BOXING

“Thunderstruck” Sung By AC/DC, But Belongs To Arturo Gatti

In 1990, Arturo Gatti hadn’t yet turned pro, while the Australian heavy metal band AC/DC were regarded as proud vets on the downsides of a rock-solid career.

Their tours still drew, but as far as being relevant hitmakers, well, it had been ten years since they scored a thrilling KO with “Back in Black.”

Expectations weren’t over the moon when the Young brothers and Brian Johnson convened and put together “The Razors Edge.” But the compilation served up a sharp one-two, with “Moneytalks” rocking step by step with most anything from their heyday and “Thunderstruck” hitting listeners’ ears in a joyful assault of raucous badassery.

The song is fan fave in boxing circles, and still trotted out from time to time in VFW halls, music halls, auditoriums and arenas. Now, this isn’t how it works, but really, a monetary fealty should be paid to the estate of Arturo Gatti, because that tune in linked, as inextricably as Micky Ward is, with the fan-friendly brawler nicknamed “Thunder.”

The tune popped up in the chatter of boxing peeps on Saturday, when the WBO light heavyweight champion Eleider Alvarez likely jinxed himself out of the crown when he strode to the ring in Frisco, Texas, accompanied by the strains of “Thunderstruck.

“Rode down the highway
Broke the limit, we hit the town
Went through to Texas, yeah Texas, and we had some fun
We met some girls
Some dancers who gave a good time
Broke all the rules
Played all the fools
Yeah yeah they, they, they blew our minds
And I was shaking at the knees
Could I come again please
Yeah them ladies were too kind
You’ve been
Thunderstruck!”

“I knew when I heard Alvarez entering the ring to “Thunderstruck” with Buddy McGirt and Teddy Cruz in the opposite corner that the night was not about to go his way,” said Kathy Duva, the boss at Main Events, the promotional company who worked with Gatti throughout his up and down and then way, way up career, which was punctuated by a thrillogy with Ward, the Boston brawler whose unwillingness to give ground made him a perfect foil for the Canadian Jerseyite who scrapped the same way. “That was Arturo’s song. Nobody else gets to use it! Jolene Mizzone and I were not sitting together. Nicole, my daughter, was home in NJ. When we compared notes later we discovered that we were all “talking “ to Arturo during the fight! It’s as if Alvarez opened some cosmic door and invited Art’s spirit into the room!”

So, that song…When did it become Gatti’s anyway? I asked Duva, she didn’t recall the origin of the usage. She suggested I ask Carl Moretti, who worked at Main Events on many a Gatti promotion, and “Thunders'” manager, Pat Lynch. Moretti said he didn’t recall the genesis of the AC/DC-AG marriage. Lynch was hazy as well, he asked me for a night to ponder. The next morning, he checked in:

“First time was Joe Hutchinson in Montreal (Sept. 8, 2000), then we got away from it for the Oscar DeLaHoya (March 24, 2001 in Las Vegas), then he brought it back for Ward 1 (May 18, 2002) in Connecticut) and used it the rest of his career,” Lynch told me.

And was Gatti an AC/DC fan?

“No, it was because of his nickname,” Lynch continued.

The deal-maker shared a tidbit which attests to how strongly the fighter identified with the tune, which went to No. 1 in Finland in 1990 and peaked at No. 5 in America. “They asked him to come out to the Soprano’s theme for the first Ward fight and he wouldn’t because he loved “Thunderstruck.” Sopranos debuted in 1999, and season four, which ran from September to December 2002, enjoyed the peak ratings according to Nielsen, for the series’ run. Gatti had that Jersey vibe and attachment but he still declined, sticking with his anthem/security blanket.

And that song…what did it do for and to Kathy Duva when she heard it kick in, as Gatti was ready to do his ring walk? “Chills. The hair always stood up on my arms,” Duva said. “Still does when I hear it!”

OK, not in the same way when she sees an Alvarez get introed with that song blaring. But there’s a story to that…Promoter Yvon Michel said that his guy had a song ready to go, but a snafu occurred. “They did not play the song of his choice, I d on’t remember the name but is it a Colombian song in Spanish. But they played that one without telling us,” Michel shared. “He was waiting for his song when “Thunderstruck” started and did not wanted to start his walk until he was pressed by the tv people. I was in the ring and when I heard the song and I told myself: What a bad choice!”

Beating in his heart…The thunder of guns..Tore him apart…Alvarez had been…Thunderstruck.

Main Events matchmaker Mizzone holds a place deep and dear in her heart for Gatti. She reacted viscerally when Alvarez entry music popped on. “When he walked out to song it felt more like oh really (emeffer)! But you can’t say that, so let’s say it was a feeling of anger and confirmation,” she told Everlast. “Don’t get me wrong, I have heard other fighters use that song…and I feel that Arturo is the only one that was allowed to.”

Michael Woods
About the Author:

Michael Woods. Host, TALKBOX podcast, powered by EVERLAST; 1st VP, Boxing Writers Association of America; http://NYFights.com is my site

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