Below is a poem from Declan Ryan’s new pamphlet, Fighters, Losers, published this week by New Walk Editions and available to buy here. Declan will be launching his pamphlet at Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham this Thursday evening, 23rd May, alongside Linda Stern Zisquit and her pamphlet From the Notebooks of Korah’s Daughter. Event details here.
‘Irish’ Micky Ward has made the five-hour trip from Lowell, MA, to Canastota, NY, to induct Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti into the Hall of Fame. It’s ten years since their last fight: that night when Gatti broke his hand on Ward’s hip but carried on. Round 10 began with an embrace, before the last of 30 rounds spent trying to put each other on a gurney. For the final minute, the commentator said little more than ‘They rise again in Boardwalk Hall’. Gatti always said his toughest test would come when he met someone like himself, but outside the ring, and later in the night, Gatti was the wilder one. He lived in go-go bars; breakfast was three Percocets; his drinking dented $16 million purses, loaded up a shotgun wedding overlooking the Grand Canyon with a dancer half his age who called him mi Amor and who, when Gatti’s body was discovered at a resort in Pernambuco, was held for murder. Despite a history of ‘domestic unrest’ and his alleged ‘suicidal tendencies’ Ward couldn’t believe Gatti knew how to quit. Walking past the coffin, Ward touched it with a hook: ‘I got you last’. ‘I think about him every day at some point’, Ward says, in Canastota. ‘It’s like when stars align, that was me and him. For what reason I don’t know. Arturo will be a part of me forever. The memories will be in my mind forever. Our fights will stay in my head forever. So we’ll be together forever.’