Foul Play with Boxer Arturo Gatti
Former Champion Found Dead at Age 37
ESPN (With contributions from The Associated Press) & Swaim,
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
boxing champion Arturo Gatti, one of the most exciting fighters of his
generation, was found dead in a hotel room in the posh seaside resort
de Galihnas, located in northern Brazil.
investigator Edilson Alves announced that the body of the former Junior
Welterweight Champ was discovered in his hotel room, where Gatti had
Friday with his Brazilian wife Amanda and infant son. Alves said police
still investigating and it was yet unclear how the 37-year-old Canadian
is still too early to say anything concrete, although it is all very
Foul play is suspected in the death,
spokeswoman for the state public safety department said Gatti's wife
were unhurt. "There were no bullet or stab wounds on his body, but
did find blood stains on the floor," she said.
Brazilian boxer and four-time
World Champion Acelino "Popo" Freitas told the G1 Web site of
Brazil's largest television network (Globo) that he was a close friend
and his wife, and that he "knew they were having some sort of problem
were about to separate, but I didn't know they were in Brazil."
Gatti's wife was detained as a
suspect by Brazilian authorities on Sunday following his death at the
resort where they stayed.
Police said 23-year-old Amanda
Rodrigues was taken into custody after contradictions in her initial
The former boxing champion was
apparently strangled with the strap of a purse, which was found at the
with bloodstains, said Milena Saraiva, a spokeswoman for the Pernambuco
civil police. She told The Associated Press that Gatti also had a
The investigation was not
complete, but Saraiva said authorities were preparing to present a
accusation against Rodrigues, who continually denied being involved in
Police said Rodrigues could not
explain how she spent nearly 10 hours in the room without noticing that
was already dead.
The couple's 1-year-old son, who
was unhurt, was with Rodrigues' sister, Saraiva said.
Police investigated witness
reports that the couple fought and Gatti was drunk when he returned to
Friday night, Saraiva said, adding that police were told that the pair
extremely jealous of each other and that he constantly complained of
when she traveled to Brazil.
Francisco Assis, a local police
investigator, told G1 that Gatti could have died up to eight hours
body was found early Saturday.
Associated Press Writers Bradley Brooks and Tales Azzoni contributed to this portion of the report.
An ongoing Brazilian police investigation has finally determined that the death of boxer Arturo Gatti was a suicide and a court has ordered the release of his wife, once suspected of killing him, officials said.
Lead investigator Paulo Alberes told authorities that they found Gatti had indeed killed himself on July 11, 2009 in the hotel room where he and his wife along with their young son were staying. Alberes said, “Yes.” He offered no other details, but said he would hold a news conference later in the day.
A day after Gatti was found dead, police reported that his 23-year-old Brazilian wife, Amanda Rodrigues, had strangled him with her purse strap as he drunkenly slept.
Rodrigues immediately proclaimed, “I’m innocent and I know that this will be proven in a few days.” Police began to back off the accusation about a week later after a coroner’s report said that Gatti may have killed himself as he was found hanged and suspended. Rodrigues’ lawyer said at the time that proved his client’s innocence because she could not have physically lifted Gatti.
A spokeswoman for the Pernambuco state court in the city of Recife confirmed that judge Ildete Verissimo de Lima ordered the release of Rodrigues, as the investigation determined that she “excludes the possibility of murder.”
“The victim … committed suicide by hanging,” Lima’s ruling read, referring to the police investigation findings.
Gatti’s family and friends in his adopted hometown of Montreal have continually denied the accusation that the boxer could have ever killed himself.
“Nobody believes whatsoever that there’s even a one percent chance of a suicide. He lived life to the fullest,” Ivano Scarpa, a close Gatti family friend, said at the boxer’s July 20 funeral service in Canada.
Gatti's Fight Career
two world titles in his 16-year pro career. In 1995, he won his first
out-pointing Tracy Harris Patterson to claim the IBF Junior Lightweight
Well-remembered is the Arturo
Gatti versus Tracy Harris Patterson bout of 1995. Known for his
punching and granite-like chin, Gatti truly captured the attention of
fans that day, when he defeated Patterson in Atlantic City. Gatti boxed
beautifully against Patterson and won his first title.
Fans also remember the polite and
humble guy that was always professional and made time for an in-ring
interview whether he won OR lost. And of course Arturo will always be
remembered the blood and guts he displayed as a true warrior in the
left everything he had in there.
(40-9, 31 KOs), nicknamed "Thunder", was best known for his
all-action style, which was epitomized in his classic trilogy with
in 2002 and 2003.
Gatti was a fixture at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., where he
huge crowds and fought many times, including the final nine fights of
first fight after the Ward trilogy, he captured a world title in his
division, by decision against Gianluca Branco for the vacant WBC Junior
Welterweight title in January 2004.
Gatti made two defenses before
losing the title to Floyd Mayweather Jr. via sixth-round TKO in June
returned to defeat Thomas Damgaard, but lost his final two bouts, a
TKO in a challenge to then-welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir in
followed by a one-sided beating from former "Contender" star Alfonso
Gomez in July 2007.
In the dressing room following the
seventh-round knockout loss to Gomez, Gatti announced his retirement.
Randy Neumann said it was tough for him to end that fight, simply
Gatti's incredible ability to come back in fights.
couldn't stop that fight, simply because he was Arturo Gatti," Neumann
said. "He was much more dignified to go out that way. He had to be
out. When he fought, you never knew if he could come back. He looked
still came back."
loss, Gatti acknowledged the end of all his travails and triumphs.
remember walking away from his last fight, and somebody walked up to
him in the
casino late at night and congratulated him," Duva said. "And he said,
'Why did he congratulate me?' And I said, 'He was excited to meet you.'
kind of looked very surprised by that.
"He had no idea what an icon
he was or how much he meant to people."
The 37-year-old Gatti, whose epic
trilogy with Micky Ward branded him one of the most exciting fighters
generation, retired in 2007 with a career record of 40-9 and 31
his titles, Gatti will be remembered for the slugfests. He was half of
magazine fight of the year four times for two the Ward fights as well
1997 fifth-round knockout of Gabriel Ruelas to retain the junior
title and a 1998 decision loss to Ivan Robinson.
two memorable battles with Robinson as well as dramatic fights with
Rodriguez, Angel Manfredy and Calvin Grove, all before the trilogy with
that defined his career.
entire boxing career he fought with us, we've known him since he was
promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events told The Associated Press. "It's
an unspeakable tragedy. I can't even find words. It's a horror."
a staple of HBO's boxing broadcasts, appearing on the network 21 times.
Sports is tremendously saddened by the passing of Arturo Gatti," HBO
Sports President Ross Greenburg said. "He was one of the legendary
in boxing, and his three epic battles with Micky Ward will live on in
history. All of us at HBO Sports will miss his warm and friendly
our deepest sympathy goes out to his manager Pat Lynch, promoter Main
led by Kathy Duva, and the entire Arturo Gatti family. Boxing has lost
and humble man."
been working in real estate in Montreal following his retirement, but
attended fights, as he did in April for the Timothy Bradley-Kendall
Welterweight unification bout at the Bell Centre in Montreal.