Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reel People: Mark Wahlberg is "Irish" Micky Ward

The film is The Fighter directed by David O. Russell, with a screenplay and story by Eric Johnson, Paul Tamsay, Scott Silver, Russell, and Keith Dorrington.

"Irish" Micky Ward

Micky Ward was born in 1965 in the mill city of Lowell, Massachusetts. Ward's family, like others in the town was certainly blue collar.

Ward had an older half brother Dickie Eklund, almost 8 years older than him. Eklund was known as "The Pride of Lowell" as a welterweight fighter. When Ward was 12, his half-brother Eklund took Sugar Ray Leonard in a 10 round contest. The fight in Boston certainly drew the attention of people, especially Ward who looked up to Eklund.

The town of Lowell had it's own financial difficulties, which was only made worst by the lure of drugs in the town. Eklund fell prey to the drug scene and became addicted to drugs and was in and out of criminal mischief. This all proved to diminishing his chances at continued success in the sport.

Ward did have the opportunity to have Eklund as his trainer, and before going professional as a boxer in 1985, he had won the New England amateur boxing award, the Golden Glove, three times.

At 20, upon going pro, having been coached by Olympic coach John Peverada, he went on to have an impressive 14-0 record. Ward's success then diminished and he decided to give up on professional boxing for a season.

During this time, as in most of his boxing career, Ward worked for the Newport Construction Corporation, which truly made him a working class hero.

Ward returned to boxing in 1994 with great success winning 9 fights in a row.

At this same time, Eklund continued to struggle with drugs, and in 1995 was even featured in an HBO documentary, High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell.

In 2002 and 2003, Mickey Ward and fellow boxer Arturo Gatti engaged in a trilogy of fights aired on HBO, that many consider some of the best box matches ever aired. These fights were considered the fights of the year largely due to the stamina and intensity of the two athletes who fought round after round after round. Prior to the third fight with Gatti, Ward announced his retirement.

The Fighter

The film The Fighter was filmed in Lowell, Massachusetts, a central part of Ward's life story. Mark Wahlberg plays the title role as "Irish" Mickey Ward. Christian Bale plays half-brother Dick Eklund.

Amy Adams character is rumored to be a love interest of Ward, while Melissa Leo plays Dick Eklund's mother, Alice. The film distributed and produced by paramount is set to release at the heart of award season at the end of November.

Will Wahlberg, already an Oscar nominee (The Departed) earn a second nomination for playing this Reel (Real) Person?

Photo credit: From The Fan Site, Awesome Mark Wahlberg

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