By Dan Rafael, USA TODAY-ATLANTIC CITY - Arturo "Thunder" Gatti hasn't had many easy nights in his thrilling career. He is boxing's ultimate blood and
guts warrior, which usually comes with a price.
But not Saturday night, as Gatti got a rare freebie against Leonard
Dorin, scoring a second-round knockout to retain his junior welterweight title before 11,863 at Boardwalk Hall. Gatti landed a three-punch combination
to the head and followed with a digging left hook to the body that dropped Dorin. As Dorin (22-1-1) gasped for air on his knees, referee Randy Neumann
reached 10 at 2:55, sending Gatti and his handlers into delirium in the center of the ring.
"It's great to get out of here early," Gatti said.
Gatti (38-6, 29 KOs) was making the first defense of the vacant title
he won by decision against Italy's Gianluca Branco in January. Dorin, a former lightweight champion, was expected to give Gatti non-stop pressure in a
fight many figured to be a fight of the year candidate. But it never had the chance to erupt into a brawl. Gatti, 32, two fights removed from the
conclusion of his epic trilogy with Micky Ward, had promised to box more and brawl less against Dorin, 34, and he stuck to the plan in the opening
round. He moved Dorin around the ring with his longer jab and refused to succumb to Dorin's pressure.
Gatti, who earned $1.75 million to Dorin's $400,000, began to apply his own pressure as the second round began and then ended it in stunning
"I went back to the corner after the first round and (trainer Buddy) McGirt said 'Forget the head, go to the body.' So I set him up with the jab
because I knew he would leave the body open. We worked the body a lot in camp. Once he went down, I knew it was over."
Gatti appeared to be just too big and powerful for Dorin, who gave up three inches in height and seven inches in reach. Dorin was fighting for only
the second time at 140 pounds after giving up his lightweight belt last year because of difficulty making weight.
"It was a good punch but I don't know if my rib is broken," said Dorin, a native of Romania who is based in Montreal. "It was the first time I got hit
in the body and went down."
Gatti is now hoping to fight his mandatory challenger, pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., the former lightweight and junior lightweight champ
who moved up to 140 pounds in May.
"I'm ready to fight all the elites," Gatti said. "I'm ready to fight Mayweather and (Paul) Spadafora. Mayweather, I want you as much as you want me."