|The Pride of Lowell - Irish Micky Ward|
Long overshadowed in Massachusetts by Brockton as an elite boxing town, Lowell is proudly known more for its amateur boxers than for its professionals. Lowell has the annual Golden Gloves tournament and twice hosted The Nationals, in 1973 and 1995. Brockton was home to former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano and former World Middleweight Champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler, both of whom actually competed in Lowell during their amateur days. Mike Tyson also boxed as an amateur in Lowell. So did Sugar Ray Leonard.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at five of the best professional boxers from the fighting Mill City of Lowell:
Micky Ward, 38-13 (27 KOs) -- Far and away the best and most well known fighter from Lowell. Younger half brother of Dick Eklund. Fought professionally from 1985 to 2003. Biggest victories include wins over Arturo Gatti, Louis Veader, Shea Neary, Reggie Green, and Alfonzo Sanchez. Held the WBU light welterweight world title. Was stopped on a cut in Boston by Vince Phillips in a 1997 bid for the IBF junior welterweight title. Gained new fans, new fame, and three big paydays for his epic trilogy with the late Arturo Gatti. Micky's left hook to the liver was the stuff of legend. Gained even more fame when a Hollywood movie called The Fighter was made about his life in 2010. Originally retired in 1991 after a string of disappointing defeats, came back strong in 1994, winning nine straight. Enjoyed a career renaissance from 1999 to 2003, engaging in a series of incredibly entertaining fights including the Gatti trilogy. Wildly popular in his hometown where he still lives today, Ward is known affectionately as The Pride of Lowell.
Along with Jaynes, he introduced Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund to the sport of boxing.
"Lowell's Finest" written by KO Digest Editor in Chief Jeffrey Freeman was originally published in the official 2013 Lowell Golden Gloves USA Boxing program. It is republished here online and edited for context.