Arturo Gatti 1972-2009
Former Canadian pro boxer Arturo Gatti, 37, was found dead on Saturday at a posh seaside resort in northeastern Brazil, where he was spending a second honeymoon with his Brazilian wife and their nearly year old son. The couple had arrived on Friday and were observed arguing in a bar that evening.
According to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo, the former fighter and his wife traveled to Brazil to patch up their troubled marriage. They were rumored to be on the verge of separating and were reportedly trying to work things out. Friends indicate the pair were extremely jealous of each other and he would get angry when she dressed provocatively on their visits to her homeland of Brazil.
Brazilian authorities in the town of Porto de Galinhas indicate that they discovered the body of Gatti in a pool of blood at his rented condo apartment at 6:00 a.m. on July 11, 2009. Police investigator Edilson Alves, who called the death strange, indicated that there were no bullet or stab wounds but there was blood at the scene of the crime. Very few details have been released but authorities suspect foul play.
UPDATE: Gatti's 23-year-old wife Amanda Carina Barbosa Rodrigues has been arrested on suspicion of strangling her husband to death with a purse strap. Police questioned her and became suspicious when she began to give inconsistent answers to their questions. She reportedly was in the couple's rented condo for ten hours before calling authorities to report that her husband was dead. Brazilian newspaper O Globo has a photo of Amanda Rodrigues.
A bloody purse strap has been removed from the scene as evidence. It has also been reported that Gatti suffered a head injury prior to his death.
The retired champ, known as Thunder, was scheduled to testify in a New York court next week regarding a lawsuit that was filed by former fighter Joey Gamache against Gatti and the New York State Athletic Commission. Gamache was left permanently disabled following a fight in February 2000 with Gatti, who knocked him down twice in the first round at Madison Square Garden and left him severely injured in the second round.
According to court affidavits, Gatti weighed 19 pounds more on fight day than he did the day before when he submitted to the official fight weigh-in, giving him a significant weight advantage over his opponent.
Gatti was born in Italy and raised in Montreal, but has lived in New Jersey since 1991. He began boxing at age eight and retired from the sport in July 2007. His brawling style and natural charisma made him a fan favorite. Gatti participated in Fight of the Year in 1996-1998. His three epic bouts with Micky Ward have been recognized as one of the greatest trilogies in boxing history.
UPDATE: July 30, 2009 - the death of Arturo Gatti has been ruled a suicide by hanging. Amanda Rodrigues has been released from jail, where she has been held on suspicion of murder.