Perfect pick-me-up for the Golden Boy
Oscar De La Hoya lost two title fights in heartbreaking fashion before fighting Arturo Gatti. The Golden Boy lost his WBC Welterweight belt by controversial majority decision to “Tito” Trinidad in 1999. The following year, Shane Mosley beat De La Hoya via split decision for the WBC and IBA titles. De La Hoya needed a win for his confidence and public interest. Arturo Gatti, an entertaining fighter on a four-win streak, fit the bill perfectly for HBO. Everything went right for the Golden Boy on this night.
The first round provided much action for both fighters. De La Hoya landed stiff one-two combos at both levels as Gatti catches him with lunging left hooks. Multiple exchanges, in short, powerful spurts, occupied the round until De La Hoya caught Gatti with his patented left hook. Gatti survived the round, delaying the inevitable. De La Hoya began to land hard three-punch body combos and changing levels with his powerful right hand. Gatti couldn’t mount much offense besides a couple left hooks that caught the Golden Boy. Hector Rocha, Gatti’s trainer, threw in the towel round five to save Gatti from himself. De La Hoya gets the fifth round TKO, ending Gatt’s winning streak at four.
De La Hoya won his next four fights, including a TKO victory against Fernando Vargas to unify super welterweight titles. Gatti won one more fight before starting the classic trilogy with Micky Ward.