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"Irish" Micky Ward (born October 4, 1965) is a retired junior welterweight professional boxer from Lowell, Massachusettsmarker. He is best known for his trilogy of fights with the late Arturo Gatti.

Career

Ward won three New Englandmarker Golden Gloves titles as an amateur before turning pro in 1985. He was coached by former New England Olympic Champion John Peverada (of Portland Maine). He started off 14-0 in his professional career, but after a stretch of defeats in the early 1990s, Ward hung up the gloves for a period of three years. He returned in 1994 with a vengeance, winning nine straight fights and earning some fights against big name fighters like Gatti.

Ward was known for his devastating left hook to the body and his ability to withstand punishment while waiting to land his trademark shot. A perennial underdog, he has been known to suddenly drop his opponent in the late rounds with a single shot to the body (as he did against Emanuel Augustus, then known as Emanuel Burton).

After a 15-year pro career, the veteran Ward gained widespread fame in his May 18, 2002 fight with Arturo Gatti, broadcast live on HBO. In 2001, Ward's battle with Emanuel Augustus on July 13 had been named the Ring Magazine Fight of the Year, a fight some thought Augustus won, and it served to set up the much-anticipated Ward-Gatti matchup. Ward-Gatti I saw both fighters withstand an amazing amount of punishment through 10 rounds of non-stop action. Ward, who dropped Gatti in the ninth round with a vicious left hook to the body, won the fight by majority decision.

Ward-Gatti I was hailed as the "Fight of the Century" by boxing fans and writers, and Round 9 of that bout was called "The Round of the Century" by Emanuel Steward, who co-hosted the fight live on HBO. Ring Magazine named Ward-Gatti I the Fight of the Year for 2002.

In their rematch, Gatti neutralized Ward's body punching power by boxing and staying low. In the third round, Gatti knocked Ward to the canvas with a thundering overhand right which landed on Ward's ear. Ward sprawled into the turnbuckle and stayed down for the mandatory 8 count. Nobody, especially Gatti (who after the fight called it "the hardest punch I've ever landed") expected Ward to get up, never mind finish the fight. It later turned out that Gatti had fractured his right hand after a hard punch to Ward's hip, but continued to punch with his right hand.

Commentators noted that if it had been any other fighter than Ward, the referee would have stopped the fight in the third round. Some feel the fight should have been stopped as Ward took an additional 7 rounds of punishment in a lopsided Gatti victory. Ward and Gatti earned over one million dollars apiece for Ward-Gatti II.Ward and Gatti had a third fight, on June 7, 2003. Despite dropping Gatti in round six, Ward lost by a ten round unanimous decision. Ward-Gatti 3 was named Fight of the Year for 2003 by Ring Magazine, which meant that Ward had earned that honor three times. While Ward never won one of the "Big Four" world titles, he captured both the WBU Intercontinental Light Welterweight title and the WBU Light Welterweight title. He also won the respect and admiration of many fans worldwide at this late stage in his career. Before his final fight with Gatti,Ward had announced his plans to retire after the fight.

Legacy

In his native Massachusettsmarker, Micky Ward is regarded as a working class hero, a blue-collar athlete who has overcome many difficulties in life and prevailed through determination and hard work. However, the remainder of the Ward and Eckland families are viewed as low lifes and drug addicts. For example, Ward's older half-brother, Dickie Eklund, was also a professional fighter, and once faced Sugar Ray Leonard only later did Dickie Ecklund become featured in the 1995 HBO documentary High on Crack Street, a portion of which is filmed at one of Micky Ward's earlier fights.

The upcoming film, The Fighter, recounts Ward's climb to fame. Mark Wahlberg has been cast for the role of Micky, with Christian Bale as his half-brother, Dickie Eklund. Amy Adams has been confirmed as a love interest of Ward in the film. Filming began in Lowell in late July 2009.

The song "The Warrior's Code" by the Bostonmarker punk rock band Dropkick Murphys is dedicated to Micky Ward, and his photograph appears on the cover of the album of the same title. Micky Ward used the biographical song, One Hit To The Body, by fellow Lowell native D-Tension, as his official ring entrance music for his biggest fights including his victory over Arturo Gatti.Ward's life is chronicled in a biography by Bob Halloran entitled Irish Thunder: The Hard Life and Times of Micky Ward.

Ward's fight with Arturo Gatti would become the cover of the video game Fight Night Round 3, on the PlayStation 2 and XBOX versions of the game.

References

  1. StarBlogs.net: Mark Wahlberg Lands Role of Mickey Ward
  2. Adams Tackles Wahlberg's 'Fighter' - Dark Horizons
  3. The Fighter Set Photos!


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