Floyd Mayweather Jr. had plenty of respect for Arturo Gatti, and the Las Vegan expressed that after learning of Gatti’s death last week.
“My heart goes out to his family,” Mayweather said on a conference call to promote his rescheduled welterweight fight with Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 19 at the MGM Grand Garden. “Gatti, he was blood and guts. He was a warrior. He never turned his back on anyone.
“He’d get knocked down four, five times, and he’d get back up, and in one shot he could take you out. I have always had a lot of respect for Arturo Gatti.”
Mayweather, who was the WBC junior welterweight champion when he and Gatti fought on June 25, 2005, in Atlantic City, stopped Gatti in the sixth round. Even though Mayweather dominated, he walked away with nothing but admiration for his vanquished opponent.
“(Trainer) Buddy McGirt wanted to stop the fight, but Gatti wanted to keep going,” Mayweather said. “He was a tough guy.”
Gatti was found dead in his apartment in Brazil on July 11. Police arrested his wife on suspicion of murder but have not charged her. An autopsy indicated Gatti might have committed suicide, been accidentally killed or murdered.
Mayweather, who has recovered from a rib injury suffered in training last month that forced a postponement of the fight’s original date, which was this Saturday, said he is back in the gym and under no restrictions as he prepares for Marquez.
“I had a setback, a freak accident,” he said. “We do a lot of workouts in training, and freak accidents happen.
“I tried to work through it, but I hurt it again, and I can’t be a superhero. I had to rest and get back to 100 percent. I want to be at my best, and everything is good right now. I’m back in the gym, and let’s rock and roll.”
• GAMBOA GROUNDED — Yuriorkis Gamboa’s scheduled fight Saturday against Whyber Garcia has been postponed after Gamboa couldn’t gain entry into Mexico.
Gamboa, the WBA interim featherweight champion who trains in Las Vegas, was supposed to be on the Top Rank Latin Fury card. However, he had visa issues that could not be resolved in time to allow him into Mexico.
Gamboa (15-0, 13 knockouts) might find himself on a card that Top Rank is putting together for late September in New York.
• PHELPS SUSPENDED — The Nevada Athletic Commission suspended cruiserweight Cory Phelps after he tested positive for steroids following his July 3 loss to Dewey Cooper at the Plaza Hotel.
Phelps (13-6-1, seven KOs), who lost an eight-round unanimous decision, tested positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid. The NAC will set a hearing date at its meeting Wednesday.
Phelps’ suspension could last nine months to one year, and he could be fined one-third to half his purse. He made $3,000 for the fight.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913.