VIA BARSTOOL SPORTS: I was three years old on May 18th, 2002. Just under two months away from turning four. I don’t remember Gatti/Ward I at all, but I remember it being described to me growing up. My brother, who is 12 years older than me, would play EA Fight Night Round 2 with me and when I didn’t know who to pick, he’d always recommend Gatti (he played as Ward). Him and his friends that would come over would gush about this legendary trilogy between Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti, often times bringing up “Round 9″. I was really too young to grasp how phenomenal a fight it was, even if I had seen it…but I hadn’t. I forgot about it, and a few years went by.
Then, my Grandma was babysitting me one day when I was no older than 9 or 10, and my Uncle Joe called me into the kitchen where he had a very tiny box TV usually tuned in to horse racing. This time, ESPN Classic was on, and he asked if I had ever seen the first fight between Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti. When I told him I hadn’t, he said “Well Robbie, sit down”. He was an old school Featherweight Champion who just fucking looooved the sport. Watching that fight with him was an experience. It didn’t matter that the television it was playing on was maybe 8 inches. Round 9 was the closest thing to a Rocky fight I’ve ever seen, still to this day. In fact, you could say “Round 9″ to a fight fan and they’d know immediately that you were talking about this fight. They should almost retire the ninth round in all of boxing. Just skip it like hotels skip the 13th floor. Anyway, just do yourself a favor a watch this fight. I don’t care if you’ve seen it or if you haven’t, it’s worth watching today on the fifteenth anniversary. Goes to show how a certain sporting moment can leave a lasting memory as well, because when my Uncle Joe passed a few years back, one of the first things I thought of was watching this fight with him. Alright I’m done being mushy, go watch these two barbarians beat the fuck out of each other.
P.S. If you don’t have time for the whole fight, at least watch this highlight tape: