You won't find him in the club
A night in Vegas with Ward
By John Scully
Cool Justice Editor's Note: A version of this essay originally appeared in The Lowell Sun last week. Iceman John Scully, the former light heavyweight contender, is a well-known and respected boxing trainer based in Connecticut.
May 2005, Las Vegas, Nevada --
So I was out in Las Vegas with my wife to witness the final card of the first season of The Contender TV show the featured Rhode Island's Peter Manfredo against Sergio Mora in the main event. After the fight was over I ended up down on the main level of the club Pure where I am hanging out with, among others, Diego Chico Corrales, Ken Norton, Micky Ward and Providence-promoter Jimmy Birchfield. At one point I watch as Diego and Mickey are talking for a while to each other. I am looking around thinking how most of the party people in the club have no idea that these two little guys talking to each other among them have been involved in three or four of the greatest fights ever.
When we finally head out to the valet at Caesars to get our car we meet up again with Jimmy, Mickey and a few other people and they invite us to a late dinner at the Palms Hotel. Let me say, I am glad we were invited guests because one of the dinner plates was$149. I only eat at places like that when I am invited.
So after we eat, these guys ... from Vegas ... want to take us to the club upstairs, the most popular club in Vegas called GHOSTBAR. Now, everybody is really dressed up at this point. The line outside the club is full of people waiting to get in, too, like they are at Disneyworld waiting to go on the roller coaster or something. NFL players and NBA players, actors and singers, a lot of celebrities were in the house that night. These guys with us are clearly boxing fans, though, and because Micky is with us and they are very excited to have him there, we move immediately to the front of the line.
Only problem is, Micky has on sneakers and a basketball throwback uniform.
So they say, Listen we love having Micky Ward here, it's an honor, but you gotta have dress clothes and shoes to get in. Mick is blue-collar though,you know?
He doesn't care about things like this and that's what I love about the guy. He's definitely one of the most unaffected, humble and down-to-earth high-profile boxers I have ever met. And I suppose that's why he tells us he'd rather go home than go to great lengths to get into a club. Then he turns to me and says, "I don't care about this. Ill just go back to my room and watch TV then."
These guys are determined, though,so much so that they go to the kitchen to convince the chef to give up some of his own clothes, dark pants and a white shirt, just so Micky can get in! Neither Micky nor I had any idea what they were up to. We had no ride and we were in no hurry so there was no rush. We just hung out waiting for our group to get ready to leave.
After about 30 minutes or so, they came back with a pile of clothes in their hands. They want him to go to the bathroom and put them on. But Mick is not having it. He changes clothes for nobody. To go in a club? PLEASE.
These guys with us are the club type. They are saying to him, Micky, come on, bro. You gotta wear these clothes. Famous people are going to be up there, it's gonna be cool. All you gotta do is put these clothes on. And Micky is like, "What? Famous ... famous people?
"I don't care about seeing some famous people. Screw it, I'll go home. If they don't like the clothes I wear. You think I care about this club?"
I loved it! I was literally laughing out loud because I knew they had the wrong guy. This guy is clearly not your jet-setting, Page Six, paparazzi type of guy. They are trying desperately to get him to go and he looks at me and says, "Johnny, you know me. You know I don't give a crap about this club."
I laughed out loud as I told these guys once and for all, You're wasting your breath. Just give up.
And back to our hotel we all went for the night.