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Broken Hand Doesn’t Stop Boxer

January 18, 1998

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) _ This time, Arturo Gatti’s giant heart and powerful fists couldn’t save him.

Despite fighting with a broken right hand, Angel Manfredy beat the IBF junior lightweight champion to a bloody pulp before referee Wayne Hedgepeth called a halt to it at after eight rounds in the scheduled 12-round non-title fight Saturday night.

Manfredy opened a huge cut over Gatti’s left eye with a hard right to the head in the first round, then knocked Gatti down in the third.

But the plucky Gatti, who has made a career out of winning fights he looked like he was losing, fought back gamely and won the next two rounds on all three judges’ cards. He was ahead on two cards at fight’s end and tied on the third.

The cut was about 3 centimeters wide for the first six rounds but opened up to about 5 centimeters in the later rounds, according to the ringside fight physician, Dr. Dominic Coletta.

``It was bleeding into the socket of his eye,″ said Hedgepeth, who concurred with Coletta’s opinion in stopping the fight.

Gatti, who has often rallied to win such fights, knew early that the cut might cost him in his first fight at 135 pounds, the lightweight class limit.

``At the end of the first round, I felt the blood drip and I knew I was in trouble,″ Gatti said afterward. ``This is the only way he could have won. I would have knocked him out in the later rounds.″

In the third, he missed with a lunging left and Manfredy delivered a crisp left to his head that put Gatti’s face on the canvas. He took a six count.

Gatti, 25, of Jersey City, dropped to 30-2.

Manfredy, 23, of East Chicago, Ind., boosted his record to 23-2-1 with a smart, tough performance. He kept the aggressive Gatti at bay with a stinging left jab and never appeared to get hurt even when Gatti broke through on two- and three-punch combinations.

Manfredy said he thought he broke the hand in the fifth round.

``I knew it was a bad cut but I knew they wouldn’t stop it because this is his hometown,″ Manfredy said.

``I can’t be stopped. He hit with me a couple of body shots but he didn’t hurt me. I knew when I hit him in the first round he was in trouble,″ Manfredy said.

Judge Alan Rubenstein had Manfredy leading 68-65 and Judge Joseph Pasquale had it 67-65. Judge Eugene Grant had the fight tied at 66. Manfredy led on The AP’s card, 68-64.

Gatti made $1 million, Manfredy $200,000.

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