Boxing great Micky Ward, the inspiration for the Mark Wahlberg movie "The Fighter," says he was molested by a family friend from age 9 until he was 12.
In Ward's autobiography, "A Warrior's Heart: The True Story of Life Before and Beyond The Fighter," the retired boxer wrote of his attacker, who was 10 years older, "He never asked me to do anything to him, but rather I was always on the receiving end of his advances. It wasn't every month or every week, but it happened and it happened many times."
Ward told the New York Post on Tuesday he had kept the fact from friends — including Wahlberg — and family, including his half-brother and trainer Dicky Eklund.
"I didn't tell anyone — I was too embarrassed," Ward said.
But the book, explained Ward, "was about my life, and I might as well tell the whole story."
He said he once fought his attacker, identified in the book as "a homeless bum," in a boxing match at a gym when Ward was 15, and also confronted him years after the abuse.
But Ward claims he didn't hurt him either time.
"I could have ripped his head off," he wrote. "But I realized that if I . . . took justice into my own hands, and wound up spending the rest of my life rotting in a prison cell . . . he would have won."