The July 2009 death of fan-favorite boxer Arturo Gatti is a highly controversial topic which still garners much debate to this day. The “ultimate blood and guts warrior” was brought into the homes of millions of sports fans across the country on dozens of occasions, and his death was both tragic and shocking.
On March 24, “48 Hours Mystery” aired a show which took another in-depth look at the case, in which Gatti’s wife Amanda Rodrigues was originally arrested for murder before being released several weeks later when Brazilian authorities changed their ruling on Gatti’s death to a suicide.
The show draws the conclusion that Gatti did, indeed, take his own life. They point to evidence of his alcohol abuse and depression problems, as well as previous suicidal tendencies and violent behavior. However, rather than clarifying the murky circumstances surrounding his death, the show does a better job at painting the picture of Gatti as a troubled man, which has been well documented in the past but has little bearing here.
The individuals the show interviews are by and large not actually witnesses – they’re simply people with opinions one way or the other on what happened. As a result, the bulk of the show isn’t new evidence about the case and the circumstances surrounding Arturo Gatti’s death, but instead mere conjecture.
It comes off, to me personally, as an attempt at proving a theory – that Gatti committed suicide – rather than an attempt to dig up the truth.
That’s a problem which is prevalent throughout the entirety of the case. The private investigators hired by Gatti’s former manager Pat Lynch also don’t seem as concerned with finding the whole truth as they are in painting Rodrigues as the murderer, while Brazilian police seemed content to close a troublesome case and wipe their hands clean rather than investigate.
One of the main questions or problems that the “48 Hours Mystery” piece raises with the murder scenario is: how could this 100 pound woman overpower a 160 pound ex-champion boxer?
However, previously in the show, they go to great lengths to document that Gatti was extremely drunk that evening, and had already suffered blunt force trauma to the back of his dead during a bar fight which spurred on the violent events of the evening. It doesn’t seem unlikely that a potentially concussed, potentially blacked out individual, could be surprised and overpowered by anybody.
The fact that Gatti signed a new will just weeks before his death, handing over his entire $6 million estate to Rodrigues provides a clear motive. The fact that they Gatti’s death occurred in Rodrigues’ native Brazil adds more suspicion. The fact that previous investigative reports show that the purse strap which Gatti allegedly hung himself with could not have possibly supported his weight and killed him from the position he was reported to be in adds more credence to a murder having occurred.
The show also glosses over the fact that Rodrigues admits to walking past the body and not calling police. While crime scene photos show huge pools of blood on the floor, she claims she didn’t see that there was anything wrong, and that there was no blood on the floor at that time.
It seems like conjecture and opinion are all we’ll ever get regarding Arturo Gatti’s death at this point, which is unfortunate, and in my opinion, the “48 Hours Mystery” show did little to clarify the mess.
Sources: “48 Hours Mystery”, CBS News
This article was first published by Jake Emen on Yahoo! Sports on March 26, 2012