Joey Gamache said he does not harbor hard feelings toward Arturo Gatti, who overpowered Gamache in a two-round bout that landed the Lewiston fighter in the hospital with severe head trauma and eventually in court with a lawsuit against the New York State Athletic Commission.

Like the rest of the boxing world, Gamache was stunned when he heard Gatti was found dead in Brazil last Saturday.

“I felt sad for the family,” said Gamache, from his home in New York City, where he continues to work as a trainer at various boxing gyms. “He contributed a lot to boxing. I had a lot of respect for him. It’s terrible. Arturo lived the way he fought. He lived hard and fought hard.”

Joe Gamache Sr. was also shocked at Gatti’s sudden death. Like his son, Gamache Sr. bears no ill will toward Gatti.

“I thought Arturo was just fabulous,” Gamache Sr. said. “With Gatti, you knew you were in for some great action. I am in a state of shock. As a fighter, I have always respected Gatti. Gatti was one hell of a fighter.”

But for the past nine years, since that Feb. 26, 2000, fight that ended Gamache’s boxing career at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Lewiston boxer says he has moved on with his life and is looking forward to settling his lawsuit, which alleges negligence that New York State Athletic Commission did not force Gatti to make weight, giving the hard-nosed fighter an unfair weight advantage.

“They should have forced the rules to make weight,” Gamache said. “(Gatti) had all the concessions; we had none. It took nine years (for the case to go to court). It’s crazy, but what’s crazy is Gatti dying.”

What seems also a bit bizarre is one of the New York Athletic commissioners, Anthony Russo, who was present at the weigh-in at Gamache’s final fight, also died nearly a year ago.

But Gamache said the trial, which will continue through July 17, should not be delayed by Gatti’s death. 

“I don’t see any delays right now,” Gamache said. “The case is not against Gatti. It is against the New York State Athletic Commission.”

While the trial continues, Gamache keeps busy training fighters at several gyms in New York City. For two years, he also worked with top boxing trainer Emanuel Steward.

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