The fact that he was a white Irish kid meant that he would have a backing, a following, people who would pay to see him. The fact that he could fight was very important, too, because you didn't want to have a tomato can up there getting knocked out. Halloran continues: "So the fact that he was a prideful Irish fighter, the kind of fighter—I'm sure it's true of other ethnicities, as well, but it does feel to me that a lot of the Irish guys are this way—who absolutely will not quit; Micky was like that.
Ward's record bears that out, as does the dramatic story of the real-life challenges behind it. Ward had a fight career, beginning June 13, Disappointing losses, family problems and management issues led him to retire in , but he returned to the ring in June By final retirement at age 37 in June , he'd fought six world champions and a slew of continental champions, compiling a record of 38 wins, 13 losses, 0 draws and 27 wins by knockout.
These successes reflected not only his toughness in the ring, but also his ability to maintain focus while in the midst of a perpetual storm outside it. Ward came of age in The Acre, Lowell's working-class Irish neighborhood, during a troubled time for the city, in the s and s, when the city faced an epidemic of drug abuse. Eklund, Ward's older half-brother and eventual trainer, was a fringe world-class boxer in the s who went the distance in a round loss to rising star Sugar Ray Leonard.
Eklund eventually succumbed to crack, and this led to much agita for Ward. Halloran explains that Ward, seven years younger, really looked up to his brother, adding, "I think it's another credit to Micky that, when his big brother fell into crack and drugs and crime, Micky didn't follow him into it.
I always thought Micky was in the eye of a hurricane. There was so much wildness around him, and he stayed right in the center of it—focused, determined, hard-working, didn't get caught up in any of that stuff. There was also the failed attempt of their mother, Alice Ward, at managing Ward's career and the stress of his seven sisters, "any one of whom," Halloran explains at one point in "Irish Thunder," "could barge into his locker room drunk at any time.
Life of Irish Micky a thundering hard read
But in the middle of the tumult, Ward glimpsed clarity, a combination of fatherly guidance from a trainer and a characteristically Irish resolve leading him to it. This article may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed without prior permission from the author. Views: Tags: Boxing , Micky , Sport , Ward. Share Tweet. Join The Wild Geese.
'Irish Thunder' biographer discusses Micky Ward's fall, rise, 'Irish' brand
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