Posts Tagged ‘Micky Ward

05
Jul
11

Fighting like a girl …

Fighting like a girl …

David Haye and Vladimir Klitschko, 7/2/11, Photo Credit: Frank Augstein, AP

Did you all manage to catch the Vladimir Klitschko-David Haye fight last Saturday night?

I mean, what *was* that?  It certainly wasn’t a beer-fest because at least people would have been having fun!

From where I was sitting it was one of the most pathetic excuses for a prize-fight I ever saw and that is going some considering the caliber of some of the fighting lately!  A whopping 10 punches connecting in the first round for Klistschko and nine for Haye??  Everyone going wild on twitter because Haye threw three left jabs that actually connected in the third round!  Based on the comments, you’d think he’d been connecting like Christy Martin in her last outing, broken hand and all. Firing impressive double and triple jabs before landing an overhand right or an upper cut or two and bouncing back for more jabs.

No, I had the word right the first time. The fight was pathetic! No heart, no courage, no desire to fight with the kind of flat out determination we’ve come to love, admire and respect when women box … every time!

Consider the recent fight between Kaliesha West and Ava Knight.  We are talking ten hard fought rounds with no let up.  And because both fighters brought their best game to the match they fought to a draw.  In a way that’s about the best outcome you can have because it shows a terrific match-up — and the kind of commitment to the sport that brings on the highest caliber of fighting and heart that runs from the opening bell to the finish. And what you didn’t see was West or Knight feigning falls to the canvas for a respite. Nor did you see either fighter playing peek-a-boo or goading or any of the number of ridiculous feints that Haye used as his “fight” plan to actually avoid having to go toe-to-toe in the center of the ring.

Nope, from where I sit, it’s time to get schooled by some real fighting:  watching two high caliber female professional boxers having at it for ten rounds of fighting. Or for that matter, did you catch the recent US Nationals?  Or say any amateur or pro show lately where the action part of the card was the women’s fight?? Where are Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti when you need them?  I’ll tell you where, on the women’s card.

Klitschko and Haye promoted their fight as “The War.”  From where I sat, it was more like “The Wimp.”

Enough already, it’s time to fight like a girl.

Oh, and if you want to support a real fighter — consider joining the letter writing campaign being spurred on by Mark A. Jones and Amy Green to get the great Lucia Rijker inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.  Talk about a boxer with heart, she remains amazing!

If nothing else, show that your tired of the kind of hype that excuses boxing by writing to the IBHOF on Lucia’s behalf!  You’ll feel great afterwards!! (Letters can be sent my snail mail or fax!)

IBHOF
1 Hall of fame Drive
Canastota, NY 13032
FAX: 315-697-5356.
27
Feb
11

Congratulations to “The Fighter” for their fantastic Oscar wins!

Congratulations to “The Fighter” for their fantastic Oscar Wins!

The Fighter has come away a winner at the Oscars!  This well-written portrayal of Micky Ward’s rise to boxing acclaim is a heartfelt story about a family in crisis.  This wonderful film is a stirring retelling of the boxing parable of redemption and well worth the price of admission.

Best Supporting Actress – Melissa Leo for her portrayal of Alice Ward

Best Supporting Actor – Christian Bale for his portrayal of Dicky Eklund

06
Feb
11

Distance

Distance

Joe Frazier (left) and Mohammad Ali, Madison Square Garden, 1971, Hurley/News

One of the key things about boxing and life for that matter is figuring out one’s optimal distance from all manner of experiences.  Fighters learn early on that distance is the key to a successful bout not only in terms of establishing range, but in allowing a fighter clean shots, good defense and not to be underestimated, a way of psyching an opponent out.

Best way to frustrate an inside fighter … you got it, stay on the outside, but being careful to get inside just enough to keep the fans in the fight because an even worse sin is when one fighter creates too much distance by rabbiting around the ring.  On the other side of it, stay inside long enough and you end up in a Micky Ward/Arturo Gatti duel that while great for the fans is tough, tough, tough on the body.

Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward

And that’s the key isn’t it: creating an optimal space.  A place where your jab is perfect and the hook off the jab puts you in a terrific position to counter-punch for the upper-cut; where your punches connect enough to give a great show, but where your understanding of maintaining your distance from your opponent gives you the advantage and ultimately the win.

In life, say with your eleven-year-old daughter who isn’t in the mood to hear Mom chide her about whatever topic of the moment Mom feels insistent about … there’s not a lot of difference.  We can pray for the bell and go to our corners, we can tussle in the middle and both get hurt, we can parry and thrust and hope for the best or one of us, hopefully Mom, can know enough to go her third-way to find the perfect distance until the storm washes over us both enough to re-engage.

