Aspire Magazine Issue 2 - Page 19

/////////////////////////////////////////////// “I REALIZED THAT IF I TOOK JUSTICE INTO MY OWN HANDS, AND WOUND UP SPENDING THE REST OF MY LIFE ROTTING IN A PRISON CELL, HE WOULD HAVE WON.” —MICKY WARD for several years as a child. The perpetrator was a family friend about a decade older than Ward. The boxer never took full revenge on “the homeless bum” with his fists, Ward says, because “I realized that if I took justice into my own hands, and wound up spending the rest of my life rotting in a prison cell, he would have won.” Ward instead spent his life in the ring. Launching his career in 1985, he was first considered a “stepping stone”—a boxer others would fight in order to move up in the rankings. But that reputation was eventually overcome by Ward’s renown as a relentless “crowder,” a boxer unafraid to get inside and throw lethal jabs. A crowder requires a “good chin”—the ability and willingness to take a punch. Ward’s good chin and work ethic bestowed 21 victories in his first 24 fights. But suddenly, in the early ‘90s, his career leveled off. He lost four consecutive fights. “I was getting burned out,” he says. So he took a hiatus. Started working on a road-paving crew. He eventually, however, felt the itch to box again, and used construction money for a surgery that reinforced bones in his right hand with bone from his pelvis. He re-entered the ring on June 17, 1994— perhaps the craziest day in U.S. sports history. On that single day, the USA hosted the FIFA World Cup for the first time; Arnold Palmer played his final round at the U.S. Open; the Knicks and Rockets battled for the NBA championship; and all of them, including Ward’s fight, were overwhelmed by NFL Hall of Famer and fugitive O.J. Simpson cruising through L.A. in a white Bronco. Ward not only won that night, but his next eight fights, as well, eventually claiming the World Boxing Union’s light welterweight title. “Though most guys taper off in their late 30s, I was becoming a better boxer.” Then—in the first years of the new millenium—Micky Ward made boxing history. Three years in a row (2001-03) his battles were named “Fight of the Year” by Ring Magazine. The second two awards resulted from his legendary “trilogy” with Arturo Gatti. Ward prevailed in the first go-round, yet the first and third fights were so brutal both combatants landed in the hospital with injuries. Ward considers the trilogy the highlight of his career. He quit boxing right after. Today he runs a website that sells memorabilia, owns a boxing gym, and works construction on the side. The Fighter is dear to him and he remains friends with Wahlberg. His legacy, though, is a boxing story, not a Hollywood one. “In boxing, all that mattered to me was effort,” Ward says. “It’s alright with me if that’s what I’m known for—going out and giving everything I had.” FLIGHT CLUB EverybodyFights® Boxing Gym expands its national power punch. Founded by George Foreman III and Anthony Rich, son of Willowbend and Abaco Club homeowners and members Judy and Bryan Rich, EverybodyFights® Boxing Gym anchors its unique training approach with four class experiences based on a real fi ghter’s training camp: Bags (boxing), Train (circuit), Road (endurance) and Fight (technique). Foreman’s secret sauce? Balance. As a pro boxer, he knows a thing or two about optimal fi tness and throwing a punch—all of which require balance in the body and mind. With gyms currently in Boston, New York City, and Chicago, Foreman and Rich are bringing the boxing mindset to Lexington, Kentucky, where a new fl agship facility will open in spring 2018. Marrying the grit of a traditional boxing gym with the luxury amenities of today’s hottest studios, EverybodyFights is disrupting the traditional fi tness industry models—a knockout business. --everybodyfi ghts.com ASPIRE | ISSUE TWO 17