of defense which hindered his ability to challenge and defeat the best fighters of his era. He was criticized for taking too much punishment in his biggest wins against limited opposition, including those with Micky Ward, and for being thrashed by the only two world-class fighters he faced in Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
The counter argument was that Gatti did something for the sport that not even the most technically proficient or talented fighter can always achieve – he lifted it up and made it better. He personified a true fighter, giving us four "Fights of the Year" (1997, 1998, 2002, 2003), the 1997 "Knockout of the Year" and the 1998 "Upset of the Year".
Gatti possessed something that can not be taught in the gym – heart, soul, courage, passion. His induction into the Hall of Fame based on these valuable intangibles should send a message to the next generation of fighters that it takes more than a textbook jab, clever feint or perfectly timed counter punch to be acknowledged and appreciated.
Joining Gatti in the Class of 2013 is five-time world champion and 1984 Olympic silver medalist Virgil Hill, two-time light flyweight champion Myung-Woo Yuh, referee Mills Lane, ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. and journalist Colin Hart.
The posthumous elections are lightweight Wesley Ramsey and middleweight Jeff Smith, while manager Arturo "Cuyo" Hernandez, cartoonist Ted Carroll and 19th century Irish boxer Joe Coburn were elected in the pioneer division.
Induction ceremonies will be held in Canastota, New York on June 9, 2013.
Tags: Arturo Gatti, Boxing, Micky Ward, Virgil Hill