PS:  Girlboxing friend, Margaret Reyes Dempsey of Conjuring My Muse has nominated Girlboxing for the coveted Stylish Blogger Award. Girlboxing stylish, hmmm?  Well, why not!  Thanks Margaret!  In order to be considered for the award the following four tasks must be completed:

1. Present seven things about yourself
2. Name about a half-dozen bloggers you think deserve the award
3. Contact those people
4. Create a link back to the person who gave you the honor

As for the first task, here are seven things you don’t know about me:

1.  The closest I ever came to Muhammad Ali was in September 1991 when I stayed at a tiny beach hostel name-sake in a small village on the Red Sea called, Dahab, Egypt.  The town is best known as a demarcation point for Red Sea scuba diving — although I didn’t go there to dive, rather I was there for the fun of it.  My space at Mohammad Ali’s had a sand floor, concrete walls and a ceiling made of palm fronds loosely layered on top.  For my $1.00 a night I also got a candle (no electricity) and an insect repellent incense coil.  The best part of Dahab was listening to Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff,” wherever I went.

2.  The first dance I ever learned (aside from the hokey-pokey) was “The Wobble,” to Little Eva’s “The Locomotion” (and not to be confused with the current line dance, and not to confuse my “Wobble” with the dance “The Locomotion”).   I was eight years old and was playing on the sidewalk in front of my building on East 12th Street.  A girl named Lydia and her older sister Anna taught me the dance when the song came on Anna’s AM transistor radio.

3.  I discovered the delicious flavor of Nutella in 1991 while on board a vessel in the Eastern Mediterranean traveling from Rhodes, Greece to Limassol, Cyprus.  I spent the night sleeping on the top deck of the ferry and traded Turkish baklava from a bakery in the Old Town of Rhodes with the coveted Nutella sandwich on freshly baked bread.

4.  I hate lists even though I use them all the time.  The problem is I write them down, start to follow them and get bored.  ‘Nuff said.

5.  I met my husband bar-dancing at Puffy’s in Tribeca on December 6, 1996.  We both loved James Brown and Salsa music.  In other words, kismet!  For our first date (two nights later), he wore a red sweater and beige jeans — and looked like the Nautica man.  We ate Vietnamese food for dinner and walked along the Hudson River sitting at the old dock on Pier 26 for a while to watch the water.

6.  My uncle taught my brother and I how to box when I was 12 — well sort of in that he only taught us how to turn a jab.  And while I may have written about that, what you don’t know is that he taught me how to box southpaw.

I kept my southpaw stance until I started boxing at Gleason’s when I took up boxing at 42!  Every so often, I will find myself in a southpaw stance, but having not practiced that way for a long time, I feel very uncomfortable.

7.  It took me 37 years to graduate college!  I went to a total of four colleges over that period of time (1971-2008) and finally got my degree in History from Empire State College.

Thanks again to Margaret at Conjuring My Muse for giving me this chance to spill my guts in public!  But now comes the fun part, nominating others!  Here goes:

1.  The Glowing Edge – Talk about stylish, spend a minute on the site and you’re instantly calm!  Aside from which Lisa Creech Bledsoe is a true woman warrior!  As she says of her own blog, she is “speaker, writer, media ninja, live music fanatic, boxer chick. Online a bunch. Otherwise in the gym. Or possibly at a gig.”

2. Beats, Boxing and Mayhem – This blog has it all, terrific posts on boxing, hip-hop music and culture, plus some serious politics mixed in.

3.  Inspiring Sports Women – She’s got that right.  Lovely, inspiring writing about women’s athletics.

4. The Sweetest Thing – Inspired blog about the personal side of being a boxing woman.

5. My ish wish dish – Now this blog is truly stylish! My ish wish dish blogs about home style, cooking and life with two small boys on a shoestring. This blog has terrific recipes too.

6. Girl in the Ring – This blogsite is not so much for a stylish blog, as a website to help publicize Jill Morley’s much-anticipated documentary about women boxers.

I’ll add that this whole thing feels a bit like a chain letter, but what the heck! I love publicizing blogs I like! Enjoy!

17
Jan
11

The Fighter wins big at the Golden Globes

The Fighter wins big at the Golden Globes

Congratulations to Melissa Leo and Christian Bale for winning Golden Globes awards for their supporting roles in the Micky Ward biopic, The Fighter.

Melissa Leo brought a gritty realism to her role as Alice Ward.   As for Christian Bale, his role as Dicky Eklund was as honest as they come.

This project was obviously a labor of love by Mark Wahlberg and his team and deserves thanks from the boxing community for all their efforts in bringing this film to the screen.

Girlboxing also extends our best wishes to Alice Ward for a speedy recovery.  She was hospitalized on January 12th for a cardiac arrest and is reportedly fighting her way back in the true spirit of her boxer sons.

13
Jan
11

Lights on

Lights on

"The Fighter"

What with the critical acclaim of the Micky Ward biopic, “The Fighter” and FX channel’s new series, “Lights Out,” one could think that boxing’s gone mainstream again.

