Arturo Gatti Marathon Scheduled to Run on Fight Network

NEW YORK/TORONTO (Dec. 23, 2014) – Fight Network is going to celebrate Boxing Day in style this Friday (Dec. 26), airing six fights featuring the late, great Arturo “Thunder” Gatti (40-9, 31 KOs) from 9 a.m. ET — 9 p.m. ET.
 
Gatti was arguably boxing’s most popular, exciting fighter from his professional debut in 1991 until his retirement in 2007. He had an unearthly knack for sensational comebacks during a fight, as well as for enduring and dishing out tremendous pain.
 
The native of Italy lived in Montreal and Jersey City (NJ) during his colorful career until his untimely death in 2009. Known by boxing many fans as a “Human Highlight Film” in the ring, he was posthumously induted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) in 2012.
 
Fight Network is a 24/7 television channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports. It airs programs focused on the entire scope of the combat sports genre, including live fights and up-to-the-minute news and analysis for boxing, mixed martial arts, kickboxing, professional wrestling, traditional martial arts, fight news, as well as fight-themed drama series, documentaries and feature films.
 
Below find the Arturo Gatti Marathon programming schedule for this Friday on Fight Network:
 
9:00 a.m. ET – Calvin Grove (49-8), May 4, 1997 at Caesars Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ
 
11:00 a.m. ET – Angel Manfredy (22-2-1), Jan. 17, 1998, Convention Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
 
1:00 p.m. ET – Oscar de la Hoya (32-2), Mar, 24, 2001, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV
 
3:00 p.m. ET – Terron Millett (26-2-1), Jan. 26, 2002, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
 
5:00 p.m. – Micky Ward (37-11), May 18, 2002, Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT
 
7:00 p.m. – Micky Ward (38-11), Nov. 23, 2002, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
 
Gatti-Ward I was the consensus 2002 Fight of the Year, round nine the Round of the Year. The late Emanuel Steward, who was the HBO color commentator for Gatti-Ward I, called it (9th rd.) the mythical Round of the Century.

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Forgotten Legends: Michael Grant

