Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Baldomir – Gatti: A blue collar battle on the Boardwalk

By JE Grant

As the true welterweight world champion Argentinean Carlos Baldomir climbs into the ring to face Arturo Gatti, several of the thousands in attendance will have only one idea in mind: His dominant win over Zab Judah was a fluke and he is ripe for a Gatti return to prominence.

Charitably speaking, Baldomir entered his bout with Judah an underdog. In reality he was given almost no chance at victory and was to serve only as a tune-up for a Judah – Floyd Mayweather megafight.

At first blush, his 41-9-6 (12 KOs) record indicated possible journeyman status. Add to his low knockout percentage the fact that many of his losses were in Argentina and almost no one expected his 42nd victory would come over a super-skilled “Super” Zab.

A more detailed look at his record reveals that he is undefeated in his last 20 bouts and he has won in not only in Argentina, but the in the United States, Italy, Denmark, Germany, and England, and a scored a draw in Mexico. Winning internationally is especially difficult – promoters don’t bring foreign fighters in to beat hometown heroes.

Baldomir has also demonstrated a solid chin, having been stopped only once in 57 bouts (in his 7th fight). Judah had proven power and he did not dent Baldomir’s stiff chin.

Many in attendance in Boardwalk Hall will not have delved too deeply into Baldomir’s full record. Many won’t see his win over Judah as anything more than a win over an under-prepared champion. Many will see this as Gatti’s best chance at gaining a belt once more.

Always the crowd favorite in Atlantic City, Gatti is likely to enter the ring a betting favorite despite his recent record. His fans, and many of the boxing media, are seemingly so relieved that he is able to get a title shot avoiding a second sure disaster against Floyd Mayweather (the world’s best welterweight – but not the true champion), that they see Baldomir as easy pickings.

Gatti did in fact perform well in his last bout, in his most recent venture into the welterweight division against the previously undefeated, but clearly limited, Thomas Damgaard. He dominated the bout before stopping the Dane in the 11th round.

Indeed, since his trilogy with Mickey Ward, he decisioned the previously undefeated Gianluca Branco and knocked out undefeated Leonard Dorin as well as veteran Jesse James Leija in defense of his junior welterweight title.

Unfortunately that series of fights led to his meeting with Mayweather. Gatti did not win one second of one round as the great Mayweather pounded him without mercy. The veteran of many ring wars appeared as if he was fighting underwater against the fighter now widely seen as the world’s best pound-for-pound.

Many questions remain from that bout: Was Gatti’s loss indicative of an overall decline in his abilities? Was the struggle to make the 140 pound limit a possible culprit? Is Mayweather simply so good that we cannot make an assessment of Gatti’s remaining skills?

Of course the prime question is obvious: Have Gatti’s handlers found a golden opportunity to have their cash cow reap a title that was gained by Baldomir when an unfocused Zab Judah was looking forward to the riches of a bout with Mayweather?

PREDICTION: Gatti is always prepared and he will not overlook Baldomir, despite the fact that many of his followers think it will be an easy night. Gatti’s boxing ability against the plodding Baldomir will play a greater role in his game plan than punching power, which he has never proven at 147 pounds. Baldomir, though not especially fast or hard-hitting is a solid body-puncher and will press from the opening bell. He will be hit early and often but he will continue to apply pressure throughout. The scar tissue over Gatti’s eyes may prove vulnerable to Baldomir’s constant attack and there will be no let up if cuts develop. Expect a fast start by Gatti and a fade starting in the middle rounds as the naturally bigger and stronger Baldomir begins to land the harder, and more plentiful shots down the stretch. After this fight, American fight fans will know Baldomir, who like Gatti is a well-traveled blue-collar veteran, has finally come into his own at the end of a once-obscure career.

Baldomir by decision.


Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Spot-on article JE, even though I am leaning SLIGHTLY towards Gatti by decision. Baldomir is a tough cookie, and even though he is only about 5'9" and not a big puncher, he is a big and STRONG welterweight, and with a good chin. (*Sidenote-Both of these two will undoubtedly enter the ring as middleweights thanks to our current preposterous and absurd weigh-in 'system'.) This is no 'gimme for Gatti', and I only give him the slightest of edges. It's funny, I also wrote just the other day that I have a 'funny feeling' that cuts could be a factor for Gatti here, even though he hasn't cut much lately. I think it's either late round TKO for Baldomir - or decision/late round stoppage for Gatti. I guess I'll go with the latter, perhaps mostly because I kinda like the guy in all honesty...

* I do think that 147 is the right weight for Gatti at this stage, win or lose...

