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Boxer Micky Ward reportedly cancels Scott Brown endorsement

Mickey Ward (center) posed with Scott Brown and Brown’s wife, Gail Huff, at an event last year.

Alyce O'Connell

Mickey Ward (center) posed with Scott Brown and Brown’s wife, Gail Huff, at an event last year.

Scott Brown’s plans for an endorsement today by famed Lowell boxer Micky Ward, of “The Fighter” fame, were cancelled after Ward said he learned about the Massachusetts Republican’s stance on labor unions and gay marriage.

The Sun of Lowell reported this morning that Ward told the newspaper on Thursday he “admired Brown’s spirit and respected the way he could ‘go out there and listen and talk like a guy who is positive and wants to do right by us.’”

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But the paper said Ward called back about a half-hour later to reverse his decision.

“I can’t support Scott Brown,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. “I just can’t do it.”

The former boxer added: “I found out Scott (Brown) is anti-union and I’m a Teamster guy. I found out he’s also against gay marriage, and I say if you love someone, you should have the same rights no matter who you are.”

As a state senator, Brown opposed gay marriage, but he recently voted in favor of repealing the military’s “don’t ask-don’t tell” ban on gays openly serving in the armed forces.

And while Brown’s Democratic reelection opponent, Elizabeth Warren, enjoys support from some of her party’s traditional labor supporters, the senator has cultivated votes in working-class South Boston and touted his own backing by union laborers.

He also says his top priority is job creation, which the senator has argued will benefit both union and non-union workers.

Ward has become a blue-collar folk hero not only in the Merrimack Valley but across the country for his boxing exploits, chronicled in an Academy Award-winning movie adaptation featuring actors Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Melissa Leo.

Brown, who has cultivated an everyman image during his two years in the Senate, mentioned today’s endorsement when he met with reporters on Thursday upon arriving in Tampa to attend the closing session of the Republican National Convention.

This morning, however, his staff would not tell the Globe where the endorsement was to occur.

Shortly thereafter, The Sun published its blog post revealing that the event had been cancelled.

The Brown campaign headquarters was plagued by an electricity and Internet outage this morning and the staff said it was trying to work around it before issuing a comment on Ward’s reversal.

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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