Michael Grant

By: Steve Gallegos 

Some fighters are groomed for the spotlight and appear to be heading for greatness, only to be put into a fight that they aren’t ready for which starts the beginning of the end of their career. That was the case with former heavyweight title challenger Michael Grant. Grant was a giant, standing at 6″7 and he had great technique and skill, which made him probably the most popular of the many young, up and coming heavyweights in the mid-late 90’s.
Grant was born and raised in Chicago and was an all around athlete that played basketball, football, and baseball; however his poor grades prevented him from getting a major athletic scholarship. In 1992, Grant went to Las Vegas to see the action-packed heavyweight championship fight between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe and while he was there, he met Las Vegas referee Richard Steele, who suggested he become a boxer; therefore he did. Grant had only 12 amatuer bouts before turning pro in July of 1994 and would go 22-0 with 16 KO’s in his first two years as a professional.
1997 would be a big year for Grant as he get some national exposure by going  4-0 with two KO’s, including big knockout wins over Al “Ice” Cole and Jorge Luis Gonzalez. All four bouts were nationally televised on ESPN and ABC. He was being trained by the famous Don Turner, who at the time also trained Evander Holyfield. Turner said that Michael Grant had the ability to be the greatest heavyweight champion of all time. 1998 would be another big year for Grant as he would make his HBO debut on 01/17/98 against David Izon. Izon was known for giving young David Tua, the toughest test of his young career and he was also coming off a huge upset KO win over Lou Savarese in the first boxing event ever held at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY.
Grant shined in his HBO debut, taking out Izon in five rounds. He would follow it up with another KO win four months later against another solid opponent in Obed Sullivan. The spotlight continued to get brighter for Grant in 1999 as he would begin the year with a 10th round stoppage of Ahmad Abdin and he would follow it five months later with a decisive unanimous decision win over Lou Savarese at the theater at Madison Square Garden. After the win over Savarese, serious talks began about Grant facing the winner of the Holyfield-Lewis heavyweight championship unificiation. All Grant had to do was win one more fight to get a shot at the heavyweight championship of the world and that fight was against the very tough, rugged, experienced and dirty Andrew Golota.
They met on 11/20/99 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, NJ. Grant controlled much of the first round with his jab and right hand when all of a sudden, Golota landed a huge right hand that put Grant down. Golota would continue to attack Grant and would put him down again towards the end of the round. Golota would continue the attack round after round and it looked as though Grant’s title shot against Lennox Lewis was close to being scrapped.
Going into the 10th round, Grant knew he had to dig deep in order to secure his shot at a heavyweight title and he did by landing a huge right hand that hurt Golota. Grant smelled blood and attacked Golota with a good combination that would put him down. Golota got up, however elected not to continue; therefore referee Randy Neuman stopped the bout. It was a great come from behind win for Michael Grant and the stage was now set for Grant to face Lennox Lewis.
The event was called “Two Big” and it was the biggest fight to start off the new millenium. There were a lot of questions going into this fight as to whether Michael Grant was ready to handle the magnitude of the event and the pressure of fighting a superb boxer like Lennox Lewis. There were also questions as to whether or not Lewis had met his match as Grant posed a size advantage over him. Lewis was very confident that he picked Grant at the right time before he became too seasoned. Lewis said “Grant is like what I call hurry come up. He came up fast so he’s gonna go in a split second”.
They met on 04/29/00 at Madison Square Garden. There was no feeling out process in the first round. The two fighters started throwing bombs from the opening bell. Grant landed the first big shot less than 30 seconds into the bout when he caught Lewis holding his left hand low. Grant was getting into a rhythm when Lewis landed a left uppercut followed by a right hand that put Grant on the canvas. Grant got up but was on wobbly legs. Lewis continued the onslaught and landed four straight right hands, which caused Grant to wobble back towards the corner; therefore referee Arthur Mercante Jr. gave him a count. Lewis continued his pressure, landing hard shots to the body and head and with around 10 seconds to go in the first round, he landed another hard right hand right on the temple which put Grant down again.
Many thought the fight was over, but Grant showed tremendous heart and made it to his feet to make it out of the round. Grant came out for the second round, still on wobbly legs and Lewis was still coming forward trying to knock him out. With less than 30 seconds to go in the second, Lewis landed a huge right uppercut that put Grant down for the fourth and final time. It was a spirited and gutsy effort by Grant; however he was blasted by a much better fighter and possibly the best heavyweight of his era.
Grant took 15 months off due to a knee injury caused by the many knockdowns he received against Lennox Lewis. He took on relatively unknown Jameel McCline in his first bout back and the string of bad luck would continue. McCline landed a right hand in the first round that put Grant down and the knockdown would cause a broken ankle; therefore the fight was stopped. It was a crushing setback for Grant and his future was in question. HBO televised the fight that night and George Foreman said aftewards that Grant needs to avoid the big television spotlight for a while, that he needed to fight regularly and fight in small towns, small venues so he can build himself up again.
Grant would take “Big” George’s advice and he would rack up seven wins in a row over the next two years, all by knockout. After building himself back up, it was time for him to return to HBO and he did so on 06/07/03 when he faced unbeaten Dominick Guinn in Atlantic City. It was the co-feature for the third bout between Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward. It was supposed to be a comeback celebration for Grant; however Guinn would crash the party by putting Grant down four times and stopping him within seven rounds. This loss would pretty much end Michael Grant’s career at the top.
He would continue to fight for another ten years going 10-2 with 6 KO’s. His record as a professional stands at 48-5 with 36 KO’s. He was another story of “What if”. He had all the goods to be a heavyweight great and his train was derailed by the greatest heavyweight champion of his era. He just couldn’t shake the ghost of Lennox Lewis. However short the glory was, it was 100% exciting the whole time because he gave it 100% and then some each and every time he stepped through those ropes.
Michael Grant

 

 

 

 

 

WBF Heavyweight Title Bout: Francois Botha (R) v Michael Grant (L)

Photo Credit: Gallo Images/Getty Images Europe

Forgotten Classics: Dana Rosenblatt vs Vinny Pazienza

rosenblatt vs pazienza

By: Steve Gallegos

New England has produced many great fighters over the years. Brockton, MA produced both Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler. Lowell, MA is known for producing “Irish” Micky Ward and in the 80’s and 90’s, a very colorful, exiciting fighter came out of Cranston, RI; his name was VinnyThe Pazmanian DevilPazienza. Known for his brash talk and exciting in-fighting, Pazienza was a fan favorite as he fought the best from Lightweight through Super Middleweight while capturing two world titles. His resume of opponents were impressive as he faced fighters such as Greg Haugen, Roger Mayweather and Hector “Macho” Camacho.

