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
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…
Record 59-7 (47)
titles: Former WBC Feather and undefeated Super-Feather, September 74
-June 75 and May 81-June 82 respectively.
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.
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.
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.
defeats: Ruben Olivares twice by TKO, Bazooka Limon, Boza Edwards,
Alex Arguello and Ray Mancini.
Italian-Canadian (fights out of New Jersey)
Status: Active former World Champion campaigning in the Light-
Record: 35-6 (26)
titles: Former IBF Undefeated Super-Featherweight Champion Mar 95-
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.
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.
wins: Tracey Harris Patterson (twice), Wilson Rodriguez, Gabriel
Ruelas, Calvin Grove, Terron Millet, and Mickey Ward.
defeats: A cut stoppage to Angel Manfredy, two razor tight thrillers
with Ivan Robinson then more recently Oscar De La Hoya and Mickey Ward.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
fight punch stats reveal Chacon threw 623 punches, Gatti 701 through the
six rounds and 41 seconds the fight lasted.
Gatti TKO 7.