"Cover your left eye or it's over!" —Dr. Stephen Gelfman

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

As soon as Gatti sat down in the corner, Souza and ringside physician Stephen Gelfman made like a couple of hockey players battling for a puck along the boards, practically hip-checking each other for position. Souza started going to work on the left eye, but the doc cut right in and told the sexagenarian Enswell artist to "back off." What followed would become a part of eternal boxing lore.

"Cover your left eye," Gelfman told Gatti. "I'm all right," the fighter responded, hoping to talk his way out of trouble. "Cover your left eye or it's over!" So Gatti affixed his left glove to his left eye—for about one second before taking it away. "I said cover it!" the exasperated physician yelled. Gatti complied, then answered correctly when Gelfman twice asked him how many fingers he was holding up (two, then one). The doc exited, and Souza was finally able to start doing his job.

"It was madness in the corner," Lynch remembers. An urban legend spread in later years about a cornerman tapping a nearly blind Gatti on the back, two taps and then one tap, to help him pass his exam. "I've heard that too, and that would make for a great story, but it didn't happen," says Lynch. "I think Arturo could juuust see out of the eye enough to get it right. Or maybe he was guessing. If he was guessing, he was getting the numbers right, thank God."