Gone from the sport for over a year now, the mention of Micky Ward’s name still brings a smile to the face of boxing fans. After three legendary bouts with Arturo Gatti, Ward gracefully made his exit from the sport, leaving us with some of the best memories of the decade. Now, fresh off eye surgery and feeling pretty good, the Lowell, Massachusetts warrior took some time out to speak with Boxingtalk. Here is what he had to say...AL: How you feeling champ?
MW: Oh I’m feeling pretty good.AL: Any thoughts on the big fight this weekend?
MW: I like Trinidad. AL: How would you approach a wild brawler like Mayorga?
MW: Me personally, I’d fight him (laughs). I think he’s got to keep him at the end of his jab and when Mayorga comes in with those wild punches, Trinidad’s got good straight punches and I think those punches are going to hurt this guy.AL: You think he can knock Mayorga out?
MW: I think he has the power to do it, but will he? I don’t know, but he’s definitely got the power.AL: So how’s life after boxing?
MW: It’s pretty good. You know I can eat what I want. I can do whatever I want. I don’t miss it or nothing.AL: You don’t miss it at all?
MW: No (laughs). I miss the conditioning a little bit, but you have to be really disciplined. I did it so many years. I’m glad that I got out when I got out.AL: How do you like working with Arturo?
MW: I like it. We’re good friends and we’ll continue to be for the rest of our lives.AL: So you guys spend a lot of time together outside the gym?
MW: Yeah, before he won the title I was down at Vero Beach at his training camp for a while. We spend time whenever we can, you know, we also stay in touch via phone a lot.AL: Do you take any credit for that body shot that he dropped Dorin with?
MW: (laughs) Everybody says that. No, he’s been doing that a while. He can really throw it. He’s got a lot of power down there.AL: How did your recent eye surgery go?
MW: Yeah, I just had it done nine days ago and right now my eyes feel fine, but I wont be able to tell if everything is fine until maybe a week from now when the swelling goes down. The muscles inside that they worked on are a little swollen so I still get some double vision.AL: Do you have any headaches?
MW: No. I never really got any, which is a good thing. I just got some double vision and my peripheral vision is affected when I look up.AL: So do you feel like the trilogy with Arturo was worth it in the end?
MW: Yeah, all the eye stuff is correctable so it was worth it. I’m just glad it happened at the end, because if it happened when I was young, with all that money I probably would have spent it stupidly. But it came at the end when I was mature enough to do the right thing with it.AL: What was going through your mind when you heard the opening bell for the final round of the third fight with Gatti?
MW: It was great. At that point I was seeing double so I was kinda worried about my eyes. I didn’t know why it wasn’t going right and I’m saying what’s going on. I guess I got hit and the muscles got really stretched and they’ve been the same way ever since. But I’m just glad to have been involved in something like that, one of the greatest fights there has ever been. AL: How would you compare your legendary bout with Emmanuel Augustus with the Gatti fights?
MW: Ooh, that was tough too but it wasn’t as tough as the Gatti ones.AL: What trained you to take so much punishment and keep coming forward?
MW: I don’t know man, probably my will. I have a big will and a big heart. It’s just about your will to win and not give up. AL: Where did that come from?
MW: I have no idea (laughs). I was just born with it.AL: What do you think about the talent packed jr. welterweight division right now?
MW: It’s loaded. You know you got a great fighter in this Hatton. To me he looks like the real deal. He can really fight his ass off. And then you got Gatti of course and you got Mayweather and Miguel Cotto and even Leija.AL: Who do you think is the best in the division?
MW: I mean the way he’s been fighting I like Arturo. You know he’s got that body punch in his arsenal now so he should be hard to beat. Mayweather thinks he’s gonna come in and knock him out but if he fights like he’s been fighting Mayweather isn’t gonna have no easy time like he says.AL: When you retired I thought we lost the pound for pound toughest guy in the sport. Who do you think is your successor to that title?
MW: To be honest I think Arturo. Also, Hopkins, he’s like a freak of nature with his age and the way he’s fighting. It’s incredible. How much credit does that guy deserve?AL: What fight would you most like to see in the division?
MW: I’d like to see Gatti and Hatton.AL: That’s the one.
MW: (laughs) Man that would be a fight!AL: Who is your favorite fighter of all time?
MW: To be honest I don’t pay much attention. Even now I don’t watch much boxing, just the really big fights. I never really had a role model growing up.AL: What do you expect to do in boxing for the future?
MW: I train amateur kids now. I also train Jeff Fraza. He’s 16-2 as a pro. He just won an ESPN2 fight. He came back in the tenth round and knocked the guy out. He was down on all the scorecards before the knockout too. AL: How do you enjoy training?
MW: I like it. It feels good to help inexperienced kids and watch them mature into the sport. AL: Do you see yourself being involved in the sport for a long time?
MW: Yeah, I think so. In some way or another I will be. I’m not managing though. I don’t want to do that. AL: Well you have a lot to add. We’d like you to stick around for a while.
MW: (laughs) Don’t worry, I will.
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