Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ex-gangster's wild life story to become film

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Some of the stuff that's happened to Ralph "Junior" Moar in his 34 years you couldn't make up.

So much so, it's a movie script that writes itself.

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The ex-gangster and professional boxer has recently signed a deal in which his life will be portrayed on the big screen. Filming is planned to start in Winnipeg as early as next year.

"They can't do my whole life," Moar said in a interview. "It'll look at my life when I was 19 and in my 20s and the bad stuff."

That bad stuff saw Moar arrested as part of a sweeping police crackdown a decade ago against the Zig Zag Crew, the puppet club of the Hells Angels. He was one of five gangsters to be taken to court in what became known as the Hells Angels mega-trial, the first case in the province in which authorities used then-new federal gangsterism offences to take the five directly to trial without bail.

The case fell apart two years later when a police informant's evidence proved unreliable and four of the five immediately walked free -- Moar had to finish a prison sentence on gun charges before he was freed. During that time behind bars, Moar spent 27 months in solitary confinement.

Soon after his release, Moar moved from Winnipeg with his fianc©e to Vancouver to get away from the thug lifestyle and restart his life. He immersed himself in her family's growing children's furniture business and went back to the gym so he could get fit enough to get back in the boxing ring.

Moar, known in the ring as the "Real Deal," will fight Michael Walchuk Oct. 12 in Winnipeg in a rematch of their 2011 bout for the Canadian light-heavyweight championship.

"I told him he had to leave the city to get away from his friends in the gangs," promoter John Vernaus said. "He was young and impressionable. He was a tough guy and they used that.

"He's happy where he is now in life. He does not want to go backwards. He'll never get in trouble again. He's paid the price."

Moar said he was working out in a Vancouver gym about a year ago when an unfamiliar face showed up to watch him.

The man introduced himself as Maurice Smith, a Vancouver film producer.

"We talked," Moar said. "He said some of things that have happened to me, that he couldn't make up."

Moar said the two talked more over the past few months and came to an agreement to film Moar's life.

"He's talking really big, but we'll see how it goes," Moar said. "I think it's kind of flattering."

Smith said more information about the project is to be released in the coming weeks.

Besides his wife, Robyn -- their three-year-old daughter and extended family, Moar said some of his biggest backers now are the people who used to handcuff him.

"They weren't too fond of me, but now they're my biggest supporters," he said. "Once I stopped living the life, they now shake my hand instead of throwing it behind my back."

Moar rose to local boxing fame as an amateur, winning at age 18 the Canadian middleweight tile. Within about a year, he was carrying a gun and selling and using drugs. In the fall of 2000, he opened fire on a vehicle he thought was following him in the city's North End, and his fall from grace and estrangement from his M©tis roots was in a tailspin.

Moar fired five shots at the vehicle, hitting a 15-year-old in the back seat. The youth, who was wounded behind the ear, made a full recovery.

In court, Moar apologized to his victim for "the trauma and difficulties I've caused him in his life." He also apologized to his own family before he was sent away for a four-year prison sentence.

He said in the interview he does not want to go back to that dark place.

"In 2004 I was done when I was released," he said. "I'm completely out of trouble."

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 31, 2013 A13

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