"What is keeping these guys up?" —Larry Merchant
"If the third wasn't a candidate for Round of the Year," Farhood wrote in KO, "the fourth certainly was." The wall-to-wall action started with Gatti loading up to the body, backing Rodriguez up with a right hand to the ribs 30 seconds into the round. Rodriguez tried a jab, but Gatti countered it with a booming straight right hand. "Gatti, boxing in the dark, through nearly closed eyes, here on Boxing After Dark," Lampley quipped. Gatti's half-blind rally continued with a sizzling counter right that forced Rodriguez to hold and inspired another "Gat-ti! Gat-ti!" chant.
The pace amplified to full-on frantic in the final minute of the round. Rodriguez scored with a right-left-right-left combo, Gatti absorbed it and fired back with a left hand, and Rodriguez ripped home three more shots in return. "What is keeping these guys up?" Merchant wondered aloud. That question became harder to answer just a moment later, when a left hand from the Dominican left Gatti hurt worse than at any point since the second-round knockdown. Gatti reeled into a corner and Rodriguez drummed his head back and forth with an eight-punch combination. Of course, in what would become typical Gatti fashion in the years ahead, Thunder was standing and trading just a few seconds later. And in similarly typical Gatti fashion, he snuck in a wicked low blow and got away with it. As the final seconds of the round ticked down, Gatti was winging away with no response from Rodriguez, prompting the defending titlist to give his opponent a cocky nod of the head as he strutted away at the bell.
Dr. Gelfman came to the Gatti corner to test his vision again, and again, Gatti successfully counted fingers twice. But perhaps the more significant drama was unfolding some 25 feet away. There, Rodriguez's cornermen offered straight-forward advice that reeked of creeping concern: "Stay away from him."