Irish boxing champ Micky Ward’s inspirational and shocking bio “A Warrior’s Heart” - VIDEOS
Cahir O'Doherty reviews new memoir - a true and sometimes shocking story
Irish Micky Ward, 46, is the legendary boxer whose real life tale inspired the Academy Award winning film The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg.
But as we all know real life isn’t like the movies, even when it sticks close to the original facts. So Ward has just released his own memoir, A Warrior’s Heart: The True Story of Life Before and Beyond the Fighter (Berkley) that’s every bit as captivating and well told, but this time it’s his story in his own words about what happened to him before and after the film.
As his fans know, Ward is the former American junior welterweight professional boxer and former Word Boxing Union (WBU) champion who hails from the hardscrabble Irish American working class town of Lowell in Massachusetts.
Ward’s real life title bout against Shea Neary was the climax of The Fighter, winning him the coveted WBU title, but he participated in many other legendary bouts before and after that have ensured his legend will endure.
How did Ward do it? A Warrior’s Heart makes clear luck and the right temperament were involved, but there were also two other early and enduring influences on his life that defined him.
The first major influence was his often terrifying (and terrifyingly loyal) Irish American family. The second was his hero worship of his older half-brother Dicky, who he loved and admired in about equal measure.
There’s a crucial difference between a fighter and a boxer, Ward writes. The fighter is born, not made. You’re either blessed with the courage to get the better of your fear or your not. And if you’re not you’re probably going to spend a lot of time getting knocked on your butt.
In contrast a boxer is a tactician and an athlete, he writes, a man who spends hours in the gym perfecting his skills. A boxer, Ward claims, is made, not born.
But luckily for Ward, he was one of those rare individuals who could combine both qualities in the ring. That was what took him all the way to the top.
It was Dicky who took his younger brother to the gym for the first time, where the older boy was already becoming a boxing prodigy. The two kids with the comically rhyming names both had more talent that they knew what to do with, and figuring out what to do with it would be the work of a lifetime.
Dicky, for all his skill in the ring, was a mess in his personal life, with private demons he exorcised by abusing crack until it quickly got the better of him. In the process his best years were wasted, torn off, unused, flying by him so fast that he almost didn’t see them.
The Fighter begins at the end of Dicky’s decade long freefall in the abyss of drugs, when he had finally become the local kid who almost – but not quite – made it out of Lowell. But all those dreams got lost along the way, and what was left was a drug addicted shell of a man, who coulda shoulda woulda, a clichéd tough guy that nobody listened to anymore.
Ward doesn’t make any excuses for his older brother’s behavior in his new book, but he does point out that conflict and disappointment and broken dreams and anger were all he ever witnessed growing up.
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