Merrimack Valley Magazine features Lowell boxing

The November/December issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine has two stories about the sport of boxing and the city of Lowell. The cover story, illustrated by a closeup of Micky Ward wearing a Santa hat that is reminiscent of a famous Sports Illustrated cover, is about “The Fighter” which is scheduled for release on December 10. Describing the film as “a gripping love story of sorts, depicting two half-brothers who needed each other to be successful”, the story interviews some of the original screen writers and Lowell boxing personalities Art Ramalho and Mickey O’Keefe. The full story is online here.

The second story in this issue of the magazine (not yet available online), “Fighting city: exploring the rich history of boxing in Lowell” by Christine Lewis is a richly illustrated review of boxing through the years in Lowell. Beginning with Con Desmond, a boxing promoter in the 19th Century, then moving to Martin Flaherty who began as a boxer around the turn of the century and ended up as a famous trainer and then on to Dave Andrews, who epitomized the Depression era athlete who used boxing as a way to support his family financially. The story concedes that the huge popularity of televised boxing matches in the 1950s actually harmed small local gyms and boxing clubs. At the same time, younger athletes began gravitating towards football and basketball which had grown increasingly popular. The story goes on to say that in Lowell “social, familial and civic support have kept a fading sport alive” and that 1960s stars such as Larry Carney and Beau Jaynes were the immediate predecessors of Micky Ward. The author concludes by writing “it’s hard to imagine Micky Ward happening anywhere other than Lowell.”