Photo: Reynaldo Sanchez/Acquinity Sports
In a surprise development, Acquinity Sports welcomed boxing legend “Irish” Micky Ward to their Deerfield Beach headquarters today. Ward, the 47-year old Lowell, Massachusetts native whose three fights against the late great Arturo “Thunder” Gatti remain the gold standard of boxing trilogies, becomes Acquinity’s newest assistant trainer. Working alongside head trainer Herman Caicedo, Ward plans to augment Acquinity’s world-class stable of boxers with some of the mental toughness and dedication that defined his storied career.
Fightnews caught up with him this rainy afternoon from Acquinity headquarters in Deerfield Beach, FL.
Micky, welcome back to “sunny” South Florida, you’re slated to work the corner of Joan Guzman, who is seeking redemption and a world title on November 30th. Tell us how you got involved in this endeavor.
Well, I had an opportunity to speak with Acquinity owner Garry Jonas who invited me to come down and meet with Henry (Henry Rivalta-Acquinity’s boxing promoter). I’m happy to be on board; hopefully it’s a great fit.
So the plan is to work with the entire stable of fighters?
I believe so yes. Today is my first time meeting some of the guys and I hope to help them any way I can.
Obviously, this isn’t the first time you’ve helped train a world-class fighter to train here in South Florida. The last time was in 2007 when you helped train Arturo Gatti for what turned out to be his final fight. What did that experience mean for you?
Yes, exactly. I was down here for two months and it was great. It was just too bad it happened towards the end of Arturo’s career. He had taken a toll on himself with his wars in the ring and his lifestyle by that point.
What is your assessment of Joan Guzman as a fighter and where do you see his future headed?
Well, the sky’s the limit for him. Obviously he’s a smart fighter and he’s extremely elusive. He doesn’t get hit much and he’s never really taken too much abuse. You know, his style is very tricky for guys, with all the angles he takes, he’s so hard to hit, unlike me (smiles). He’s only in his thirties and these days if you’re a guy that hasn’t been in too many wars you can fight at the highest level at that age.
He looks great in the gym. There’s not going to be any more coming in over weight. He’s very disciplined now and you know, there’s no way in hell he’ll be out of shape. He’s in a good frame of mind, he can fight his ass off and come fight time he’s going to be a champion again.
What do you think precipitated Guzman’s recent rededication to the sport?
Well, he’s in different hands with different people, good people. He knows this is his last chance and he wants to make the most of it. You don’t get nothing for nothing and I think Guz realizes that and he’s made the change mentally.
You know you gotta bust your ass in that gym, you put in the investment in the gym and it will pay dividends in the end. But the fight is won in the gym, some guys try taking shortcuts there but they always catch you in the fight.
You can’t hide in the ring.