George Michael Ward Jr. (born October 4, 1965), often known by his nickname of "Irish" Micky Ward, is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2003. He challenged once for the IBF light welterweight title in 1997, and held the WBU light welterweight title in 2000. Ward is widely known for his trilogy of fights with Arturo Gatti, two of which received Fight of the Year awards by The Ring magazine, as well as his relentless pressure fighting style. In the 2010 film The Fighter, based on his early career, Ward was portrayed by Mark Wahlberg.
Ward in March 2011
|Real name||George Michael Ward Jr.|
|Height||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Reach||70 in (178 cm)|
|Born||October 4, 1965|
Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Wins by KO||28|
Ward was a three-time New England Golden Gloves champion boxer who turned pro in 1985, winning his first fourteen fights. However, his career leveled off, and after losing four consecutive fights in 1990/91, Ward took a hiatus from boxing. During Ward's time away from the sport, he used some of the funds from his day job on a road-paving crew to have surgery on his right hand, which had given him problems during several bouts. The surgery used some of the bone from Ward's pelvis to strengthen and fuse the bones in his hand. His half-brother, former boxer Dicky Eklund, who was struggling with drug addiction and had just been released from jail on charges including drug possession, convinced Ward to take up the sport again.
Ward was successful in his return, winning his first nine fights, and won the WBU's Intercontinental Light Welterweight Title in a fight against Louis Veader. He defended the belt once, in a rematch against Veader.
In a 1997 match that would come to typify the exceptional power of Ward's left hook to the body, he scored a 7th-round knockout against the then-undefeated Mexican Alfonso Sanchez in a fight that Ward, up to then, was clearly losing on points. Shortly before the punch, Larry Merchant said the fight should be stopped (which referee Mitch Halpern had threatened to do if Ward didn't "show [him] something"); afterwards Merchant called it one of the most extraordinary things he'd ever seen in boxing.
Ward's left hook to the body later resulted in a first-round knockout of Steve Quinonez and, perhaps most famously, a nine-count knockdown of Arturo Gatti in the first fight of their legendary trilogy.
Ward earned a 1997 IBF Light Welterweight Championship fight against champion Vince Phillips, but did not win the championship, as the fight was stopped in the third round due to cuts, and Phillips was awarded the bout via TKO. One year later, Ward again would come up short in a title fight, as he lost a 12-round decision against Zab Judah.
In 2000, Ward traveled to London to take on the WBU Light Welterweight Champion, Shea Neary, and earned a TKO in the eighth round to win the WBU title. Ward, however, never defended the title, and split his next four fights. His ten-round decision victory over Emanuel Augustus (then known as Emanuel Burton) was voted The Ring magazine's 2001 Fight of the Year.
Ward vs. Gatti trilogyEdit
On May 18, 2002, Ward faced the opponent with whom he became most identified, Arturo Gatti. The fight was a wild one, but a ninth round Ward knockdown of Gatti proved to be the difference, with Ward winning a majority decision. The fight was later named the 2002 Ring magazine fight of the year. Both fighters needed care in a trauma center after the match.
The two agreed to an immediate rematch, and in November, Gatti was able to win the second wild fight. Ward was knocked down in the third round, but survived to finish the fight. Gatti paid tribute to Ward's tenacity after the fight, saying, "I used to wonder what would happen if I fought my twin. Now I know."
They then agreed to a third straight fight, and again, the fight was back and forth. Gatti pounded Ward with punch after punch early on, but Ward fought back and managed a sixth round knockdown of Gatti. Before Gatti could get up, or the referee's count could hit ten, the bell sounded to end the round. Gatti was able to come back and win the fight via a unanimous decision. Again, both men needed a trip to the hospital, due to the injuries they suffered. The fight was named the 2003 Ring magazine fight of the year, the third straight for Ward. Ward was the first fighter to achieve this since Rocky Marciano and Carmen Basilio each did so in the 1950s.
Ward made approximately $3 million in earnings for his trilogy with Gatti; the most lucrative fights of his career.
Life after boxingEdit
Ward still lives in Lowell, where he is part owner of both a boxing gym as well as an outdoor hockey rink. Ward is married to Charlene Fleming, his longtime girlfriend, who is also a former athlete. He manages the boxing gym he owns and his half-brother and former trainer, Dicky Eklund, trains new boxers entering its academy.
In his 2012 autobiography, Ward revealed that he had been sexually abused as a child by a friend of Dicky's, another boxer referred to only by his nickname, "Hammer". The abuse began when Ward was nine years old and continued for approximately three years, until he gained the confidence to confront his attacker. Ward would eventually face off against Hammer in one of his first amateur bouts, winning by unanimous decision.
