Boxer Arturo Gatti's death: Suicide or murder?
In 2007, one month after Arturo Gatti walked out of the ring for the last time, he married 21-year-old Amanda Rodrigues at the Grand Canyon.
"He was very romantic, you know," Amanda told Erin Moriarty. "The love he had for me was like, crazy love, you know ...When he retired we both were very happy, you know. ... The day we married he already wanna have kids."
Gatti already had a daughter from a previous relationship. About a year after his wedding to Amanda, she gave him the baby boy he's always wanted.
"His son meant the world to him," Casino explained. "If you didn't know that Arturo Gatti's son meant the world to him, you didn't know Arturo Gatti."
"He had Amanda and he had little Arturo Jr. Life was goin' good for him," said Micky Ward.
But only on the surface. Arturo Gatti, who went into real estate in Montreal, was having trouble adjusting to life outside of the ring and away from the limelight. As "48 Hours" learned, he was struggling with ongoing alcohol and drug abuse and domestic violence.
According to Amanda, Arturo took retirement hard.
"Well, he got depressed ... He didn't know what to do," she said. "He started drinking a lot..."
Gatti had always partied hard. His longtime friends, Tony Rizzo and Gisella Minieara, never saw it as a problem.
"He used to party like everybody else, he used to have a few drinks," said Tony.
"He did drink, we all drank," Gisella said. "But I can't say that, I didn't really see him in a state where I would say, 'you know, this guy is an alcoholic.'"
Public records tell a different story about Arturo Gatti. A decade before he met Amanda, he had already been convicted on drunk driving charges in three different states and eventually lost his license.
According to Casino, "He couldn't drive for 10 years."
And it wasn't just driving. Arrest reports obtained by "48 Hours" show Gatti's drinking led to fights with police officers and that another confrontation left a Florida man brain damaged.
"And Amanda was living with him. So she got the brunt of it," said Casino.
"There was the man I fell in love [with], the funny, the romantic, the lovely husband and father. And then was this person that would change when he was drunk," said Amanda.
"In what way?" Moriarty asked.
"He would become aggressive...nasty," she replied. "He was a completely different man when he was drinking.'"
What's more, "48 Hours" has learned that in early 2008, just six months into his marriage -- and while the couple was on vacation in Maui -- Arturo was cited for domestic violence.
"You found out you were pregnant in Hawaii. You have one of your awful fights with Arturo in Hawaii," Moriarty noted to Amanda.
"Did he hit you when you were pregnant?"
"No," Amanda replied. "But I, I don't like to talk about that."
"It was like a roller coaster. There was no relationship. It was constant fighting," according to Tony Rizzo, one of Arturo's longtime friends who have lined up against Amanda. He claims she gave as good as she got. "She took a broom and hit him over the head. ...I seen on numerous occasions, he had black eyes."
Tony says Amanda could hurt Arturo in ways no boxer could. "She would tell him, 'You're good for nothing. You're a bad fighter. You embarrass me. You're a druggie, you're an alcoholic' - she only used to look at his bad things," he explained.
"The only reason we used to fight was the drink," Amanda told Moriarty.
"Would you hit him?"
"No. But I used to throw things on him," she replied. "When I was mad, it happened. I'm not gonna lie, you know. But I never touched my husband."
Amanda says their fights were all about getting Arturo to stop drinking.
"She tried to help him," Casino said. "I was there when she tried to help him."
But Arturo wouldn't listen. By the spring of 2009, he was living apart from Amanda and the baby and even talking divorce. "I would just say, 'Oh, it's over... Oh, I'm leavin.' You know, 'I cannot take this anymore,'" she explained.
According to Gisella, "He was fed up with her, fed up of living that life."
But separation - and even a court order demanding Arturo stay away from his wife - didn't end the bickering. The Gattis began furiously texting each other.
"For me you are an embarresment inside and out of the ring..." wrote Amanda... "wake up looser. Noone is jeualous of your f----d up life!!!!"
In another: "i hope u crash wan u text"
But just as quickly as the Gatti relationship could erupt into violence, it could settle back into domestic bliss.
"One day that it's over, he couldn't take it anymore, he couldn't hack her attitude, her character," Gisella explained. "And then three days later...we'd know they were back together. We couldn't understand."
And that's exactly what seemed to happen in late May 2009, When Amanda says her husband surprised her with a trip.
They would spend two weeks in Europe, and then fly to Brazil for a family graduation. She says it was a second honeymoon. But Arturo's friends think he had his reasons for patching things up.
"His son, he was scared to lose his son," Tony Rizzo said. "I spoke to him about it a few times. He said, 'Tony, I have to see my son, I got to stick to this no matter what."
And they believe Amanda had her own agenda.
"The way I saw it at the end of the day it was a money relationship," said Tony.
"I think if Arturo didn't have this money, I don't think Amanda would've been with him," said Gisella.
Amanda insists she didn't even know he had money when they met. But according to Tony Rizzo, Amanda's relationship with Arturo didn't start as a walk in the park as she claims.
Although even Arturo told some people they'd met walking dogs, Tony Rizzo says he heard it actually was at a New Jersey strip club where Amanda reportedly worked. "He said he met her at the Squeeze, the strip bar," he said.
"It's a lot of things I've done in the past of course I'm not proud of," Amanda told Moriarty. "But I never worked in this place."
But "48 Hours" was given taped statements from four employees of the Squeeze Lounge who contradict her.
Lanette Sciarra: "I met her when I was working at the Squeeze Lounge."
Michael Prosperi: "She was a stripper."
Lanette Sciarra: "Exotic dancer, stripper, however you want to label it."
Naomi Prosperi: "...she was actually on stage."
Lanette Sciarra: "I have a picture of her on stage."
Amanda says that picture was taken at a party in the Squeeze Lounge, but there's no record that she ever worked as a stripper in the club and she has sued publications that reported that she did.
"Why [would] so many people say you worked in this strip club?" Moriarty asked.
"They just want to make me look bad," Amanda replied.
"The reason why it matters is there are critics who say if you're not honest about that -"
"What else are you not being honest about?"
"Of course. I believe that, too. But I never worked there," she insisted.
Suspicions about Amanda deepened when, just before the couple left on their trip to Europe and Brazil, Arturo drew up a new will leaving nearly everything he had - an estate worth millions - to his wife and son.
"That was signed like few days before we went to Europe," said Amanda.
"I mean less than a month before he died," Moriarty commented.
"Had you pushed him to do it?"
"No. Not at all," said Amanda.
"He signs a new will, and three weeks later he's dead? Come on," said Tony Rizzo.
After signing the new will, the couple took off for Europe.
Three weeks later, when Arturo's friend, Gisella got news of his death, she remembered an outburst from Amanda in the midst of one of the couple's angry texting sessions. At one point she says Amanda turned toward her, saying words she'll never forget.
"'I'm gonna show him what bad is. I'm gonna show him what a bitch is. I'm gonna kill him,'" Gisella recalled.
Amanda denies she said it, and has her own supporters.
"There are a lot of people who think she's a gold digger, that she married him for his money and might be responsible for killing him for his money," Moriarty remarked to Tom Casino.
"I happen to disagree" he replied. "I think she was a loving wife that tried to help him."
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