11:26 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Win or lose for Baldomir, I don't see his reign lasting long at all. (He's 35 for one thing I suppose!) But if Baldomir is a 'journeymen' - he is a DAMN GOOD one, that personifies the label and gives it honor. Judah had about EVERY conceivable advantage in that fight you could imagine (e.g speed, power, youth, talent, etc) but 'Baldi' STILL ended up winning through preseverence, resolve, and grit.

You've gotta kinda like fighters like that...

11:32 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

BTW- Are you familar with Graham Houston JE? If not, you should check him out. A real classy and straight-shooting brit Boxing writer that is professional and tells it like it is...


11:39 PM  
Blogger Gary Digital Williams said...

I thought I was the only one picking Baldomir. I don't know why I'm picking Gatti, but I was impressed by Baldomir's victory over Judah.

Glad to know I'm not too crazy!

9:48 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Gary -- You're definitely not crazy. I suspect Baldomir's win over Judah was no fluke.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Not crazy at all Gary (Good to see you!) as this guy 'Baldi' hasn't lost in nearly a decade, and just beat a legit top welterweight! He kind of reminds me a bit of Jose Antonio Rivera, as he is just steady and workmanlike. The very apt title to this article suggests as such. I think this fight is about a tossup, and if Baldomir was any more than a 2-1 underdog - I would bet him. (As it is, I'm staying away from this one. I don't particuarly like betting on Gatti fights, as there is just a bit too much emotion and potential variables involved!)

P.S-I have to hit your blog for an update on the 'Beltway' scene. (I'm still searching for a sattelite system that offers "Ballroom Boxing" on the West Coast. I may have to look into illegal options here soon! LOL!)

BTW-I heard that lt.hvy/cruiser Darnell "The Ding-A-Ling Man" Wilson put up a good tough battle in a close loss against someone recently (I can't recall who of the top of my head) Wilson isn't the most talented chap, but I've always liked his ring effort and affable personality! An excellent matchup would have been him against the late Julian "KO" Letterlough. GOOD GRIEF GARY! YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!

11:11 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Good call guys! Baldi was too strong, Gatti was off-the-mark and his feet a bit bit too wide, and...He needs to RETIRE. Simply put, he needs to retire.

As for Baldomir, I still hesitate to call the guy 'elite', but he was no 'fluke'. This guy is one tough cookie that shakes off shots as if they were 'water-pellets'. He isn't anything "spectacular", but he is about as steady as a boulder rolling down a gradual incline. And he has a chin like one too. Don't read TOO much into that 25% or 30% KO ratio either. He's not a big puncher, but not a Cory Spinks 'pitty-pat' one either. It's a bit better than the numbers would indicate, in largew part due to his diligence and STRENGTH.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

BTW-This just in: 'Baldi' isn't the world's best 147-pounder, but I am officially a fan of his!

12:36 AM  
Blogger Gary Digital Williams said...

Right now, guys, there are no Ballroom Boxing telecasts. The people who were producing the telecasts stopped because of a monetary dispute with the promoter.

Ballroom Boxing is on hiatus until September, anyway. Hopefully by then they will find someone else to do the telecasts.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Gary Digital Williams said...

Wilson lost a tough bout against Vadim Tokarev earlier this year. It was in Tokarev's hometown.

He hasn't fought since.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Ah...That's why. A shame, as I always looked forward to those telecasts from that unique venue. (They were very poorly advertised though Gary. The only reason I was able to catch them - on the West Coast - was because I am a Boxing 'junkie', and actively SEARCHED for them.) Anyways, however big or small, there is a definite 'niche' there somewhere with those shows. Without a doubt. I hope the best for Wilson as well, as he just seemed like one helluva guy, and with a great personality. (Fun to watch in the ring as well! Always gave it his all...)

11:05 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Baldomir has signed to face PBF??? Well, it was fun while it lasted.

6:18 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Yep...Well, at least he'll make good money in losing. (lol)

10:26 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Huh...It appears as though Gatti will (regretfully) continue on (147) in 2007...I understand it's "in their blood", but the guy is now a multi-millionaire, has a family, and has (probably) over half his life still ahead of him.

Just nuts to play "Russian Roulette" with his brain like that...

12:06 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I think Paul Williams may make us all forget about Gatti. Williams is the man who now deserves our focus. Gatti had his chance and it is now all over.

7:52 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Oh, good grief yes...Two different levels of fighters/talent there. Williams is bona-fide A-level material I.M.O, and possibly even A+!

1:23 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I'll go out on a limb..........Williams beats Margarito.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

If someone put a gun to my head......I would pick him too JE.

2:11 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

It's just so good to see a new name emerge so rapidly.

6:03 PM  

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