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Home Boxing The Nexus and the Poster “It’s Not Thunder You Hear. It’s Heart.”
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The Nexus and the Poster “It’s Not Thunder You Hear. It’s Heart.”


arturo_gatti_poster_4

These words, boldly crowning an “HBO Championship Boxing” poster touting Arturo Gatti’s January 2004 fight against Gianluca Branco (for the vacant WBC super lightweight title), simply and soberly summarized the career of a man the world would call “Thunder.” The first time I saw that poster, the nutcase, Gatti fan in me leapt for joy. Inside, of course.

By and large, fight posters are a lot like movie posters. Big visuals and catchy text command the reader’s eye and strike up an emotional feeling inside. Sometimes the feeling is “Man, I have GOT to see that.” Like with “Escape from New York” or Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson (the last two letters in each surname spelling “is on” just makes that poster pop). Sometimes, the feeling is “Guh-odd, is THAT gonna blow.” You know, like “Freddy Got Fingered” or Bernard Hopkins vs. Morrade Hakkar.

Sometimes, the poster makes entertains and makes you feel more than the actual movie it hails. Like the Gatti vs. Branco poster.

And it’s not like Gatti-Branco wasn’t a bad fight. It just wasn’t the fight Gatti fans were accustomed to experiencing. Gatti himself even downplayed his own performance; delivering a less-than-able self-critique. But the poster… Man, that poster said it all and delivered a remembrance of what Gatti should’ve done against a lesser-known contender.

The thrills professional boxing has provided for its most rabid fans has been here long before Gatti’s birth and were certain to continue in some sort of form long after he retired in 2007 after a tired seventh round TKO loss to “The Contender: Season One” alum Alfonso Gomez. Gatti fans worldwide knew this and breathed a contented sigh of relief; fondly acknowledging that they could easily pop in a VHS tape or a DVD of a Gatti fight and relive the violent spectacle without ever having to worry about “Thunder” entering a ring again. Owning these memories was like winning a different kind of lottery. In fact, I received a DVD set encapsulating “Thunder’s” entire televised fight career as a wedding gift from my good friend and colleague, Eugene “Mr. Sweet Science” Collins. It might sound silly, but it’s one of my favorite possessions.

In a Gatti fight, almost everything was a treat or an “Easter egg.” The ring walk song, whether it was “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, “Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti or “Thunderstruck” (Gatti’s most beloved anthem) by AC/DC. The crowd, who would’ve jumped into the ring to defend Gatti, bar fight-style, if they possibly could; especially in Atlantic City. Cutman Joe Souza putting the ring doctor in his place when the latter wouldn’t give the former enough room to work in the Wilson Rodriguez fight back in March of 1996. Even Rodriguez’ ring walk song in that fight was a delightful little Easter egg called “Rumble, Young Man, Rumble” by the late Sam Kellerman and his brother Max who calls ringside action for HBO today. There’s almost a sort of Karmic swirl happening there, isn’t there? Almost like the birth of a small galaxy. Although Gatti obviously didn’t invent boxing, he became a nexus of excitement that brought us back from the brink of all-too-often mediocrity.

A nexus of a boxing reality that, one second after Arturo Gatti took his final breath on Earth almost two weeks ago, ceased to exist.

When fans, hardcore or not, learned of Gatti’s death, the mental landscape of the game changed. It was somewhat similar to when former World Lightweight Champion Diego Corrales died, in May 2007, from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in Las Vegas. There was a numbness and a lingering disbelief because, like Corrales, Gatti was a superhero in the ring. Sure, neither fighter saved the planet from Galactus or Magneto but then again, how many four-color heroes didn’t have the occasional loss? And much like Captain America, Wolverine or Colossus, Gatti’s battles took nothing short of a superhuman effort to walk away from; win or lose. Was it really not OK for Gatti to lose against Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Or Ivan Robinson? Or Oscar De La Hoya? Or Micky Ward in their first fight?

No. Because when one watches something as visually and psychologically compelling as the Gatti-Ward trilogy, one winds up forgetting about a winner or a loser and just gets caught up. In the overuse of comic book icons, think The Hulk vs. The Thing. Could you always count on your favorite to win? No, you’d be too busy marveling over how many skyscrapers got smashed to hell in the process.

But Arturo Gatti wasn’t a superhero in the fictional sense as much as he was in the modern-day, legendary sense. His legend, alone, was based in his human toughness and this same toughness took, not just years, but opportunities away from “Thunder.” Can you imagine how battles against the likes of Corrales, former World Junior Welterweight Champion Ricky Hatton or TV and fan favorite Emanuel Augustus would turn out? Yeah, me too. In the deepest recesses of my welcome over-active imagination.

That’s just as well for everyone else who loved the Jersey transplant. And everyone else was hit where it hurts when Arturo died; which is funny and ironic, at the same time, because he had to suffer pain for us to live so vicariously through him. Much like we do with the film characters we live through in their epic struggles. Struggles that are borne from the initial images and words we first see on those posters.

Look, what else can be said about Arturo Gatti that hasn’t already been said after his passing or even throughout the duration of his life and career? There’s nothing new or originally verbose available so sometimes, as you may have noticed with the Patton Oswalt-esque, comic book references, the fanboy’s gotta come out. And sometimes, memories give way to syrupy flourishes.

