ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.(AP) -- Buoyed by an unusually easy victory, WBC junior welterweight champion Arturo Gatti is prepared to take on all comers in his
evolution from gutsy brawler to savvy boxer. "I want to be recognized as the best," Gatti said after dispatching Leonard Dorin with a second-round
knockout Saturday night. "A lot has been made of the warrior stuff. It's time to see what I have as a fighter."
He could face rising star Floyd Mayweather Jr., his mandatory challenger. He could fight Paul Spadafora, another recent addition to the 140-pound
"Arturo is the elite," trainer Buddy McGirt said. "He is the man at 140. People talk about Mayweather and Kostya Tszyu, but Arturo's in the driver's
Gatti, 32, of Jersey City, is known more for his heart than his power or his flashiness. But under McGirt's tutelage, he has tried to steer clear of
slugfests, moving more and picking his spots instead of standing toe-to-toe.
The style served him well in his trilogy with Micky Ward -- he won two of their fights -- and again when he beat Gianluca Branco to win the WBC
140-pound title six months ago.
Gatti employed it again Saturday against Dorin, the WBC's unbeaten and top-ranked challenger -- he didn't need to for long.
Bigger, stronger and faster than the 5-foot-4 Romanian, Gatti dominated the first round and much of the second before knocking Dorin out.
Dorin, who didn't turn pro until he was 28, missed on several wild punches but connected on a couple of left hooks.
The end came at 2:55 of the second round, when Gatti (38-6) unleashed a hard left hook to Dorin's midsection, stopping him in his tracks. Dorin, who'd
never been knocked down with a body punch before, fell to one knee, then the other, and couldn't get up before referee Randy Neumann counted him
The big punch cheated the partisan Gatti crowd of 11,863 in Boardwalk Hall of the kind of fight they had come to expect. But Gatti was happy for the
easy $1.75 million payday.
"It's great to get out of here early," Gatti said.
Dorin, 34, of Montreal, fell to 22-1-1.
Mayweather, who's only 27 and much quicker than any of Gatti's recent opponents, could pose a difficult challenge. In his 140-pound debut here two
months ago, he won a unanimous decision over DeMarcus Corley and afterward accused Gatti of avoiding him.
But Gatti, asked Saturday who he'd like to fight next, was emphatic: "Mayweather, of course."
"I know he would beat Floyd Mayweather," McGirt said. "I can't tell you how, but he would beat him."
Copyright 2004, The Associated Press
[Edited on 25-7-2004 by Ocelot]