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Mickey Rourke: Actor finds solace in the squared circle at age 62

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It's been 32 years since Mickey Rourke initially received critical acclaim as a thespian for portraying the charismatic Robert "Boogie" Sheftell in the 1982 sleeper hit "Diner".

The commended role officially launched his young acting career into the leading man stratosphere, serving as the catalyst in landing more highly profiled parts. He became the unofficial "Pope of Greenwich Village" in MGM's 1984 hit, and really drove it out of the park with his portrayal of the enigmatic John Gray in "9 ½ Weeks" circa 1986.

But upon receiving the kind of fame and fortune that comes with being a legitimate star in Hollywood, the mysterious actor from Schenectady, New York, never quite felt at home.

That's when Mickey Rourke sought out the tutelage of former prizefighter turned head trainer Freddie Roach, and made the controversial decision to pursue his first love of pugilism in 1991.

Although his plan was to fulfill his dream of one day competing for a major world title after a projected 16 professional tune-ups, Rourke's vision in the most grueling of all professional sports was cut short in 1994 after participating in only eight assignments.

Despite officially laying his dream to rest twenty years ago, the talented actor turned prizefighter never lost his passion for the fight game. It's something that Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach believes will never leave the often misunderstood Oscar nominee.


"That's just how it is in boxing," states the world renowned boxing coach. "Once it gets in your blood, you just can't quit."

As a teenage boy in Miami Beach, Florida, Mickey Rourke began to learn the sweet science at the renowned 5th Street Gym, even sparring with former world champion Nino Benvenuti, in which the gifted young athlete claims to have received a concussion for his efforts.

Several hard punches to the head later while competing in the Florida Golden Gloves, the charismatic young man decided to temporarily hang up the gloves and take up acting in 1973.

On Friday, November 28, 2014, some forty-one years later, the 62 year old Golden Globe recipient is finally doing what he feels he was meant to do all along...compete in the squared circle.

But why?

After resurrecting his acting career in 2008, portraying a failed grappler by the name of Randy "The Ram" Robinson in the unexpected independent hit, "The Wrestler", the critically lauded actor doesn't have to lace up the gloves any longer.

In a revealing and candid interview with New York Times journalist Pat Jordan in 2008, Mickey Rourke possibly disclosed why he's perpetually drawn back to the boxing gym.

"For over twelve years I was alone," admits the world renowned actor. "I lost the three people closet to me; my brother, my grandmother, and my ex-wife. They were no longer there and I had no real friends. But I discovered that I really didn't need any."

"I was quite shocked to learn that I was okay with being alone, and I still am today."

In what is often characterized by most prizefighters and trainers as "the loneliest place on the planet", still undefeated Mickey Rourke (6-0-2, 4 KOs) will find himself standing in the center of the ring once again.

Is Rourke seeking redemption through repentance? However one chooses to characterize the bold move, it's exactly where Mickey prefers to be.

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