How did boxer Arturo Gatti die?

Murder or suicide? "48 Hours" investigates controversy surrounding death of the world championship fighter

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," Tom 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 Mystery" has 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 Rizzo.

"He did drink, we all drank," Minieara 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.

Casino said, "He couldn't drive for 10 years."

And it wasn't just driving. Arrest reports obtained by "48 Hours Mystery" 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 Mystery" 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.

Rizzo 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."

"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 often living apart from Amanda and his 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 Minieara, "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," Minieara 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. Amanda 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.

"I think if Arturo didn't have this money, I don't think Amanda would've been with him," said Minieara.

Amanda insists she didn't even know he had money when they met. But friends of Arturo say they grew suspicious about Amanda's motives 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 - 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 Minieara, 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,'" Minieara 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."