Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini (born Raymond Michael Mancini; March
4, 1961) is a retired American Boxer. He held the World Boxing Association
lightweight championship from 1982 to 1984. Mancini inherited his
distinctive nickname from his father, veteran boxer Lenny "Boom Boom"
Mancini, who laid the foundation for his son's career.
is part of the 2015 class for the International boxing Hall of Fame.
Mancini, an Italian American, was born Raymond Michael
Mancini in Youngstown, Ohio on March 4, 1961. Boxing played a prominent
role in the Mancini family history. Mancini's father, Lenny Mancini
(the origianl "Boom Boom"), was a top ranked contender during the
1940s. Lenny Mancini's dream, however, was dashed when he was wounded
during world War II. Although Lenny Mancini returned to boxing, Limitations
resulting from his injuries prevented him from fulfilling his potential.
Lenny inspired young Mancini to develop his boxing skills and
encouraged him to train at a gym when he was quite young. Starting
in 1977, Ray had a stellar amateur career with a record of 43-7 and
several Golden Gloves championships. On October 18, 1979 he made his
professional debut by defeating Phil Bowen with a first round knockout.
His whirlwind punching style caught the attention of network executives
at several American television networks, and he became a regular on
their sports programming. During this time Ray Mancini defeated some
notable boxers including former United States champion Norman Goins
in March 1981.
On April 30, 1980, Mancini
defeated Bobby Sparks with a knockout at 1:28 in the first round for
the regional Ohio State Lightweight title. Over a year later on May
16, 1981, Mancini won his first major title by defeating Jorge Morales
for the WBC affiliated NABF Lightweight championship when the referee
determined that Morales could not continue after the 9th round. Two
months later, he successfully defended the title against Jose Luis
Ramirez after a unanimous decision. Mancini's first attempt at a world
title came in his next bout on October 3 when he was pitted against
Alexis Arguello for his World Boxing Council lightweight title. The
event was selected by many (including The Ring and ESPN) as one of
the most spectacular fights of the 1980s. Mancini gave Arguello trouble
early and built a lead on the scorecards, but Arguello used his experience
to his advantage in the later rounds and stopped Mancini in the 14th
Mancini would rebound from the loss to Arguello by winning
his next two bouts, including a second (and last) successful defense
of his NABF Lightweight title against Julio Valdez (10th round TKO)
which would earn him another chance at a world title.
On May 8, 1982, in a match held at The Aladdin in Las Vegas,
he challenged the new World Boxing Association lightweight champion,
Arturo Frias. Fifteen seconds into the fight, Frias caught Mancini
with a left hook to the chin and another combination made Mancini
bleed from his eyebrow. Mancini recovered and dropped Frias right
in the center of the ring with a combination. Dazed, Frias got back
up but Mancini immediately went on the offensive and trapped Frias
against the ropes. After many unanswered blows, referee Richard Greene
stopped the fight at 2:54 in the first round, and the Mancini family
finally had a world champion.
Match against Duk Koo Kim
first defense, against former world champion Ernest Espana, went smoothly
with a Mancini knockout win in the 6th round.
On November 13,
1982, a 21 year old Mancini met 27 year old South Korean challenger
Duk Koo Kim. Kim had struggled to make the 135lb weight limit, and
had to lose several pounds shortly before the fight. The title bout,
at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, was televised live at 1pm PST on CBS
Sports. It was, according to many observers, a fight filled with action.
Mancini finally won by TKO in the 14th round. Moments after the fight
ended, Kim collapsed and fell into a coma, having suffered a subdural
hematoma on his brain and died four days later.