6 Questions with Gary Balletto: Pride, Passion, Perserverance

By: John DeLuca

Email: news@abc6.com

Twitter: @ABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – In the ring Gary "Tiger" Balletto was a puncher with power; able to knock out opponents with either hand.

He had thirty-six pro fights, won thirty-one of them, with twenty-six by knockout alone. His conditioning and strength were the stuff of legend.

Before his accident he was training to break the world record for pull-ups. He was up to 47 in one minute.

The day tragedy struck, Gary was using a makeshift pull-up bar wedged between 2 trees in his yard.

He was showing his young son a gymnastic twirl; his son liked it and he asked his dad to spin around again. That’s when the un-secured bar gave way.

G: The second time I spun around and crashed down to the ground and landed right on my chin. The wrong way…the worst way possible.

J: Did you know right then how bad it was?

G: I knew it…I knew it right away…right away.

J: Considering the severity of the injury…do you consider it a miracle that you made it?

G: I do think it’s a miracle that I lived…umm I’m thankful for I am alive and able to see my kids everyday and see them grow.

J: Do you pray a lot?

G: I do not pray a lot…maybe I should pray more.. I’m a believer in hard work. I work harder than hoping harder.

J: Were you always like that or is that something that’s changed?

G: No…I’ve always been like that… I believe in God. I’m a Catholic…but I’m not a heavily religious guy.

J: Do you believe you’ll walk again one day?

G: I do believe I’ll walk again some day.

J: Why do you believe that?

G: I think we’re close to finding a cure… I believe you know…within 4 years…we’re gonna have a cure.

J: A lot of people see you as an inspiration…when you hear people tell you that…what is that like for you?

G: It’s a great feeling..when I get looked at as an inspiration so many times over and over again. People have told me ‘when I have a problem and I’m feeling down I look at you…or look at one of your videos and I don’t have it so bad’. That makes me feel great.

J: As you look back, all that’s happened since the injury…anything good come out of it?

G: I haven’t thought about that…but I think there’s a lot of good that came out of me getting injured. I would’ve never touched as many people that I’ve touched in my life…should I not have this injury. I think people look up to me more now for the fight that I’m in now than they did when I was a world champion.

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