Feature Story

Gatti: Questions remain

By Dave Spencer / Fightnews Canada

It was as quick a turn-around as you can get, known for being able to dramatically turn things around inside the ring, things turned a full 180 degrees in the investigation of the death of former two-time world champion Arturo Gatti Thursday as he was ruled to have committed suicide. His wife Amanda Rodrigues was freed from jail where she had been held in Brazil since July 12th as the only suspect in the death of the 37 year-old retired fighter. “It’s unbelievable,” Arturo’s brother and former pro fighter Joe Gatti told the CBC Thursday, “A kid like that shouldn’t go out like that, and now this.”

Plans are said for the body to be exhumed and a second autopsy to be done in Montreal. “I let it go,” said the elder Gatti of having the body officially looked at when it first came to Montreal, “Plans were already in place for the funeral; that was a big mistake.”

Friends and family of the boxer all vehemently denied that suicide was a possibility for the former champion and questioned the investigation that eventually pointed the finger at Gatti himself.

Original reports had police saying the boxer was found in his underwear with signs of blows to his neck and face and a bloody purse strap nearby. The body had been there eight to ten hours before Rodrigues notified police. A bloodied steak knife was also found near the scene that was responsible for a blow to the back of the head of Gatti.

At the time, there was no mention of Gatti being suspended or hung, something that would come out later in the coroner’s report. “She is fragile, young and skinny — how could she kill a boxing champion?” the lawyer for Rodrigues said at the time. “When she awoke, she presumed he had committed suicide. But she had nothing to do with it.” No mention of the denial and a subsequent letter from the accused proclaiming innocence ever mentioned the body hanging.

The coroner’s report that surfaced the same day of Gatti’s funeral in Montreal was particularly vague in what could have been the cause of death leaving all possibilities open, saying the retired boxer could have died in an unexplained accident, been murdered, or committed suicide.

A memorial Mass for Gatti was held Thursday in Jersey City New Jersey.

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