Mike Tyson knew Arturo Gatti before the young Canadian slugger reached his teenage years. The former Heavyweight champion was moved by the untimely passing of his friend to the point that he wrote and sent an official tribute Eulogy for his friend Mario Costa, which Costa read at the Memorial service held in Montreal last month…
BoxingInsider.com has obtained Tyson’s Eulogy tribute from Mario Costa, who was involved in developing Gatti’s boxing career in New Jersey from his amateur days up until his sixth pro fight:
“I met Arturo when he was nine-years-old. He was in the Catskills with the Hilton brothers. Matthew Hilton became junior middleweight champion of the world. We never saw Arturo coming, we were always going to his brother’s (Joe) fights in New Jersey. We never knew Arturo would become such a great fighter. I was always happy to see his success, to see him walk in the gym as a boy and become a great champion. I am happy to be a part of his short, exciting life. May God be with you my young friend.” –Mike Tyson
Excerpt from Mario Costa’s Eulogy to Gatti at Montreal Memorial
This touching, from-the-heart Eulogy composed by Mario Costa brought tears to the eyes of many attendees at the Memorial Service:
“It all started on June 1, 1984 in Montreal. I brought Nino Gonzalez to box Matthew Hilton. Also part of the team as a sparring partner was Joe Gatti. After the fight they all came to New Jersey at my invite. Joe introduced me to Arthur who was 13 or 14 years old. I’ll never forget those eyes, like two shining stars. He’d always follow me around at the fights and say, Please take me to America when I’m old enough. Finally, he came. He arrived in Jersey City with a plastic bag and some clothes and no money, a big dream, a big heart and a big smile. The dream was so big the money didn’t matter. He lived at 277 Manhattan Avenue, Jersey City. He ate at the White Manna diner, trained at the Ringside and ran at the Persian Field Park. The dream was on. Probably the happiest time of his life. In his apartment, on top of his dresser, he always had his father’s picture, a lit candle and a statue of the Lady of Fatima, that I gave him. The dream was for Joe and Arthur to be champions for their father. On May 3, 1991 the dream started when Arthur was the Fighter of the Night at the amateur show of School 27.
He was given his trophy and he was so proud to have his first trophy in America, displayed at the Ringside. There was also his first girlfriend Michelle, which he met at the White Manna diner. Michelle was the grand-daughter of Madeline, an employee of the diner. I’ll never forget Arthur asking me for $3 so he could stop at the grocery store for soft drinks on the way up the hill, holding hands with Michelle, to Mosquito Park. Like a gentleman. With a big smile. He was in paradise. Well champ you are in Paradise now. No more pain. No more troubles. No more fights. I know you are with your father and Tito (one of his deceased friends from the Puerto Rican posse). He will always have your back. Champ, you will forever always be in my heart and in my prayers. I love you and rest in peace.” –Mario Costa