By Dave Spencer / Fightnews Canada
Montreal said goodbye to a champion Monday as a standing-room only crowd of family and friends packed the Notre Dame de la Defence Church in the city’s Little Italy District for the funeral of Arturo Gatti. Close to a thousand people clogged the aisles and spilled outside for the one hour service that included a WBC belt being awarded posthumously and presented to his mother Ida Gatti. Everyone from the Montreal boxing community was on hand including stars Lucian Bute, Joachim Alcine, Yvon Michel and Stephane Larouche along with childhood friends Mike Moffa and Victor Salvatore. Letters from the Mayor of Jersey City and Mike Tyson were read aloud to those in attendance. Tyson’s words recalled first meeting a very young Gatti in the Catskills while training with the likes of Matthew Hilton. Stories were told of a young Gatti making the trip down to Jersey shore as a teenager with no money and just a few clothes bundled in plastic bag as he met up with his brother Joe who had made the trip a few years earlier in pursuit of the same goal. Mourners came from far and wide including promoters Carl Morreti and Kathy Duva, longtime trainer Buddy McGirt, and the man he’ll be forever linked with, Micky Ward. The misty-eyed gathering stood and applauded as the casket containing the two-time champion left the building, saying goodbye and thank you for the final time.