Proud New Englander Micky Ward will finally spend the approaching winter months in a warmer climate than the expected frigid conditions of his native Lowell, Mass.
Ward, the retired fighter who thrilled fans with his epic three-bout series with the late Arturo Gatti and inspired the film The Fighter, will become another of South Florida’s winter snowbirds. Only this visit is not about fun and relaxation.
Ward has been signed as training consultant to many of the fighters promoted by Deerfield Beach-based Acquinity Sports. The one-year agreement will enable Ward to assist the company’s lead trainer, Herman Caicedo, in the gym and also work as a cornerman during fights.
“I like to help the younger generations of kids coming up, pass down some experience, whether it’s training or life in general and whatever it might bring,” Ward said. “Being in a boxing ring leads to a lot of respect.”
Ward, 47, said his hiring originated with conversations between a friend of Ward’s and a friend of Acquinity Sports president Gary Jonas.
“When I was approached, we just talked about how I trained guys now back home in Boston,” Ward said. “One thing led to another. I thought about it, talked to my wife and she was very supportive of us moving here. We saw it as a good fit, and here I am.”
Ward, who will live in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea during his South Florida stay, began working with Acquinity fighters last week. Five will fight in the company’s next show Nov. 30 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. Joan Guzman will attempt to become Acquinity’s first champion, when he faces Khabib Allakhverdiev for the vacant World Boxing Association super-lightweight title.
“I’m just trying to help Herman and give him a hand,” Ward said. “Hopefully take them to the next level.
“There is a lot of talent in the gym, probably the most talent I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
The comeback bug never afflicted Ward after he retired in 2003 with a career record of 38-13 with 27 knockouts. Ward’s final fight was the third of his brutal battles with Gatti.
After nearly a year disconnected from boxing, Ward began his training career.
“I never came back because every time I fought I gave it 100 percent,” Ward said. “I trained as hard as I could and I fought as hard as I could. When I retired, there were no what-ifs. Had I cut corners, maybe I would have come back.”
Ward still misses Gatti. The two struck a friendship and Ward worked Gatti’s corner for his last fight against Alfonso Gomez in 2007. Gatti was found dead in an apartment while vacationing in his wife’s native Brazil three years ago.
“It’s unbelievable; I’m still in shock,” Ward said of Gatti’s death. “I came down and visited him when he trained here in Florida. We hung out and talked a lot. We became very close. He would come up to Massachusetts and see me.
“Now we could have been doing things together in boxing events like many retired rivals do. What a tragedy.”
• Adrien Broner won the World Boxing Council lightweight title with an eighth-round technical knockout win over defending champion Antonio DeMarco in Atlantic City, N.J.
Broner (25-0, 21 KOs) floored a bruised and fading DeMarco (28-3-1) with a flurry of unanswered combinations to the head in the eighth round. DeMarco’s cornermen threw in the towel to avoid their fighter additional harm, forcing referee Benji Esteves to stop the bout at 1:49 of the round.