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Ring Magazine

Concannon's Corner

Personal Biography

Dream Match
Chacon vs. Gatti

By:  Paul    Concannon

The history of the Super-featherweight division is rich with exciting bouts, great warriors, stunning rivalries and unbelievable drama. If one were to put together a vague top ten of the greatest battles ever to take place in the relatively brief history of the 135 pound class, certain names would crop up repeatedly; think former WBC champion Bobby Chacon and his outstanding series of bouts against fellow thrill merchants Bazooka Limon or Boza Edwards. We have a handful of outstanding candidates and then fast-forward roughly a decade and a half to the mid- nineties to Arturo Gatti during his IBF title reign against the likes of Tracey Harris Patterson, Gabriel Ruelas and Wilson Rodriguez and you have a similar story.

Think of men getting rocked, cut, floored and battered to the very edge of defeat and coming back to score knockdowns and dramatic knockouts, imagine back and forth breath-taking toe to toe slugfests with clichéd yet appropriate labels like ‘Fight of the Year,’ or ‘All out war,’ and you have Bobby Chacon and Arturo Gatti in a nutshell.  Time and history separate Chacon and Gatti, but their blood, bravery, power and astonishing heart will bind them forever; this is what may have happened had these two great sluggers ever gone toe to toe…

Profiles

Bobby Chacon
Country: USA
Status: Retired
Record 59-7 (47)

World titles: Former WBC Feather and undefeated Super-Feather, September 74 -June 75 and May 81-June 82 respectively.

Style and strengths:  Wildly exciting, short, crafty slugger with a deceptive reach.  Good counter-puncher with excellent power as his 47 inside schedule wins attests. Could fight off the ropes or in the trenches and when in the mood very difficult to hit with a clean punch.

Weaknesses: For all his defensive ability Chacon would often take a beating in order to give one back.  He was prone to cuts and flash knockdowns.

Notable wins: Chucho Castillo, Danny Lopez, Alfredo Marcano, Bazooka Limon (Chacon was 2-1-1 over the Mexican banger and the their last fight, a 15 rounder for the WBC Super-Featherweight title was one of the greatest brawls of all time, Chacon was down twice, Limon once), Cornelius Boza Edwards, and Ruben Olivares.

Notable defeats: Ruben Olivares twice by TKO, Bazooka Limon, Boza Edwards, Alex Arguello and Ray Mancini.

Arturo Gatti
Country: Italian-Canadian (fights out of New Jersey)
Status: Active former World Champion campaigning in the Light- Welterweight division
Record: 35-6 (26)

World titles: Former IBF Undefeated Super-Featherweight Champion Mar 95- April 96.

Style and strengths: A tall, wiry slugger with good boxing skills and a penchant for a good brawl, fine body puncher, great chin and KO power in each hand; labeled by many as the most exciting fighter currently active in boxing. Improving with age and coming off a career best boxing display against Mickey Ward.

Weaknesses: Defense, sometimes simply eats punches in order to land his own, it is not unknown for his opponents to have a near 50% accuracy ratio on him.  He is a bleeder whose eyes swell easily and despite a great chin, no stranger to the canvas.

Notable wins: Tracey Harris Patterson (twice), Wilson Rodriguez, Gabriel Ruelas, Calvin Grove, Terron Millet, and Mickey Ward.

Notable defeats: A cut stoppage to Angel Manfredy, two razor tight thrillers with Ivan Robinson then more recently Oscar De La Hoya and Mickey Ward.

The Fight…

Knowledgeable, casual, fanatic and fair weather alike are drawn to a bout which promises fire-works, the pay per view is a roaring success and popularity of the two fighters ensures a sell-out live gate.

As they square off it’s apparent how much bigger Gatti is, taller and with the better build he is big for a super-featherweight; it looks like a Lightweight versus a Featherweight during the referees instructions.

Seconds after the bell the shorter Chacon attempts a lunging right and follows with a sweeping left hook that grazes the taller New Jersey based banger whose more upright stance exaggerates the height difference even further.  Gatti pumps out his jab to attempt to keep the shorter man at bay.  Chacon ducks under a sweeping hook to land a right to the body left to the head combination and Gatti ties him up briefly.  Both men break before the referee calls and both score, Gatti with a jab-right combination and Chacon with another crisp right.  Crouching low Chacon has more success with the right over the top of the Gatti jab and lands the shot three times before the bell. It’s Chacons’s round.

