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
Who could be surprised if he couldn’t see his own way out of them? Despite his crazed circumstances Dicky still had heart, he still loved his family, he still looked out for his guys.
Drinking almost ruined Ward’s family on a near daily basis. The day would begin happily enough but by early evening, once enough booze had been consumed, snarky criticism became open conflict and people beat the hell out of each other.
Then the next day all the dysfunction from the day before would be forgotten, then it would start all over again. It was a crazy life, but it was all he had ever known.
No wonder the two of them loved boxing. Boxing offered hope to kids stuck in hopeless circumstances.
It kept you off the streets and out of trouble. If you did well your community started rooting for you. They didn’t take notice you any other way.
Although The Fighter spends most of its time exploring Dicky’s inner demons, as Ward’s new book makes clear for the first time he had a few secrets of his own too.
From about the age of about nine a young man who was a family friend 10 years older began sexually abusing him. It became a regular thing and it troubled him.
When he was 15 he met the man in the boxing ring and he later confronted him about what had happened. He could have taken the man’s head off, he realized, but that could have led to a prison sentence for him that would have meant his abuser had won, he said.
That kind of self-discipline is hard won, but he had it. The one thing that has defined Ward’s life in the ring and out of it more than anything else was his refusal to ever give up. He just wouldn’t do it.
In fight after fight he stood his ground and went back in, even – and perhaps especially – when everyone else was telling him to stop. Ward defied the one thing that ends boxing careers faster than anything – fatigue in the ring.
He swears he doesn’t know where that refusal comes from, but it’s not hard to imagine the years spent watching his brother almost rise to the top, only to have his dreams all cruelly snatched away, didn’t strengthen his resolve never to let it happen to him too.
Nowadays, after all the hype has died down and the Oscar parties have ended, Ward insists he has no regrets. He got to spend most of his life doing what he loved, boxing.
He admits he didn’t make the major billfolds of other ring stars like Mike Tyson or Oscar De La Hoya, but he did find firm financial stability and he did become the only Irish Catholic lad from Lowell to end up having a big Hollywood movie made about him. That’s not bad going at all compared to how his story could have ended.
Now Ward works in construction and for Teamsters Local 25 as a driver. There are side effects to his long career in the sweet science that give him pause, like the double vision he gets if he looks up too quickly.
He is, he also reveals in his new book, a candidate for pugilistic dementia. But he’s philosophical about it.
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