Interview with Arturo Gatti Biographer Jacques Pothier
Unbeknownst to many in the boxing world, Canadian journalist/author Jacques Pothier is currently hard at work on a biography about the tragic boxing champion Arturo Gatti. BoxingInsider.com spoke with Jacques Pothier in New Jersey where the author is temporarily based, while he collects information for this “shocking” book which might be the boxing book blockbuster of 2011…
BoxingInsider.com: What is the inspiration for this book?
Jacques Pothier: “Just the amazing life and career of Arturo Gatti. Because I met him in Vero Beach in 2005 just before the Thomas Damgaard fight. I was in Vero Beach to talk with him about his fight record. So it was just his amazing career and whole, amazing life. That’s the inspiration. Maybe the first inspiration was boxing itself, because I also wrote a biography of Stephane Oulette too.”
BoxingInsider.com: What are some of the things you have learned about Arturo Gatti since his retirement from the ring?
Jacques Pothier: “I had to – it’s not easy, he had a remarkable life. I had two big parts – the part in Montreal and the second one in New Jersey. So it’s not easy to cover easily all the story. It was easier in Montreal than here. You and me know why, so.”
BoxingInsider.com: Would you call the biography of Arturo Gatti’s life and career a double tragedy?
Jacques Pothier: “Yeah, yeah. Easily we can say that, yeah. Yeah [sighs]. Absolutely.”
BoxingInsider.com: Who is cooperating and who is not cooperating?
Jacques Pothier: “I receive a lot of cooperation, as I told you, in Montreal. All of his former team, all the fighters of his first gym. These guys help me a lot. I receive a lot of cooperation here too, I met with Lou DiBella, Lou Duva, Joey Gamache, a lot of friends too. Russell Peltz, Dino Duva, Micky Ward. A lot of people help me. But do you know the story? The close boxing circle of Arturo didn’t want to speak with me. So they tried to avoid me.”
BoxingInsider.com: Not responding to your calls?
Jacques Pothier: “Sometimes. Sometimes they didn’t have the choice and they told me that they will call me back and they didn’t. They always postpone the meeting. But it’s okay, that’s a part of the story too. And my job is trying to speak with everybody. So at the end of the day, it was their decision to – and in a certain way it was sad for them because I gave them the possibility to counterpunch about all the rumors. I gave them the possibility to tell to me their truth. And they don’t.”
BoxingInsider.com: Who has avoided you?
Jacques Pothier: “You have to see who was the boxing circle of Arturo Gatti and you will have the answer. The very, very close people of Arturo.”
BoxingInsider.com: None of them want to talk?
Jacques Pothier: “As I told you, they spoke with me sometimes on the telephone one or two or three minutes – Oh yeah, I will call you back. Yeah we can fix a meeting for next week and I will be there. So they call me back the day before – this kind of thing. But Pat in particular, in the beginning, he told me he wants to talk with me. And after that he spoke with Hector Roca (former Gatti trainer) in Vegas I think. Because prior, I spoke with Hector Roca and when Pat met with Roca and Roca told Pat that I ask him if Pat Lynch did the party life with Arturo, this kind of question, not exactly this term, so Hector told this to Pat and after Pat told me that I don’t want to be a part of the project because you ask this kind of questions to Hector Roca. So, as I said, it’s his decision.”
BoxingInsider.com: Are you shocked by what you are learning?
Jacques Pothier: “Yes. I cannot say no to the question.”
BoxingInsider.com: Is it affecting the process and progress of doing this book? The shocking nature of some of the details?
Jacques Pothier: “I can tell you yes in the same way that with the fan, with some parts of the book, it was not easy. Yeah, that’s a good question. For a certain part of the story it is not easy.”
BoxingInsider.com: When will it be finished?
Jacques Pothier: “I’m supposed to finish the transcript in mid-September. To be published maybe by the end of 2010. It’s a very, very deep and complex story. It’s not an easy story to cover. If you look at the record of Arturo Gatti and how many big fights he had, it’s unbelievable. It’s not easy to cover that fast and accurately. I’m still waiting for a lot of information.”
BoxingInsider.com: How do you think boxing fans and readers are going to respond to the story?
Jacques Pothier: “First of all, I hope that they will read the story. I cannot imagine that they will not be shocked by all the contents of the book. But in a certain way, the other parts, a lot of people have a good idea too. In the boxing family, they tried to hide when Arturo was a big star. There were a lot of people who knew the truth, or a certain part of the truth. These people will not be so shocked. The typical boxing fan in Texas – these kind of people – they will be. Not just about his boxing career.”