Aturo Gatti vs Mickey Ward
On May 18, 2002, Ward faced the opponent with whom he became most identified, Arturo Gatti. The fight was a wild one, but a ninth round Ward knockdown of Gatti proved to be the difference, with Ward winning a majority decision. The fight was later named the 2002 Ring magazine fight of the year. Both fighters needed care in a trauma center after the match. The two agreed to an immediate rematch, and in November, Gatti was able to win the second wild fight. Ward was knocked down in the third round, but survived to finish the fight. Gatti paid tribute to Ward’s tenacity after the fight, saying, “I used to wonder what would happen if I fought my twin. Now I know.
They then agreed to a third straight fight, and again, the fight was back and forth. Gatti pounded Ward with punch after punch early on, but Ward fought back and managed a sixth round knockdown of Gatti. Before Gatti could get up, or the referee’s count could hit ten, the bell sounded to end the round. Gatti was able to come back and win the fight via a unanimous decision. Again, both men needed a trip to the hospital, due to the injuries they suffered. By coincidence they were placed side by side in hospital beds operated by curtain. When Gatti realized who was beside him he reached across to ask if Ward was alright? They became life long thereafter sharing a bond that comes rarely between fighters well before Gattis tragic demise some years later. The third fight between the two was again named “Fight of the Year” by Ring Magazine. It is one of the greatest fights ever fought if for no other reason than the pure heart shown by the two boxers.