Box-office sensations Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale star in The Fighter, in theaters December 10, 2010, and Irish Thunder is the story behind the film, the story of ”Irish” Micky Ward’s unlikely road to the world light welterweight title.
Welcome to Lowell, Massachusetts — 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.
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