Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report

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If Arturo Gatti Is Hall of Fame Worthy, Why Not Nigel Benn?

Benn8

(Nigel Benn)

By. BrotherJR

4/6/13

Now before I decided to touch on this topic I knew beforehand that this entry will strike a nerve with a lot of folks, but you can never please everybody, especially when it comes to boxing.  With that being said when news broke that last November that former Jr. Lightweight and Light Welterweight champion Arturo “Thunder” Gatti would be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) for the class of 2013, it led me to do a lot of  thinking.  First off, I wondered is Gatti really a Hall of Fame worthy fighter?   Did Gatti really accomplish enough during his boxing career to have such an honor, the highest honor for a boxer, bestowed upon him?  And if Gatti is really considered a Hall of Fame boxer based on what he’s done in the ring, are there other fighters that are more worthy and more deserving?

First it must be noted that over the years, the caliber of fighter that’s been inducted into the IBHOF has dipped. It can be argued that 15-20 years ago, Arturo Gatti would have not even be considered for the Hall of Fame. The process has always been a bit head scratching. An example of this the fact that this year’s Hall of Fame class includes former WBA Jr. Flyweight champion Myung Woo-Yuh of Korea. Yuh is a man who was a champion for seven years (consecutively), making seventeen title defenses within that span. In fact according to BoxRec, Yuh is ranked number 5 among their all time Jr. Flyweights. Yuh retired in 1993. It’s taken him twenty years for Myung Woo-Yuh to elected the the IBHOF while Gatti is selected in his first year of eligibility. However, we are living in a different time today and things have changed. Arturo Gatti was no bum, he could definitely fight.  However, it seems that the reason that Gatti was nominated to the IBHOF has largely due to the excitement that he gave fans with his all out, balls to the wall style in the ring.  He was vulnerable and could be hit, but would always fight back.  He thrilled fans for a decade and left our hearts pounding.  Starting with his title-winning victory over Tracy Harris Patterson in December 1995 to win the Jr. Lightweight title, Gatti thrilled us with classic war after classic war.  There are almost too many to mention.  From Wilson Rodriguez to Gabe Ruelas to his two fights against Ivan Robinson and of course his three fight series against Micky Ward, Arturo Gatti was the most exciting fighter in the sport during his era.  It’s because of that as well as his accomplishments is what carried the day for Gatti and makes him a current Hall of Famer boxer.

My question is however, if Gatti is IBHOF worthy, why isn’t Nigel Benn? When you look at the career of Benn, the fighter known as the “Dark Destroyer” was just as exciting as Gatti, yet far more accomplished.  Benn, a two-time and two division champion at Middleweight and Super Middleweight, thrilled fighters in very much the same way as Gatti did.  Just like Gatti was involved in sensational fights with Micky Ward, Gabe Ruelas, and Wilson Rodriguez, Benn had his share of fantastic battles as well.  I would argue that Benn’s two fights with Chris Eubank, his fight with Iran Barkley, his stoppage of Doug DeWitt, and his ultimately ill-fated war with Gerald McClellan were exciting as they come. Hell, even Benn’s fights against lesser competition, be it his four round KO over Lou Gent, his stoppage over Danny Perez, and his wild battle with Anthony Logan were thrillers.  You also have to figure in the fact that  Benn’s title reign as WBO Middleweight Champion in 1990 and WBC Super Middleweight Champion from 1992 to1996, exceeded Gatti’s combined reigns as Jr. Lightweight and Light Welterweight Champion (Gatti’s Jr. Lightweight title reign lasting from 1995-1997 while his Light Welterweight Reign lasting from 2004-2005).  Most importantly, in the most significant bouts of Nigel Benn’s career, his second bout with Chris Eubank and his war with Gerald McClellan, Benn drew with Eubank (a bout in which I felt he edged out) and stopped McClellan.  Now tell me what significant bout did Gatti win during his career against an elite opponent?

I’m not going to go out of my way and begrudge the nomination of Arturo Gatti to this year’s IBHOF class.  While I question it, I certainly see the argument on why he deserves such an honor.  This could very well be a case that this year there was a shallow pool of fighters to choose from. The issue is, if you’re going to say that Arturo Gatti is deserving of the Hall of Fame, then Nigel Benn is worthy of the same honor.  And upon further inspection, when you look at the boxing resume of Benn, it’s far greater than  the resume of Gatti.  The bottom line is, given today’s standards on what constitutes a boxer being recognized or considered for the Hall of Fame, if Arturo Gatti is a Hall of Famer, so is Nigel Benn.

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April 6, 2013 - Posted by | Blog, Boxing, Fights | , , , , ,

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