Arturo Gatti was one of the most entertaining boxers who ever lived, a real-life Rocky Balboa who jumped off of a movie screen and into the ring to become an icon in his sport.
He died, sadly, on July 11, 2009, in a condominium in Brazil. Brazilian police initially arrested his wife, Amanda, on suspicion of murder, than released her and termed the death a suicide.
Gatti's family and friends cried foul and insisted one of the toughest men who ever lived would never have taken his own life.
Sadly, we'll probably never know the truth, though the television program, "48 Hours' is working hard trying to prove that Amanda Rodrigues Gatti had no role in her husband's death.
On Saturday at 10 p.m., "48 Hours" will air another episode on Gatti's death, after an awful episode in September.
Believe it or not, "48 Hours" happens to be one of my favorite shows. I record it on my DVR and I have it listed as one of my favorites on my Facebook page. I was particularly eager to see what it had done on Gatti, because of my interest in him, and because my friend, noted boxing photographer Tom Casino, was interviewed as part of the piece.
The show received a great deal of hype, but it failed miserably to live up to it. It didn't prove Gatti committed suicide. Nor did it prove Amanda Rodrigues Gatti wasn't involved in her husband's passing. It really was little more than a recitation of previously known facts about the case with some half-baked theories offered.
Correspondent Erin Moriarty on Friday wrote about the upcoming episode on her blog at CBS News.com. The opening paragraph left little to the imagination. It sounds almost as if it could be the opening statement for Rodrigues Gatti's attorney at a potential trial. Moriarty believes she is a victim, not a murderer, and is being treated reprehensibly.
Moriarty wrote (in her opening paragraph):
Amanda Gatti is 25 years old, but she has lived through more drama and survived more trauma than many women twice her age. She's been called a killer, a slut and a gold digger. The truth is, she is none of these, but may never be able to get her good name back. Fans and friends of her husband simply can't accept that her husband, the great boxer Arturo Gatti, gave up on life and killed himself.
I certainly am not among those who blindly believe what Gatti's family has said in painting Amanda as a gold-digger, and worse. HBO's Real Sports did an excellent piece on the Gatti death in 2010 and there are plenty of troubling questions in the case that need to be answered.
I get that "48 Hours" is entertainment, but Moriarty has gone well too far in taking up Amanda Rodrigues Gatti's case and writing conclusively that she is innocent.
Moriarty wrote that there is "little question that the initial Brazilian police investigation into Gatti's death was poorly conducted," as if she is qualified to make that kind of blunt judgement. Moriarty wrote that the police chief in charge of the investigation says it is unlikely charges will be brought against Amanda Gatti.
But Moriarty makes it seems that it is Chief Paulo Alberes' job to somehow clear Amanda Gatti's name, which clearly it is not.
(Alberes) ... says that no one, not even the hired American private detectives, can show any evidence of how Amanda Gatti could have killed her husband. Still, the truth is, as long as the case is officially 'open,' Arturo Gatti's widow will live under a cloud of suspicion.
I don't know if Gatti was murdered or committed suicide. I didn't put much stock into the investigation that former Gatti manager Pat Lynch commissioned last year, which determined that the boxer's death "was not a suicide." If you pay enough money, you can find an expert to tell you pretty much anything.
And Lynch got one in noted forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, who said:
This was not a suicide hanging. This is a homicide.
Wecht is a highly accomplished man, but his opinion would carry a lot more weight if he were hired by law enforcement and not by those with a stake in how Gatti's estate was settled.
Any honest person wants justice in this case and for the truth, no matter who it points to, to come out. If Amanda Rodrigues Gatti truly is innocent of her husband's death, it's horrendous what she's been forced to endure. If the boxer was murdered, the responsible parties need to be arrested and charged as quickly as possible.
But I'll place my faith in official police investigations rather than ones commissioned by Gatti's friends and family or by a television entertainment program.
It's beyond pitiful that Gatti's death has been turned into a media circus, by both sides.
Gatti has had as much turmoil after his death as he had in his all-too-short but crazy 37 years on this Earth.