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Gatti prepared to go to the extreme

1/26/2005

NEW YORK -- In a manner matching his aggressive fighting
style, Arturo Gatti simply presented his plan for his upcoming
title bout against Jesse James Leija.
"I'm coming to kill -- not to win, to kill," the WBC super
lightweight champion said at a news conference Wednesday. "I'm
going to win this fight, no doubt about it. Read my lips: no doubt
about it."
Gatti is certainly known for his action-packed fights. His
trilogy with Mickey Ward is touted by many as one of the best
rivalries in boxing history, and he is consistently praised for the
heart and courage he shows in the ring.
It's that kind of action that fans will be looking for from
Saturday night's scheduled 12-round fight at Boardwalk Hall in
Atlantic City. The fight will also be telecast as part of HBO's
"World Championship Boxing Series."
Gatti doesn't expect to disappoint.
"Just watch on Saturday night," he said. "You're going to see
an explosive Arturo Gatti."
The 32-year-old Gatti, 38-6 with 29 knockouts, won the title in
January 2004, when he decisioned Italian Gianluca Branco. He kept
the crown in July with a one-punch knockout of previously unbeaten
Leonard Dorin.
Leija, 38, is 47-6-2 with 18 knockouts.
Gatti said he respects Leija, who has beaten Ward, lost to Shane
Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya and is a former WBC world super
featherweight titleholder. However, the champion continually
interrupted Leija's manager, Lester Bedford, while he spoke
Wednesday.
"Stop trying sell it; I bought it already," Gatti said after
Bedford remarked that he thinks his fighter will win.
"Just make sure you show up Saturday," Gatti added.
A statement was also read on behalf of De La Hoya, who signed
Leija to his Golden Boy Promotions.
"Come Saturday night, Jesse's going to take [Gatti's]
championship," the statement said.
The winner of the title fight is expected to face Floyd
Mayweather Jr. in May. Already, Mayweather has been asked about the
prospect of fighting Gatti, an oversight that Leija says doesn't
bother him.
"That's to my advantage. The more they look toward Mayweather,
the more they forget about me," Leija said. "I only have one guy
in my sights right now and that's Gatti."
The undercard includes a 12-round IBF junior middleweight title
fight between champion Kassim Ouma (20-1-1, three knockouts) and
Kofi Jantuah (28-1, 18 knockouts).