History | May 18 2017

On This Day: Micky Ward defeats Arturo Gatti in the first fight of an epic trilogy

James Slater recounts how Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti began an unforgettable journey together
micky ward
micky ward  |  Marty Rosengarten

ON this day, May 18 in 2002, an epic, unforgettable trilogy was born as Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti rumbled for the first time. Meeting in Connecticut, the two warriors gave us a fight that was so great, many experts called it “The Fight of The Century.” The ninth-round was especially thrilling, with Emanuel Steward calling the round “The Round of The Century.”

Ward won via majority decision, and the two fierce yet hugely respectful rivals would have to meet again. Ward eventually lost the series 2-1, but the man who traded so much leather with Gatti is rightfully remembered as a great fighter. Known primarily for the three wars with Gatti, Ward engaged in a good number of other, almost equally brutal encounters.

Turning pro after having won three New England Golden Gloves titles, Ward, who was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on October 4 1965, streaked to 14-0(10) as a light-welterweight – 140 pounds being a weight Mickey would scarcely fight above throughout his entire eighteen year career. But then, in September of 1987, Ward would lose for the first of 13 occasions. Despite the number of defeats he would eventfully suffer, however, Ward became one of the most respected fighting men in modern day boxing history. In not one of these losses was Ward knocked out.