Irish Thunder

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Micky Ward is THE FIGHTER that inspired the major motion picture.

Welcome to Lowell, where anything can happen.

Rocky Marciano fought at the Auditorium in 1947. Mike Tyson fought there in his Golden Gloves days. Sugar Ray Leonard won there, as did Marvin Hagler. Each of them prepared for his battle downstairs in the boiler room, just like thousands of other kids.

"Irish" Micky Ward grew up in the 1970s and '80s as a tough kid from Lowell, Massachusetts - a town where boxers were once bred as a means of survival. A hard worker who overcame bad luck, bad management, and chronic pain in his hands, he avoided the pitfall of poverty and dead-end work that plagued Lowell to become a Golden Gloves junior welterweight.

Ward participated in street fights from an early age and was forever known by his opponents and spectators as the underdog. But with his incredible ability to suddenly drop an opponent late in a fight with his trademark left hook, he kept proving everyone wrong.

After fifteen years of boxing, a string of defeats, and three years of retirement, Micky battled Arturo Gatti in 2002 in the battle that was later named "Fight of the Year" by Ring magazine and dubbed "Fight of the Century" by boxing writers and fans across the country. Ten rounds of brutal action ended with Micky winning by decision, and reviving enthusiasm for a sport that had been weighted down by years of showboating and corruption. ESPN and Boston television reporter Bob Halloran recounts Micky's rise to hero status, his rivalry with his imprisoned brother, and the negotiations, betrayals, and drugs that ultimately shaped a wild youth into a nationally respected boxer.

BOB HALLORAN is the weekend news and sports anchor at WCVB-TV in Boston. He is also a former ESPN anchor and columnist for He has worked as a news and sports anchor in New England for over twenty years, and he writes a weekly column for Boston's Metro newspaper.

©2010 Bob Halloran (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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