Jim Lampley reflects on Gatti-Ward rivalry: “This is a sport about love”

By Zain Bando - October 1, 2023

Jim Lampley was a fixture of HBO Boxing for over 30 years until the network demised its telecast rights in Dec. 2018. Lampley, a play-by-play commentator, was on-site for some of the sport’s most significant moments, including the trilogy between Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward in the mid-2000s.

Jim Lampley

Although Jim Lampley now resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, as a professor teaching sports and mass news media courses, his love for boxing remains as palpable as ever.

Lampley was back in Las Vegas, Nev., to do online analytical work for PPV.com.

Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo headlined the marquee event at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night, as Alvarez came away victorious. While a potential Terence Crawford tilt is on the horizon, there are no guarantees.

Nonetheless, Lampley has had time to reflect on the moments that have shaped his career and leave his voice synonymous with boxing.

For him, a series of fights between Gatti and Ward stand out, as the pair engaged in three of the most iconic fights in the sport’s history.  Gatti took two of the three, but for Lampley, the rivalry was bigger than just a single fight.

”Anytime I’m taking somebody to a fight who has never been to boxing, experienced boxing or seen boxing, and this is what I think of when I think of Arturo and Micky,” Lampley said in an interview with Boxing News.

“I always say to people, ‘You have to understand, you’re gonna look at this and think, ‘This is brutality, this is inhumane, and it’s not pretty to watch people hit each other this hard and hit each other this relentlessly and try to hurt them,’ he continued. “I said, you have to understand, through all of that, this is a sport about love. This is a sport about a unique form of passion. When you watch two fighters, think Arturo and Micky seemingly try to kill each other for 12 rounds. The bell rings at the end of the 12th round, and they fall into each other’s arms. That’s because, at that moment, they are in love.”

Lampley speaks fondly of all three fights to this day, as HBO made a documentary about the rivalry and its significance in the sport.

What are your thoughts on Jim Lampley’s comments regarding Gatti-Ward? Let us know, Penn Nation!


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