Police detain wife of former boxing champion Gatti
July 12, 2009
SAO PAULO – The wife of former boxing champion Arturo Gatti was detained as a suspect by Brazilian authorities Sunday following his death at a posh seaside resort.
Police said 23-year-old Amanda Rodrigues was taken into custody after contradictions in her interrogation. Gatti’s body was found early Saturday in a hotel room at the Porto de Galinhas resort in northeastern Brazil.
The former junior welterweight champion was apparently strangled with the strap of a purse, which was found at the scene with blood stains, said Milena Saraiva, a spokeswoman for the Pernambuco state civil police. She told The Associated Press that the Canadian also had a head injury.
The investigation was not complete, but Saraiva said authorities were preparing to present a formal accusation against Rodrigues, who denied being involved in her husband’s death.
Police said Rodrigues, a Brazilian, could not explain how she spent nearly 10 hours in the room without noticing that Gatti was already dead.
Police were investigating witness reports that the couple fought and Gatti was drunk when he returned to his room Friday night, Saraiva said, adding that police were told the pair were extremely jealous of each other and that he constantly complained of her clothing when she traveled to Brazil.
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Acelino “Popo” Freitas, a four-time world champion Brazilian boxer, told Globo TV’s Web site on Saturday that he was a close friend of Gatti and his wife and that he “knew they were having some sort of problem and were about to separate.”
The couple’s 1-year-old son, who was unhurt, was with Rodrigues’ sister, Saraiva said.
The 37-year-old Gatti, whose epic trilogy with Micky Ward branded him one of the most exciting fighters of his generation, retired in 2007 with a career record of 40-9 and 31 knockouts.
Known for his straightforward punching and granite-like chin, Gatti captured the junior welterweight title in 1995, when he defeated Tracy Harris Patterson in Atlantic City.