The photo above?
It's my lasting image of Arturo Gatti still. It won't be forever -- in time, the memories of his epic ring wars will overshadow the Canadian Jersey warrior fallen on his knees, holding onto the middle rope, his lip split open by a final 1-2 combo from the entirely unremarkable Alfonso Gomez.
I'll forget about Gatti being manhandled by a fighter that would use the bout to later springboard into a welterweight title shot against Miguel Cotto, where the tables were definitely turned.
I won't first think of Arturo's tearful retirement backstage in Atlantic City, with former rival Micky Ward by his side. I won't have my head clouded by the feeling you could get from your living room couch that night, when the Jersey patrons, long Gatti admirers, could tell quickly that this was not their man's night.
But if reports from The Canadian Press wind up panning out, washing away that night won't come as soon as it should.
The agency is reporting that Arturo Gatti is training and considering a comeback to face Canadian welterweight titlist Antonin Decarie. Decarie, at 25, is 11 years Gatti's junior, and has miles less wear and tear on his treads. You can argue that he's a non-puncher, but that would be ignoring that Gomez isn't a big hitter, either. And Carlos Baldomir, who knocked Gatti out in 2006, certainly isn't.
We have seen in his last two fights that Arturo Gatti simply has nothing left. He can't bang at 147, he doesn't have his legs anymore, and his reflexes are shot. He is a tough man with an outside chance at the Hall of Fame. Whether or not he covets a Canadian title is irrelevant -- he should not be fighting. There is nothing left for him to do besides get hurt.
Maybe like Rocky Balboa, he has stuff in his basement. If Gatti does come back, God knows I'll root for him. But this just sounds like a terrible idea. His body is finished, even if his heart and mind don't want to be. No one needs to see Gatti dominated and battered again. We've seen it enough.