In popular cultureEdit
The story of Ward's comeback and rise to fame was made into a 2010 feature film, The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg (who was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor) as Ward. Wahlberg confirmed to Spike TV that The Fighter 2 is in the works, which will focus on the legendary fight trilogy between Ward and Arturo Gatti.
Professional boxing recordEdit
|Professional record summary|
|51 fights||38 wins||13 losses|
|51||Loss||38–13||Arturo Gatti||UD||10||Jun 7, 2003||Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|50||Loss||38–12||Arturo Gatti||UD||10||Nov 23, 2002||Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|49||Win||38–11||Arturo Gatti||MD||10||May 18, 2002||Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, U.S.|
|48||Loss||37–11||Jesse James Leija||TD||5 (10), 3:00||Jan 5, 2002||Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.||Split TD after Leija was cut from an accidental head clash|
|47||Win||37–10||Emanuel Augustus||UD||10||Jul 13, 2001||Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, U.S.|
|46||Win||36–10||Steve Quinonez||KO||1 (10), 3:03||May 18, 2001||Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.|
|45||Loss||35–10||Antonio Díaz||UD||10||Aug 19, 2000||Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.|
|44||Win||35–9||Shea Neary||TKO||8 (12), 2:55||Mar 11, 2000||London Olympia, London, England||Won WBU light welterweight title|
|43||Win||34–9||Reggie Green||TKO||10 (10), 2:40||Oct 1, 1999||Icenter, Salem, New Hampshire, U.S.|
|42||Win||33–9||Jermal Corbin||RTD||5 (10), 3:00||Jul 16, 1999||Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, U.S.|
|41||Win||32–9||Jose Luis Mendez||TKO||3 (8)||Mar 17, 1999||The Roxy, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|40||Loss||31–9||Zab Judah||UD||12||Jun 7, 1998||Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, Miami, Florida, U.S.||For vacant USBA interim light welterweight title|
|39||Win||30–9||Mark Fernandez||KO||3 (8), 1:57||Apr 14, 1998||Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.|
|38||Loss||30–8||Vince Phillips||TKO||3 (12), 2:49||Aug 9, 1997||The Roxy, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.||For IBF light welterweight title|
|37||Win||30–7||Alfonso Sanchez||KO||7 (10), 1:53||Apr 12, 1997||Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|36||Win||29–7||Manny Castillo||SD||10||Dec 6, 1996||Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nevada, U.S.|
|35||Win||28–7||Louis Veader||UD||12||Jul 28, 1996||Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.||Retained WBU Intercontinental light welterweight title|
|34||Win||27–7||Louis Veader||TKO||9 (12), 1:28||Apr 13, 1996||FleetCenter, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.||Won WBU Intercontinental light welterweight title|
|33||Win||26–7||Alex Ortiz||TKO||1 (6)||Mar 15, 1996||Wonderland Greyhound Park, Revere, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|32||Win||25–7||Alberto Alicea||TKO||3 (8)||Jan 26, 1996||Wonderland Greyhound Park, Revere, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|31||Win||24–7||Edgardo Rosario||TKO||1 (4)||Dec 30, 1995||Wonderland Greyhound Park, Revere, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|30||Win||23–7||Genaro Andujar||KO||3 (10)||Sep 10, 1994||Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|29||Win||22–7||Luis Castillo||TKO||5 (10)||Jun 17, 1994||Sheraton Inn, Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|28||Loss||21–7||Ricky Meyers||UD||10||Oct 15, 1991||Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|27||Loss||21–6||Tony Martin||UD||10||May 2, 1991||Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|26||Loss||21–5||Charles Murray||UD||12||Oct 18, 1990||Community War Memorial, Rochester, New York, U.S.||For vacant USBA light welterweight title|
|25||Loss||21–4||Harold Brazier||UD||12||Apr 26, 1990||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.||For IBF Inter-Continental light welterweight title|
|24||Win||21–3||David Rivello||SD||10||Feb 3, 1990||Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|23||Win||20–3||Clarence Coleman||TKO||5 (10), 2:50||May 23, 1989||Showboat, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|22||Loss||19–3||Frankie Warren||UD||12||Jan 15, 1989||Circus Maximus Showroom, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.||For USBA light welterweight title|
