Irish Micky Ward: "The Fighter" speaks out
The real-life boxer behind the Oscar-nominated movie
Eight years ago, Irish America magazine honored boxer Micky Ward as one of “The Irish 100.” Ward received his tribute at the annual Irish America awards banquet at the Plaza Hotel in New York.
“I don’t know why I’m being honored,” Micky said that night. Then he turned toward fellow honoree, Robert Morris, leader of the New York City Fire Department’s “Rescue One” unit. “I go in the ring two, maybe three, times a year, and it’s for myself. Guys like Captain Morris are the real heroes. They put their life on the line every day to keep the rest of us safe.”
That’s Micky Ward. Unpretentious, soft-spoken, a bit shy, more of a listener than a talker. Now, seven years after the end of his ring career, he has been catapulted into the spotlight with the release of the feature film, 'The Fighter'
'The Fighter' stars Mark Wahlberg as Ward and centers on the relationship between Micky and his half-brother, Dickie Eklund. Sterling performances by Christian Bale (as Eklund), Amy Adams (as Micky’s girlfriend, Charlene), and Melissa Leo (as Alice Ward, the conniving matriarch of the dysfunctional Ward clan) give it extra impact. Dickie’s addiction to crack and the havoc it wreaks on those around him is a key plot element. As this issue of Irish America goes to press, the film and its actors have been nominated for numerous high-profile awards.
Ward was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on October 4, 1965. He turned pro at age nineteen and won his first fourteen fights before dropping a split decision to Edwin Curet. He rebounded with four wins; then went through a stretch that saw him lose six of nine bouts leading to a 32-month hiatus from boxing. He returned to the ring in 1994 and won nine straight to land a world title fight against Vince Phillips.
Micky was stopped on cuts by Phillips (the only “KO by” of Ward’s career). He retired from boxing in 2003 with a 38-and-13 record and 27 knockouts to his credit.
The key to Ward’s legacy as a fighter lies in his last three fights; a brutal trilogy against Arturo Gatti. The first of these encounters is widely regarded as one of the most dramatic slugfests of all time. Micky won.
“It was a tough fight,” Ward said afterward. “Two guys with a lot of heart; two guys with the will to win. I was very drained, as tired as I’ve ever been. The night after the fight, I sat down and watched the tape. That’s when I knew it was something special. That’s also when I said to myself, ‘These two guys are nuts.’”
Ward versus Gatti captured the imagination of fight fans across the nation. For their rematch, each man was paid the remarkable sum of $1,200,000. That led Micky to note, “If someone had told me ten years ago when I lost all those fights and retired from boxing that someday I’d make a million bucks from one fight, I’d have thought they were crazy.”
- Gay wedding cakes latest target of anti-gay...
- Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent...
- An open letter in strong defence of capitalism.
- A Magdalene Laundry US adoptee who holds...
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- Nelson Mandela was against IRA decommissioning.
- Families as well as Catholic Church and governm
- Baby dies in horror birth at Belfast hospital...
- Gay teacher fired from Catholic school after...
- Sarah Palin is saving Christmas