After all, there was a time when Friday night fights were as ubiquitous as Friday night football in  big towns and little towns across America.  The recent renaissance of small venues coupled with the play that MMA is getting on local and national television, however, does seem to be fueling a groundswell of renewed interest in the sport that has been growing since the phenomenon of “White Collar Boxing” in the 1990’s.

More to the point, boxing continues to be a “working class” story.   Talk to any young boxer trying to make it and hear a story as old as Horatio Alger:  young man or young woman determined to “make-it” through the sweat of his or her brow.  In boxing, however, that’s a literal thing.  It literally takes sweat and a lot of it to gain the conditioning necessary to fight a round of boxing never mind 12 — all while being pummeled with the ever-present threat of serious injury or worse.   Those are some kind of odds — and yet boxers take them.

As “The Fighter” shows, the desire to “make it” can also be “fought out” against the dynamic of family madness or personal demons.  Ask anyone why they like to hit things and believe me, you’ll get a story.

Melissa Hernandez

What’s interesting is that the kind of “truth” that’s being explored in the latest media incarnations of the sport are attempting to work through the genre elements to arrive at a statement about who we are and where we are as a people at this particular point in time.  A lot of our old middle-class dreams are falling away — and in that instance, what’s left?  Strip away mortgages, high-priced dinners and all the other trappings of the middle-class life and one is faced with a sort of raw truth of life on the margins: of making it or not based on family relationships and one’s own gumption.

A return to boxing seems to imply a reglorification of the ring as a stand-in for our own sense of what we’ve lost and what we can find.  Boxers as heroes and demi-Gods has a potent place in the mythology of the sport — and as a pointer for the new reality of folks facing displacement from their dreams, it offers an alternative stream of what life can offer.  That’s certainly good for all those young kids preparing for the Golden Gloves this year, and as a marker for the “grown-ups” in the crowd, offers a kind of hope for redemption from the ills of economic debacles and all the rest that happens when dreams fade and die.

27
Dec
10

All in the family: “The Fighter”

All in the family:  “The Fighter”

Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund, Tom Herde/Globe Staff/File 1987

I saw The Fighter yesterday afternoon.  The film is a biopic about “Irish” Micky Ward fighting out of Lowell, MA starring Mark Wahlberg as Micky Ward, Christian Slater as his brother Dicky Eklund, Amy Adams as  Micky’s girlfriend Charlene Fleming and Melissa Leo  in the role as Dicky and Micky’s mother Alice.  The movie follows some of the formulaic aspects of boxing genre films, such as triumph over adversity, but at its heart the film is about families and what happens when love is applied as an imperfect reflection of how people feel about themselves and each other.

It got me to thinking about why people box in the first place — and the kind of heart and mental fortitude it takes to get kicked down over and over, only to keep coming back; not only to get it right, but to say something about oneself.  In essence, the boxer is there to say, “I matter,” in the world.  Not to say that boxers or anyone who chooses to test themselves in that way necessarily comes from violent homes where “love” is equated with beatings or being pitted against one’s siblings or being taken on emotional roller coaster rides, but it does seem to say that one needs to test one’s inner strength  — and in that affirmation overcome whatever demons large or small may impede one’s ability to feel whole without that sort of test.

As a boxer I know once said, “any punishment I ever took in the ring was a damned sight less than what I got every Saturday night from my old man” — and yet he still found himself playing out his ability to overcome that abuse to come out on the other side as a fully intact human being.

Perhaps because it is Christmas and this is my first holiday season after losing my mother, I feel particularly sensitive to the notion that families propel us to so much of what we do in our lives.  And whether it is into the ring or some other form of physical or mental test of one’s mettle, in the end we do get to not only affirm that we matter, but to say that how we express those feelings has meaning.

This is a long way of saying that The Fighter is a good film worth seeing if not for the star power than for the fact that it attempts and succeeds at telling a very honest story about being human.

23
Dec
10

Boxing over the holidays

Boxing over the holidays

Micky Ward and Mark Wahlberg

 

Given my schedule these days, I think the only boxing I’ll be getting in over the holidays will be at the movies.  My plan is to catch up on two of the latest films about boxing:

Frederick Wiseman’s Documentary Boxing Gym and the Hollywood biopic inspired by the life of “Irish” Micky Ward, The Fighter.

Boxing Gym was shot at Lord’s Gym in Austin, Texas and examines the ebb and flow of life at the legendary gym where people come to pursue their dreams in the ring.  This highly acclaimed documentary by master filmmaker Frederick Wiseman has garnered several major awards.

 

The Fighter starring Mark Walhberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams, is a Hollywood biopic about legendary jr. welterweight champion “Irish” Micky Ward.  The film explores classic boxing genre film themes of family, loyalty and the antagonist’s ultimate triumph over adversity.  The real Micky Ward is perhaps best known for his warrior’s tenacity in his three classic “fight of the year” battles against Arturo Gatti (whose subsequent tragic death in 2009 is still subject to speculation as to the cause).




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© Malissa Smith and Girlboxing, 2010-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Malissa Smith and Girlboxing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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