ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – Savagely beaten, his WBC title gone, his winning streak broken, Arturo Gatti had three words to say after losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“Too much speed.”

Mayweather’s quickness was only half the story of his dominating victory Saturday night, though.

The other half was his power, unleashed in stiff jabs and staccato combinations that punished the game but overmatched Gatti, overwhelming him from the opening bell.

By the end of the sixth round, Gatti had nothing left to give. He staggered back to his corner, his head down, his eyes nearly swollen shut, prompting trainer Buddy McGirt Jr. to throw in the towel.

“I feel I showed the people I could box,” the 28-year-old Mayweather said afterward. “I showed my power, I showed my moving ability, I showed that I can adapt to any style.”

In Gatti, he had a perfect mark. The 33-year-old brawler, whose gutty style has made him a big box-office draw in his home state, looked like he was fighting in slow motion next to Mayweather.

In the weeks leading up to the fight, Mayweather (34-0) had dismissed Gatti as a glorified club fighter who made his reputation taking beatings instead of giving them.

Venturing into Gatti’s backyard, he promised to silence Gatti’s fans and expose his shortcomings. He made good on both counts.

The sellout partisan crowd of 12,675 that packed Boardwalk Hall hoping for an upset – Mayweather was favored – hardly had a chance to break out into its customary chant of “Gat-ti, Gat-ti, Gat-ti.”

Gatti, who hadn’t lost in three years, went down in the first round, caught by a left hook as he dropped his hands to complain to referee Earl Morton that Mayweather had hit him on a break.

It was a clean hit, though.

It was downhill from there, with Mayweather scoring at will on the older, slower Gatti.

When Gatti (39-7) tried to attack, Mayweather would duck the punch and fire off two or three counterpunches in retaliation. When Gatti played it cautious, Mayweather went on the offensive.

Punch statistics kept at ringside bore out the degree of Mayweather’s domination. He connected on 168 punches, to 41 for Gatti. He connected on 115 of 183 power punches thrown, to 10 of 56 for Gatti.

“My plan was to demolish his body,” Gatti said. “But it just didn’t work. He was a lot quicker than I thought. He’s a great champion. He deserved to win the title.”

Mayweather, who made more than $3 million in his pay-per-view debut, said he’d next like to take on IBF champion Ricky Hatton, who took Kostya Tszyu’s title three weeks ago.

But he said he’d take on any and all comers.

“Of course I want to fight the best that are out there,” he said. “I only want to fight big fights, and I want to be on pay-per-view until the end of my career. This is the beginning.”

To him, the victory was proof he can fight at 140 pounds.

“It’s my time,” said Mayweather. “I knew eventually it was going to happen. I just took my time, kept wracking up victories, beating the best they put in front of me.”

For Gatti, the future’s less certain. He said he may move back up to 147 pounds for his next fight.

“It’s not the first time I took a beating,” he said.

AP-ES-06-26-05 1353EDT


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