Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward (1st meeting)
2002-05-18 : Micky Ward 141½ lbs beat Arturo Gatti 141½ lbs by MD in round 10 of 10
- Location: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA
- Referee: Frank Cappuccino
- Judge: Frank Lombardi 94-94
- Judge: Dick Flaherty 94-93
- Judge: Steve Weisfeld 95-93
--- 2002 Boxing Writers Association of America Fight of the Year ---
--- 2002 Ring Magazine Fight of the Year ---
--- 2002 Ring Magazine Round of the Year - Round 9 ---
--- 2002 USA Today Round of the Year - Round 9 ---
- Arturo Gatti 34-5 (28 KOs) vs. Mickey Ward 37-11 (27 KOs)
- Gatti penalized one point for a low blow in Round 4 that sent Ward to the mat.
- Gatti was knocked down in Round 9 from a left hook to the body.
- HBO's Harold Lederman scored the bout a 94-94 draw. Larry Merchant had Gatti winning "by a couple of points" and Emanuel Steward gave the fight to Gatti.
Gatti earned Round 1 with quick flurries that seemed to frustrate Ward, who looked to get in close. A cut opened, midway through the opening round, on the outside of Ward's right eye; a result of a left hook from Gatti. It would trickle down the side of ward's face throughout. Gatti took the 2nd round appearing supremely confident, moving in and out well and connecting with solid combinations both upstairs and to the body. Gatti was warned in Round 2 by Referee Frank Cappuccino to "keep them punches up brother." Micky Ward had a much stronger Round 3 as Gatti, who did not have the same energetic movement, boxed less and the two traded punches. Ward rocked Gatti at 1:07 of Round 4 with a right hand, but Gatti returned the favor at 2:05 with a left hook which caused Ward to take a couple of steps back. A left hand which landed just below Ward's waistband at 2:45 of Round 4 sent Ward immediately down and in pain. Cappuccino, ruled the punch to have been a low blow and penalized Gatti one point. Ward was told he would be given five minutes to recover, but due to miscommunication with the timekeeper the bell rang and the round was ended just seconds later. In Round 4, Ward began bleeding from the nose and a cut to his bottom lip. Gatti began to develop swelling to his left eye. In the 5th Round, Gatti connected well early with combinations and Ward found more success late. A flurry by Gatti sent Ward back into the ropes at 2:40, to which Ward came forward and replied with an uncontested combination to Gatti's chin and hurt him with a left hook to the body. Also in the 5th, which was referred to by broadcaster Jim Lampley as "a hellacious round", a nick opened in the corner of Gatti's right eye. Arturo returned to movement and boxing in Round 6 and found increased success. He slipped in and out well and and at times peppered Ward with flurries. Ward, who was determined to come forward and land on the inside, found some success with the right hand upstairs. In Round 7, Gatti dominated the round and worked over Ward with combinations to the head. Toward the end of the 7th, Ward switched to a southpaw stance momentarily. Following the round, Ward was told by his corner, "Bang the shit our of him. Don't be a punching bag. If you're going to be a punching bag, I'm not going to let this go like this. Fight hard." The 8th Round was strong for Mickey. He was able to get inside and bang away against Gatti who was clearly arm weary. Gatti landed a nice combination in the final minute of the round, but Ward came back, hurt Gatti, and had him against the ropes and on the defensive as the bell sounded. Ward come out throwing aggressively as the bell sounded to begin Round 9. A left hook to the body sent Arturo Gatti down to one knee at 0:15 of Round 9. He remained one knee before getting to his feet at the count of nine. Ward came forward, as all those in attendance were on the feet and applauding, and connected with a barrage that had stumbled Gatti but he remarkably kept his feet. Gatti retaliated with looping shots around Ward's guard, got him against the ropes and rocked him with combinations which landed to the head and body. Ward gathered himself and came back. He hurt Gatti to the body, and ripped him with combinations as Gatti appeared out on his feet and unable to raise his arms to block. Action was allowed to continue, however, as it seemed likely that the fight could, or maybe should, be stopped at any time. Gatti trainer James (Buddy) McGirt advised his fighter that he would not allow him to keep taking that time of punishment. Prior to the start of Round 10, Ward and his corner believed the fight had been stopped and Ward raised an arm as if victorious. Cappuccino advised him that was not over and to return to his corner. Gatti had some energy early in Round 10 and landed shots to Ward's head and body. Ward, unfazed, through punches of his own. The 10th Round was 30 seconds short because the timekeeper did not stop the clock amid the confusion at the beginning of the round. At the final bell both men were exhausted and embraced. By the end of the fight, Ward had a large knot on his left cheek bone and complained of plain in his right elbow
- "Arturo's a gentleman. He's a great fighter. He didn't have to prove nothing to no one tonight. He's proved what he is and what he can do. I have nothing but total respect for him. This fight could have went either way in my mind." - Micky Ward in the post-fight interview.
- "He's a very tough guy. I hit him with some good shots. He kept getting stronger every round. It was a tough fight, close fight. It could have gone either way. I just thought I shouldn't have got a point taken off for a low blow. It was not intentional, but that's all right." - Arturo Gatti in the post-fight interview.
- "When people ask, "What's the greatest sporting event you've ever been to?", to this day, it was 2002 Gatti-Ward and what I saw Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward put forth, I've never seen anybody put forth in all the athletics I've attended as a fan." - Joe Tessitore on ESPN Friday Night Fights 7/17/09
- People in boxing have been looking forward to this fight for a couple of years. They are getting what they were looking forward to." - Larry Merchant following Round 6.
- "I am humbled by watching these two guys take the punishment they are taking." - Larry Merchant
- "This could be the round of the century." - Emanuel Steward following Round 9.
- "We told you it might be a candidate for fight of the year. We didn't know it might be a candidate for fight of the century." Jim Lampley
- "I had Gatti winning by a couple of points." - Larry Merchant