|21||Win||19–2||Francisco Tomas da Cruz||TKO||3 (10), 0:45||Dec 13, 1988||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|20||Loss||18–2||Mike Mungin||UD||10||Sep 9, 1988||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|19||Win||18–1||Marvin Garris||TKO||2 (10)||Jul 9, 1988||Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|18||Win||17–1||David Silva||UD||10||May 19, 1988||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|17||Win||16–1||Joey Olivera||UD||10||Feb 19, 1988||Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|16||Win||15–1||Joey Ferrell||TKO||1 (10), 2:36||Jan 15, 1988||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|15||Loss||14–1||Edwin Curet||SD||10||Sep 25, 1987||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|14||Win||14–0||Derrick McGuire||TKO||4 (8), 2:33||Aug 25, 1987||Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|13||Win||13–0||Kelly Koble||TKO||4 (8), 3:00||Apr 6, 1987||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|12||Win||12–0||Hilario Mercedes||SD||8||Feb 24, 1987||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|11||Win||11–0||Carlos Brandi||KO||2 (10), 2:55||Oct 24, 1986||Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|10||Win||10–0||John Rafuse||UD||8||Aug 29, 1986||Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|9||Win||9–0||Rafael Terrero||TKO||2 (6), 1:12||Jul 4, 1986||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|8||Win||8–0||Ken Willis||PTS||6||Jun 15, 1986||Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|7||Win||7–0||Luis Pizarro||TKO||3 (6), 2:39||May 30, 1986||Harrah's at Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|6||Win||6–0||Darrell Curtis||TKO||5 (6), 2:05||Apr 18, 1986||Harrah's at Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|5||Win||5–0||Jesus Carlos Velez||KO||6 (6), 2:02||Feb 21, 1986||Harrah's at Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|4||Win||4–0||Mike Peoples||UD||4||Jan 24, 1986||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|3||Win||3–0||Chris Bajor||TKO||3 (4), 1:17||Jan 10, 1986||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|2||Win||2–0||Greg Young||TKO||4 (4), 1:45||Aug 27, 1985||Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|1||Win||1–0||David Morin||TKO||1 (4), 1:20||Jun 13, 1985||Roll-On-America Skating Rink, Lawrence, Massachusetts, U.S.|
- Sheridan, Emily. "Mark Wahlberg swaps his Calvin Klein six-pack for a paunch to play out-of-shape boxer", Daily Mail, March 16, 2010
- Professional boxing record for Micky Ward from BoxRec
- Lidz, Franz. "Uncommon Valor", Sports Illustrated, June 16, 2003
- sweetfights. "Micky Ward vs Alfonso Sanchez Amazing Knock Out Body Punching" – via YouTube.
- Quinones, Rafael Garcia. "Revisiting the Fight of the Year for 2001: Micky Ward vs. Emanuel Burton", BleacherReport.com, January 9, 2010
- Boehm, Mike."Arturo Gatti: Remembering Ultimate Blood and Guts Warrior", ProBoxing-Fans.com, n.d.
- Aranda, Ramon. "Micky Ward to Attend Martinez-Dzinziruk Card" Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine, 3MoreRounds.com, February 24, 2011
- Lem Satterfield, provided by (2011-01-07). "Surprised Micky Ward's 'Honesty And Integrity' Recognized". Sfgate.com. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- "The Fighter" – via www.imdb.com.
- Ward, Micky (2012). A Warrior's Heart. Berkley Books. pp. 47–55. ISBN 9780425247556.
- Aranda, Ramon. "Mark Wahlberg Confirms The Fighter 2 in the Works" Archived 2012-07-24 at the Wayback Machine, 3MoreRounds.com, June 10, 2011
- "The Warrior's Code. Dropkick Murphys". Dropkickmurphys.com. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- "Epitaph Records. Dropkick Murphys". Epitaph.com. Archived from the original on 2012-09-28. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- Adams, David. "Ward, Gatti for Fight Night Round 3 Cover" Xbox.IGN.com, December 12, 2005
- Halloran, Bob. Irish Thunder: The Hard Life & Times of Micky Ward (Lyons Press, 2010) ISBN 978-0-7627-6986-5
- Cooley, Will. "'Vanilla Thrillas': Modern Boxing and White-Ethnic Masculinity," Journal of Sport and Social Issues 34:4 (November, 2010), 418–437.
- Raspanti, John J. and Taylor, Dennis. "Intimate Warfare: The True Story of the Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward Boxing Trilogy" [Rowman and Littlefield], (2016.) ISBN 978-1442273054
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Micky Ward|
Media related to Micky Ward at Wikimedia Commons
|Minor world boxing titles|
| WBU light welterweight champion
March 11, 2000 – October 21, 2000
Title next held byJason Rowland
Érik Morales vs.
Marco Antonio Barrera
| The Ring Fight of the Year
vs. Emanuel Augustus
Micky Ward vs.
Micky Ward vs.
| The Ring Fight of the Year
vs. Arturo Gatti
Micky Ward vs.
Arturo Gatti III
Micky Ward vs.
| The Ring Fight of the Year
vs. Arturo Gatti III
Marco Antonio Barrera vs.
Érik Morales III
|Inaugural award|| BWAA Fight of the Year
vs. Arturo Gatti III
James Toney vs.
| BWAA James A. Farley Award
for Honesty and Integrity