The Day I Beat Boxing Great Arturo Gatti
Man, am I bummed about the death of Arturo Gatti. The talent in that guy...gone too soon.
Along with Crispy-ites Scott Jones and Steve Kent, I'm a big boxing fan. So when I was the game critic for The Village Voice, I got a call one day asking if I wanted to go to a demo of Fight Night Round 3. I had a deadline (always do), so ole grumbleass hesitated ... until they told me I could play Arturo Gatti at the game.
I'm not the best gamer (by far). But when it comes to fighting games, I'm pretty damn good. If you don't believe me, ask Kent. Anyway, it was the middle of winter and I hauled my skinny ass over to some midtown hotel. I was grumpy because I hate midtown, especially in slushy February.
I'd watched an old Arturo Gatti/Mickey Ward throwdown to get in the mood, and, like this article says, I was nervous. Gatti was a total cool guy who said, "Don't worry. I didn't play the game until this morning."
It was no comfort since I hadn't played the game at all. I feared a knockdown, or worse, a knockout.
Gatti, in his modesty, chose to play fists of stone Roberto Duran. I chose to play as Ray Robinson. Gatti began to brawl, and I was getting pummeled like Joey GIlbert in the recent fight with Jesse Brinkley. But I found the block button and, allow me to quote "got Duran with a series of rights. Duran appeared dazed. And then, Gatti as Duran fell, knocked down hard by Robinson. Gatti stood up and tried to use body English to get Duran off the mat. In the game, there's a way to revive a knocked down fighter before the 10-count. But Arturo wasn't able to move two dots into the center of the screen using the controller sticks. Duran stayed down. I had bested the great Arturo Gatti.
"At first, there was disbelief on Gatti's face, then a flash of anger, at which point I wanted to run down Fifth Avenue as quickly as I could. Moments later, there was good natured respect. 'Congratulations,' he said. Even in loss, Arturo Gatti was a class act."
Arturo should never have died this young, at 37. I think we should all pick up Fight Night Round 3 and play as Gatti. In memorium, yo.