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Alexis Arguello and Arturo Gatti: The Loss of the Everyman's Fighters.

gatti_murder

Last week, while in the midst of a work assignment, I received a text that former lightweight champion Alexis Arguello was found dead in his home. The cause of death? Suicide. I thought that the Nicaraguan officials must have been mistaken since Alexis had kicked a decade long drug habit and had recently been elected the mayor of Nicaragua 's capital city of Managua . This had to be a case of mistaken identity or maybe a robbery that Arguello has fallen victim to, but alas, it was true. One of the greatest fighters of my time had fallen victim to depression and decided to take his own life.
The boxing world moved on until Saturday morning. That was when I received a surprising call from Convicted Artist Magazine's Bureau Chief, Benny Henderson Jr. Benny who was in transit at the time was calling me to ask if the rumor that former two time junior welterweight champion Arturo Gatti was found dead in a hotel room in Brazil was true. Be a skeptic, I told him that someone was pulling his leg, but that I would ask my contacts to track down whether this was just some kind of cruel joke. I didn't need to go too far, as I pulled up my home page and Yahoo's Kevin Iole was reporting that Arturo was indeed found lifeless in his Brazilian hotel room. A number of things swirled in my head when I read how his body was found with no bullet or stab wounds, but there was blood found around his body.
 
 I called my Fightin' Words co-host Butch to alert him to this news and without full knowledge, we began to speculate that without bullet or stab wounds, maybe an undetected aneurysm from the years of abuse Arturo had sustained for the boxing public, had burst, creating a fatal bleed. That was the only logical explanation for a fighter that had battled through three of the greatest fights with Mickey Ward that Butch, Benny and I had witnessed in our lives. Not once, at that time, did we ever think that Arturo could have been murdered.
Then the unthinkable, Arturo was found with a head wound, was strangled to death and his wife, who was present with him and his 1 year old son, on a second honeymoon, was brought in for questioning. Wait! Arturo's wife was being brought in for questioning of his death while on a second honeymoon? Surely this can't be true; they had their one year old child along with them! This had to be routine questioning. How could a man who had survived many battles and been one of the toughest guys I have ever seen in boxing, succumb to a head injury and be strangled? As the reports of domestic problems and the fact that Arturo may have been intoxicated when he was struck on the back of the head and then strangled, surfaced, it became clear to me. Arturo had been murdered by his wife, the one person who had been the closest to him, with no regard for her 1 year old son!
The past few months have been a very tough time for myself and a lot of other people. The deaths of celebrities like Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Billy Mays and Michael Jackson have hit home. But in the sports world, these deaths have been compounded by the sudden losses of former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair, and now guys who many of the "everyman" has followed, former two time world Jr. Welter champ Arturo Gatti and hall of fame lightweight Alexis Arguello. This has been a very tough couple of months for everyone, but the "everyman" has taken these deaths personally. Both Arguello and Gatti presented themselves as a guy that all boxing fans could sit down, have a beer and converse with, without having to be nervous. These guys were typical "everyman"!
These are guys that boxing will miss and boxers will hopefully emulate themselves after for years to come. I will forever be grateful to these "everyman" and the legacy they have left behind.
RIP Alexis Arguello and Arturo Gatti!

Bob Carroll
www.convictedartist.com

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