BOSTON -- It’s fun a debate to discuss whether or not Boston Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton could get into the boxing ring and go toe-to-toe with local legend and former Welterweight champion “Irish” Micky Ward.
Ward dropped the ceremonial puck prior to the Bruins game against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night at Garden and he addressed the question.
“On skates, Shawn would kill me,” Ward said with a laugh. “But hopefully I would rip his body apart. On skates, no, he would tattoo me.”
After the Bruins’ morning skate Friday morning, Thornton was asked how he thought he would do if he donned the gloves against Ward.
“He would kill me,” Thornton said. “I don’t think people really appreciate how skilled those guys are. He would absolutely [expletive] destroy me -- without a doubt. Even though those [welterweights] are smaller, they know how to throw a punch. They train their whole life.”
What about on the ice?
“If I get him on skates it might be another story,” added Thornton with a big smile. “He would kill me [in the ring]. Those guys are specimens.”
Last summer, Thornton trained with UFC fighter Kenny Florian at The Ring in Allston, Mass. Thornton’s workouts consisted of three-minute rounds with a minute off in between. The longest he’s lasted was eight rounds.
“It’s exhausting,” he said. “By the eighth round, the trainer keeps going and I can’t keep my hands up, and he knows he’ll be able to tag me with a few. If you’re able to throw a punch in the 12th round, like [Ward] did in some of the fights he was in, I don’t understand how it’s even possible.
“I always thought I could stand in there if it was just boxing. Then I watched them train and they’re at another level. It’s really impressive.”
Ward is promoting the DVD release of the Academy Award-nominated movie “The Fighter,” which is based on his life and career. The pugilists are friends, and Thornton even attended the premiere of the movie.
“It’s a great movie, a really good movie,” Thornton said.
They have never worked out together, but Ward has offered.
“He’s a real good guy. He’s down to earth,” Ward said. “He’s more than just a hockey player; he’s a good kid.”
Ward also attended Wednesday’s game at the Garden when the Bruins and Canadiens posted 182 minutes in penalties and plenty of fisticuffs.
“I loved it,” he said. “I was into it big-time. Not just for the fights -- it was a good game. It was a see-saw battle, and I liked it for the fights.”
Ward will attend the 83rd Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles. He said he’s not nervous about the movie winning.
“No,” he said. “As long as no one is throwing punches at me, I’ve got no reason to be nervous. You know what I mean? No, I’m not nervous at all. I don’t have to duck or nothing.”