By Danny Serratelli (January 27, 2006)
Arturo Gatti will be back home this Saturday, and at this stage of his career he is not looking for a soft touch or a tune-up fight after suffering his worst defeat as a pro just seven months ago against pound-for-pound top dog, Floyd Mayweather Jr. He will be taking on Denmark’s rugged and undefeated warrior Thomas Damgaard in the main event this Saturday. The relatively unknown (in the USA at least) Damgaard is an undefeated star in Denmark. He is 37-0 with 27 KO’s and unlike Arturo, 39-7, 30 KO’s who stated his career back in 1991 in Secaucus, New Jersey weighing only 127 pounds, Damgaard has been a welterweight for his entire career. Despite the fact that Damgaard at age 34 actually has a year on Arturo, he did not turn pro until 1998 almost 6 years after Arturo’s pro debut.
All of Damgaard’s fights have taken place in Denmark, and many of us here in the USA have not seen any of them. The word on the street is that Damgaard is not a mover, but a tough and strong brawler with a style similar to fighters who Arturo has enjoyed some success with like Micky Ward or even a Leonard Dorin, but possibly with more power and naturally bigger. He has a good knockout ratio, and while it doesn’t appear he has fought the toughest opposition, he is 37-0 with 27 KO’s which is impressive regardless. He has in fact fought several former world champions who he has obviously prevailed over including former lightweight champ, Phillip Holiday, former light-welterweight champ Khalid Rahilou, and (although it was late in his career), former lightweight and WBO light-welterweight champion Greg Haugen.
We all know the game plan Buddy will have, “Arturo, Box!” We also know that the X factor in all of Arturo’s fights will be present. Will he be out for blood and try too hard to impress the fans after the Mayweather fight? Will his skin and hands hold up against a naturally bigger, possibly stronger opponent? Damgaard is also a southpaw, can that have any bearing on the outcome? Predictions to Arturo’s fights always come with a lot of ifs, but one thing is certain, if this guy from Denmark has half the “nuts and guts” (as McGirt likes to call it) that Arturo and close friend Micky Ward have we could be in for a very special night on Saturday.
For the icing on the cake, Main Events has all the makings of delivering the total package on Saturday night. They have a quality undercard, co-feature and main event. Unlike some shows in the past when no one wanted to get there until AC/DC’s “Thunder” started softly in the background, people should get there early this time to watch the entire show. The co-feature will have NJ transplant, Jason Litzau, 16-0, 14 KO’s taking on tough Mexican fighter, Carlos Contreras 20-11, 13 KO’s.
Lynhurst, New Jersey’s Wayne ‘Lights Out’ Johnsen 9-1, 5 KO’s will be returning (against Edward Hemphill, 3-1, 1 KO) to the ring after suffering his first loss less then two months ago by questionable majority decision. The fight was reminiscent of a fight that Arturo Gatti had when he was 6-0, 5 KO’s when he travelled to Philidelphia’s Blue Horizon to fight a Philly fighter named King Soloman and dropped a disputed split decision. . After that fight in 1992 Soloman never fought again and Arturo won 23 fights in a row, 19 by KO and the in that streak picked up the IBF super-featherweight championship of the world.
The exciting card will be rounded out with three undefeated heavyweights fighting:
Malik Scott, 23-0, 10 KO’s vs. TBA;
BJ Flores, 14-0, 10 KO’s vs. Jermel Barnes 14-10, 4 KO’s; and
Polish heavyweight Mariusz Wach, 6-0, 2 KO’s vs. Adele Olakanye, 6-4, 4 KO’s.
As well as:
Patterson New Jersey’s undefeated light-middleweight Henry Crawford 8-0-1, 3 KO’s vs. Luis Santos 9-1, 6 KO’s
Danish super-middleweights Rudy Markussen, 32-1, 19 KO’s vs. ‘The Bremerton Butcher’, Brock Stodden 17-10, 9 KO’s ,
And finally in what may be one of the fights of the night the tough and determined Noriko Kariya, 2-0, vs. Maria Contreras, 1-2, who is a tough opponent with a deceiving record.