AC's favorite fighter, Arturo brings in the big bucks all around town
The litany rolls around in these environs much like the old Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
But instead of "Heeeeere's Johnny," it's "Heeeere's Arturo."
As in Arturo Gatti, who will fight Carlos Baldomir for the WBC welterweight championship at Boardwalk Hall Saturday night.
The numbers please.
This will probably be Gatti's seventh straight Boardwalk Hall sellout (take that Madonna), as this fighter has almost made the CRDA's $90 million Boardwalk Hall reinvestment worthwhile for the Greater Atlantic City area by himself. Gatti has fought 21 times previously in Atlantic City, with 17 victories. Many of these fights have been ring wars during which Gatti has suffered much punishment, but always seemed to win the moment.
Go back to the trilogy with Mickey Ward, or his enduring 17 straight punches against Gabriel Ruelas, or the whipping he took last year from Floyd Mayweather. I thought he would never recover from the latter.
But he did recover. He defeated Thomas Daamgard last January at Boardwalk Hall and all was well once again in the Gatti-Atlantic City universe.
They should build a statue of Gatti at Boardwalk Hall, right next to one of Harrah's Entertainment boxing and concert czar Ken Condon, the man who has displayed the savvy to keep Gatti and Boardwalk Hall as the perfect mix.
A Gatti fight in town means another live HBO telecast will originate from Atlantic City with that great overhead view of the Boardwalk on a sultry July evening.
Try getting a room in town this weekend. Plus, with the Night in Venice celebration slated for Ocean City, there might not be a room to be had anywhere up and down the coast.
This isn't going to last forever, but history will dictate that this was the Gatti Age of boxing in Atlantic City at a time when the sport was devoid of any real heavyweight heroes.
Gatti is by no means the "greatest fighter ever," but he certainly is entertaining, with a following that makes him a sure-fire casino drop hero.
Everybody makes money when Gatti fights in Atlantic City. Jersey City descends on the city that's Always Turned On. It becomes a weekend event where everything is centered around the Gatti fight.
With his chiseled body and his aura, Gatti is also a female favorite. There are more females in the audience than usual when he fights, and the entire Gatti fight crowd is different from other fight crowds at Boardwalk Hall.
Let's just say that it's Saturday Night Fever, Gatti style.
"Stayin' Alive" remains his mantra as he once again faces a challenge, this time from a worthy opponent in Baldomir, who is 42-9-6.
Gatti has been written off more times than the two-martini lunch, but don't expect him to lose Saturday night. This will be the first time he fights in Atlantic City as a father; Sophia Bella Gatti arrived on March 31.
He also now looks past boxing as a real estate entrepreneur, selling lavish condos in his native Montreal.
And on Sept. 22, the Atlantic City Surf will host an Arturo Gatti bobblehead night recognizing what Gatti has meant to the city's image.
Boxing fans that have spent time in Atlantic City know Micky Ward as one of the toughest fighters to ever mix it up in the ring, including three legendary battles with the late Arturo Gatti.