It’s more of the same in round two, Gatti fires the straight left and right cross with limited success and the canny Chacon ducks low and leaps in with crashing right hands either from a low defensive crouch or over the top of the jab. Gatti’s excellent chin enables him to hold the shots, but the regularity that they are landing causes concern in the Gatti corner. Bobby lands a smacking left uppercut and when Arturo raises his hands he follows up with an effective right-left-right-left combination to the ribs. Arturo neglects the jab and goes toe to toe, landing his vaunted left hook for the first time sending Chacon off balance, but unhurt and smiling. Both connect during a brief exchange, but the wily Chacon has the edge in accuracy. Round to Chacon, but he has his real first taste of Gatti power.

Realizing that his height is as much a disadvantage as advantage against a man used to looking up at his opponents, Gatti goes forward in the third round and attacks with hooks and straight rights. Chacon is tantalizingly close, but while he appears to be there to be hit many of the shots coming his way are craftily ducked or blocked as he sways from the waist and moves his head, all the time landing with a high percentage of his own punches. Gatti aims his attack downstairs. From the cheap seats it looks for all the world like a slugfest through round three , but once again it’s the smaller man with the subtler defense doing the best of the scoring, none the less, it’s an exciting round and ends with Chacon on the ropes and Gatti, who now has a slight swelling below his left eye, attacking.

Bang; round four has barely begun and Gatti is on the seat of his pants from a Chacon left jab-right hook combo. Up and smiling Gatti appears to be okay, but Chacon backs him up and more swinging rights and lefts leave Gatti unsteady and the crowd in a frenzy.  Gatti needs to hold, but the warrior in him fights back and another agonizing right from Chacon stuns him again.  The referee hovers closely as Chacon throws his complete arsenal at Gatti who seems on the verge of being stopped when a sudden crashing hook high on the head of Chacon causes a wobble and suddenly it is he on unsteady legs.  Both men abandon defense and fight all-out. Gatti is tagged by another flush right seconds before the bell and he groggily returns to the wrong corner, his swelling worsening.

Not one to be out-manned, Gatti thunders forward and pins Chacon on the ropes in round five, and the hitherto crafty defense of the Californian is replaced by a grim toughness as Gatti suddenly connects with a stream of heavy looking punches to both head and body.  Chacon will take a barrage, come back with a punch or two of his own, and the pattern will continue for the whole round.  Chacon smiles, but is taking shots and emerges from an exchange with cuts over the right eye and under the left.  Neither cut threatens a stoppage. A fast one-two on the bell catches Gatti cleanly, he wins the round hugely and the crowd roar at a thrilling fifth.

Round six is a brutal three minutes. Gatti is hell bent on a knockout and swings his left hook like a mace as he attacks the ever countering and blood spattered Chacon without let-up. Gatti is cut over the left eye and the two men smile grimly as claret and sweat fly through the air during the action.  A furious Chacon swings his right hand to the face and left to the body and staggers Gatti on the two-minute mark. Once again a wobbly Gatti fights back and pins Chacon against the ropes with another savage flurry, ignoring all the missiles coming his way he batters the smiling American with uppercuts, hooks, body shots and right crosses. 

During what seems like the worst part of the onslaught the ever bobbing and weaving Chacon lands a huge uppercut and Gatti is on the seat of his pants against the run of play - he is up at 7.  The bell prevents another Chacon assault and an exhausted Gatti smiles grimly as he trudges back to his corner and the crowd are on their feet, raucous witnesses to an epic struggle.

Gatti’s corner-men tell him to fight off the jab and let the knockout come naturally rather than eating dangerous counters while attempting to find the pay-off, but the words seem lost on the dazed and trance like Italian-Canadian who doesn’t even blink when adrenalin is applied to his cut.

Gatti comes out from the corner still bleeding, he has been down twice and staggered a few times; Chacon goes at him like a buzz saw early in the seventh and several crisp shots have Gatti backing into a corner seconds into the round.  Showing a remarkable chin, Gatti absorbs several punches flush.  The referee seems poised for a stoppage, but Gatti hits back with a combination just in time to buy some precious seconds. 

Seconds later another combination backs him up, many observers are screaming for the fight to be stopped and a Gatti corner-man stands poised with a towel just as the final punch lands. 

Chacon would later say that he never saw Arturo Gatti’s fight saving punch coming.  With his back to the ropes and all hope lost Gatti reaches into the well of greatness to nail Chacon with a crushing left hook to the point of the jaw, it’s a highlight reel finish. Chacon drops like a stone, and despite somehow getting to his feet at the count of nine, his head in a confused fog, the referee wisely stops the bout and leads the dazed, blood-spattered little warrior back to his corner.

It is all smiles and mutual respect at the post fight interview. Gatti humbly admits that the one miracle shot was all he had left and Chacon praises his victor’s incredible toughness.  The hacks are calling it a nominee for fight of the decade.

Post fight punch stats reveal Chacon threw 623 punches, Gatti 701 through the six rounds and 41 seconds the fight lasted.

Result: Gatti TKO 7.

 

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