In 1991, Pazienza was involved in a very bad car accident and doctors said he would never fight again. He was determined to defy the odds and did so by making a stunning recovery in which he was able to return to the ring a year later. He would go 9-0 in his comeback, including a win over former world champion Lloyd Honeghan and a pair of wins over the legendary Roberto Duran.

In 1992, another very good boxer emerged from the New England area who began creating buzz on the east coast. His name was “DangerousDana Rosenblatt. A southpaw with a strong jab and very good power, Rosenblatt won his 1st 28 bouts, 20 by KO. The Boxing fans in New England began talking about about a Pazienza-Rosenblatt fight. Rosenblatt was untested and the biggest name on his resume was former 1976 U.S. Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis, who was 40 years old when Rosenblatt defeated him via second round KO.  The Pazienza vs Rosenblatt fight was made and billed “The Neighborhood War” as there was a lot of bad blood leading up to the bout.

Pazienza said that the fight wasn’t a neighborhood war to him and when he fights, it’s a world wide event. Rosenblatt said that Pazienza was everything he didn’t want to be. Paz responded by saying “If I’m everything he don’t wanna be, then he should quit boxing. I’ve won four world titles, had over 40 fights, fought everybody”. Rosenblatt responded with, “He’s like an out of work school teacher, no class”. Pazienza then said, “He’s an idiot. He looks through the dictionary everyday and finds a big word to act like a smart ass. I hate him, I don’t like him”.

They met on Friday, 08/23/96 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, NJ for the WBU Super Middleweight Championship. Pazienza was coming off a loss to Super Middleweight champion Roy Jones 14 months prior to the bout. Pazienza said that Rosenblatt picked him at the wrong time because when he comes back from a loss, he’s at his best. Rosenblatt responded by predicting he would control the fight all night with his jab.

Thousands of fans from Rhode Island and Massachussetts flocked to Atlantic City to witness the “Neighborhood War”. In the first round, Rosenblatt put Pazienza on the deck with a right hand as Paz was coming in. Pazienza immediately got up and decked Rosenblatt off guard before veteran referee Tony Orlando could start the count. Orlando had to step in and separate the fighters and ruled the knockdown as a slip. Rosenblatt stuck to his game plan by using his jab while tatooing Pazienza with hard shots. Pazienza used lateral movement trying to get inside on the much taller Rosenblatt; however with little success. The round ended with Pazienza’s left eye badly swollen as well as blood pouring from his nose.

The second and third rounds were much of the same as Rosenblatt continued to have his way. Paz continued his lateral movement and was constantly hitting himself after Rosenblatt would land a combination, telling him he wasn’t hurt. Towards the end of the third, Rosenblatt got frustrated with Paz’s antics and told him “Come on, why don’t you hit yourself some more”. Pazienza knew he couldn’t outbox Rosenblatt and had to knock him out.

In the fourth round, Pazienza finally landed the haymaker he needed when he landed a huge right hand that put Rosenblatt down. Rosenblatt was able to get up, but he was on wobbily legs. Pazienza went in for the kill, landing hard shots while Rosenblatt was against the ropes, forcing referre Tony Orlando to step in; however Pazienza didn’t stop punching and hit the referee, knocking him down and having to be restrained by the New Jersey State Athletic Commissioner Larry Hazard. It was a spectacular ending to a very entertaining fight, for as short as it was. Pazienza was ecstatic as it was a new chapter added to the ever exciting story of his career. Rosenblatt took the loss with a smile, giving Pazienza  a lot of credit for getting in the big shot.

Both fighters would have great success over the next couple years. Pazienza would win five out his next six bouts and Rosenblatt would also have a great deal of success as he would win his next seven bouts, including a big win over former world champion Terry Norris. Rosenblatt and Pazienza would meet again in November of 1999 and Rosenblatt would win a split decision. Rosenblatt would only fight three more times from 1999-2002, going 1-0-2  before retiring with a record of 37-1-2 with 23 KO’s. His only loss was to Pazienza.

Vinny Pazienza would go 4-2 from 2001-2004 and would retire after winning his 50th professional bout. His record as a professional stands at 50-10 with 30 KO’s. They were two great fighters, who couldn’t be any more different than night and day and who matched up very well to provide one of boxing’s lost classics of the 1990’s.

rosenblatt vs pazienza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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