Aspire Magazine Issue 2 - Page 18

/ /////// P U RV EYO RS O F PLAY < FRONTRUNNER THE FIGHTER “Irish” Micky Ward is arguably the boxer of the century. BY ROB STORY “Irish” Micky Ward had a movie made about his life. This happens to a rare few in our society, so it’s considered an honor, even if the film is lousy. The film about Ward, however, is superb. The Fighter (2010), starring Mark Wahlberg as Ward, earned seven Academy Award nominations and won two. The thing is, Hollywood never makes biopics about happy, contented lives. No, sir. What does it mean when your life story is dramatic enough to unfurl on the silver screen? It means your life, at times, sucked. There may be redemption in the end, but typically after tsunamis of tragedy and heartbreak. For Ward, 52, life began in a raucous household in working-class Lowell, Massachusetts. Alongside seven sisters were two boys, Micky and half-brother Dicky Eklund—who became such a notorious crack addict 16 ISSUE TWO | ASPIRE that he was profiled in an HBO special. The first half of The Fighter chronicles the many occasions where Dicky’s addiction knocks the family sideways while their mother mismanages Micky’s career. An all-time low includes an insane match in Atlantic City: Micky, a welterweight (140-147 pounds), was scheduled to fight someone in his own class, but that opponent fell ill, so his greedy family convinced him to instead battle a fighter 20 pounds heavier, a massive difference in boxing. Micky got hammered and lost. When Ward laid out his hardscrabble life to the screenwriters of The Fighter, he never fully explained why he became fanatical about boxing at the age of seven. Not until 2012, in his autobiography A Warrior’s Heart: The True Story Before and Beyond The Fighter, did Ward detail a horrible secret. He revealed he’d been sexually abused