Nonetheless, we are better people and fans for knowing and experiencing Arturo Gatti because he brought out the best in us for watching. He taught us how to be tough, how to not give up, how to enjoy life and how to show respect when it was truly heard. And the fans’ cheers rivaled the thunder whence Arturo Gatti was so aptly christened. As a result, the thunder inside Gatti rumbled silently yet resonated through his fans like a histrionic caffeine jitter. And as the thunderous pace within quickened and overcame an arena’s populace like a giant dragnet and their icon drove on; despite winning or losing, the truth would become so very clear.

It wasn’t thunder you heard. It was heart.

The poster was right all along.

A little about me…

For those of you who don’t know me (and I’m pretty sure there are a whole lot of y’all), my name is Coyote Duran and I’ve been at this writing game for five years now. I started at a really great little site called Talking Boxing in 2004; then decided to believe that writing for more than one site at one time would get me further in this game.

Wrong.

In 2005, I joined Doghouse Boxing and worked both gigs at the same time and damn near drove myself nuts. It was something I swore I’d never do again after finally resigning from Talking Boxing to write exclusively for Doghouse. Not long after, I accepted the reins of associate editor for Doghouse under the watchful eyes of enigmatic webmaster Chee and editor-in-chief Anthony Cocks. Well, my experiences in editing were few and far between because the latter knew how to handle a workload…when he wasn’t on big boats with round card girls. But eventually, I did, and loved what I did. I even had my own internet radio show last year called “Fightline with Coyote Duran” that lasted for a very short time when results went the opposite way of expectations. But it was fun! And I even had a Linkin Park song as my theme!

However, things started trickling off for me, creatively, and I had considered making some changes. So, you can imagine my joy (yes, joy) when I chatted with my former Doghouse Boxing colleague/radio show host/public relations genius/amateur porn god Benny “Big Dog” Henderson Jr. about an opportunity to work for Convicted Artist, I jumped at the chance. The site and its mission spoke to me and catered to all of my own personal creative pursuits. Besides a writer, I’m also a traditional artist who creates portraits in graphite, watercolor and acrylic mediums. I’m also a musician of 29 years and I’m hoping to earn a tattoo apprenticeship soon. I’m also a big Taylor Swift fan.

Dammit. That last part was out loud, wasn’t it?

I also really, REALLY dig my wife of a year-and a half, Debbie, Carlo Rossi sangria, Frosted Flakes (Kelloggs ONLY. I can smell the knockoffs a mile away. Ask my mom), Red Stripe beer, Han Solo, CSI: Miami, Fender guitars, animals with regular guy names (Our three turtles are named Steve, Sheldon and Benny. We almost named our cat Carl but we forgot and named her Gypsy instead) jalapenos and horror flicks. Zombies, in specific.

Things I don’t like: “The Karate Kid”, waffles, Perez Hilton (or Paris for that matter), Ann Coulter, cheap aluminum foil, those ass-heads who doll up their toddlers and stick ‘em in beauty pageants. And monkeys.

All right, it’s not that I DON’T like monkeys. I pretty much disapprove of their behavior in general. And I apologize for the grouping regarding toddlers and monkeys. I wasn’t alleging that toddlers get dolled up and stuck in pageants AND monkeys… I meant…Oh, screw it. You’re gonna see what you want.

Another of my favorite things that I’d like Convicted Artist fans to keep an eye out is a column I do called “Random Howlings.” It’s a 20 paragraph deal that consists of 10 paragraphs on boxing and 10 of non-boxing stuff. It’s pretty much all the goofy stuff I obsess about when I’m not watching boxing, creating art or heisting Frosted Flakes shipments. Mostly crap on TV. You’ll figure it out. You’re a sharp gang of Howlers. And I love doing mailbags so, please, don’t hesitate to fire off an e-mail calling me out on an article or my weird fascination with David Caruso. Well, hell, I might even do some pieces on music. As overused as the adage may be, the sky’s truly the limit now and I can’t wait to get on my elevator shoes. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen scoring some $9.00 Carlo Rossi.

It’s in a jug so it HAS to be good!

Coyote Duran
Associate editor, Convicted Artist Magazine
July 2009

Got a beef? Don’t break any of the good stuff in your house. E-mail me instead at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and start howling!

arturo_gatti_poster

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anonymous  - poster |
hey man,

this is the only site i've seen that even mentions the gatti poster (it's not thunder you hear. it's heart). I used to see that poster at my gym all the time and I cant even find an image of it online (yet alone a poster of it). Do you have an image of it?
linda |
well,thank you for share your article
I like your article very much, and I would appreciate it if you can write more article about this.
Coyote Duran  - re: SIn Supplier |
Man, I'm totally blushing here, homie! Hey, team stuff here, bro'! We stand together! This decision will be the best, my man because it's in the here and now. Here's to the future of Convicted Artist!

Eugene "Mr Sweet Science" Coll wrote:
Once again, the master shows us how it's done. Great read brother. I especially liked the part about me lol. Seriously though, I look forward to the endless possibilities here ( I use cliches too) and can't thank you and Benny enough for making the best decision I have made in a while, also be the easiest.
Eugene "Mr Sweet Science" Coll  - SIn Supplier |
Once again, the master shows us how it's done. Great read brother. I especially liked the part about me lol. Seriously though, I look forward to the endless possibilities here ( I use cliches too) and can't thank you and Benny enough for making the best decision I have made in a while, also be the easiest.
Coyote Duran  - Thanks! |
Thank you for reading, Jayme, I appreciated it! I did, however, make the mistake of having "2004" on the brain when I referenced the Wilson Rodriguez fight. It was 1996. D'oh!
Jayme |
great read
 
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