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Ray Mancini

Titles: WBA lightweight champion 1982-1984

Record: 29-5

Born: March 4, 1961 in Youngstown, Ohio, USA 

Years active: 1979-1992

Nickname:  "Boom Boom" 
        
Mancini carried on the great tradition of Italian American boxers in the 80's when
it had been years since the last Italian American had reigned as a world champ 
much less become nationally recognized. Ray was the son of a former boxer (Lenny 
who was a contender in line for a shot against Sammy Angott in the 40's) who 
carried on his fathers dreams who was wounded in World War II and could no longer 
fight to his previous ability. He also took his fathers nickname of "Boom Boom" 
and made it his mission to gain the world title he felt his father deserved. Ray 
was also lucky to come along in a time when boxing was featured every weekend on 
national TV, and Ray had a style made for TV. Take into account his all action 
style, boyish good looks with the story line of wanting to capture a title for his 
father and it made for perfect afternoon television. But Ray would have never 
become world champion if he did not have talent, that is ultimately what took him 
to the top. A tragedy would however dull the enjoyment once he had reached his 
and his fathers goal. To call Mancini a mini Marciano would be apt, but he did 
have much more basic boxing ability. Mancini would come out from his corner walk 
his man down, dip low and start to throw punches until the bell rang to end the 
round. While never fleet footed Mancini had a knack for cutting of the ring 
preventing his foes from circeling around him. He simply gave 100 percent every
minute of a fight throwing punches or looking for a opening to throw a punch. 
Also like Rocky he took many shots in return. Standing 5'6 1/2" his hardy style 
also made for a short but exciting championship reign. After a 43-7 (23 K.O's) 
amateur career Mancini started his pro career with 9 impressive wins around his
home state before being moved to fight in Las Vegas to showcase him for the 
national media on undercard fights in the Vegas hotels. He passed with flying 
colors, going 20 and 0 with 15 knock out to start his career. His first big win 
came over Kelvin Lampkins back in his hometown in a 9th round KO. A year later 
Mancini won the NABF title with a thrilling effort over Jorge Morales. That again 
was backed up with another very impressive win over Jose Luis Ramirez. The Mexican 
Ramirez was a former champion who was known for his toughness and extended Mancini 
to his first 12 round limit. In all his fights Mancini usually wore his opponents
down with constant offense. After the 4th or 5th round his foes had been broken 
of their will if not their ribs. Maybe it was all coming a bit too fast as he was 
moved into title contention after only 22 fights. Awaiting him was not just a 
fighter but a legend. The fight with Arguello was a classic, the still young and 
raw Mancini did well to last as long as he did against Arguello, a boxing assassin
in his prime. Ray fought with his usual all action style winging punches from all 
angles, but the ring savvy of Arguello was too much as he avoided the rushes of
Mancini finding big openings for counter punches. The height and great jab of 
Arguello also gave Mancini many problem. Finally in the 14th round Arguello was
able to knockdown and stop Mancini. After the fight Mancini had actually gained
in reputation for his courageous performance and willingness to go right at Alexis.
It was one of 1981's best fights. Remember Ray had not even had 25 pro fights and 
not yet reached his 21st birthday. Ray did not let give up on his aspirations for 
a world title after the Arguello loss. In a testament to his resilience Ray was 
back in a title fight seven months later! After 2 more wins, one against slick 
boxing Julio Valdez, Mancini made his second attempt at the title against Arturo 
Frias, a hard hitting veteran. This time Ray would not be denied as ripped into 
Frias from the opening bell never letting up on the gas. It was a brief but brutal 
fight as Mancini was rocked twice in the opening two minutes and cut over the 
right eye. Thirty seconds before the bell Mancini landed a perfectly timed counter 
left hook and the follow up left hook dropped Frias. Frias back to the ropes where 
Mancini was credited with throwing 33 blows in 22 seconds before the referee 
stepped in to stop the fight. Frias was pounded out in 2 minutes and 54 seconds
of the first round. It was a mini version of Hagler vs. Hearns. Ray said it was
the proudest moment of his life when he heard his father say to a reporter "This 
is the greatest present our son could give us." Taking little time out to celebrate 
his lifelong dream Mancini was back in the ring after only two months. Former 
lightweight champion Ernesto Espana of Venezuela was Mancini's first challenger 
who had earned a shot at the title 7 consecutive wins. This time Mancini was backed 
by his home crowd and used the energy much like he had the emotion of winning the 
title for his father. It pushed him to a sixth round knock out victory. Once his 
all action style feed the crowd as he walked in slipping punches better than in 
perhaps any other fight and tagging Espana with repeated right hooks. Next Mancini 
took on his mirror image style wise in Duk Koo-Kim, who was referred as the Korean 
Mancini. The fight of course is most remembered for the death of Kim (Kim's mother 
would later commit suicide never getting over the loss of her son), who did not 
regain consciousness after being knocked out in the 14 round. In a grim prediction 
Kim had taped a sign to his wall that read "Kill or be killed". It also brought 
about the change of championship fights from 15 to 12 rounds. The fight itself 
was intense if one sided, Kim always attacking but a step slower than Mancini 
taking a lot of punishment. Ray himself was cut and bruised from the two way 
slugging but had the advantage in handspeed which he used well stepping to the 
side and landing straight punches to the head when the battle came out of the 
phone booth. In the fatal 14th round Ray was credited with landing 30 consecutive 
blows. Incredibly Kim beat the count but was not allowed to continue. Seconds 
later he collapsed from a blood clot in his brain, never regained consciousness
and died five days later. Ray a committed Christian would seek solace in his 
religion before coming back into the ring. In his first fight back Mancini wanted
a change and fought in Italy against George Feeny, it went the full 10 rounds and 
it seemed as if Mancini was not all together over the death of Kim with periods
of inactivity in the ring. Mancini would next retain his title against Peruvian 
Orlando Romero in easy fashion via 9th round knockout. But again he lacked 
something? In a fight that promised to be a war of sluggers Mancini next took on 
faded Bobby Chacon. In a fight with Chacon everyone knew Mancini had no choice but 
to fight all out. That he did, finally putting the ghost of Duk Koo-Kim behind 
him. Mancini was simply too big for Chacon who battled in vain for 3 rounds 
throwing punches with abandon but never landing with either effect or accuracy.
Mancini knowing he had the advantage put on pressure from the start advancing and 
forcing Chacon into the corners. The referee stopped the fight in the third round 
with Chacon still on his feet but obviously outclassed. It was the last title 
defense for Ray as he next fought and lost to Livingstone Bramble. The strategy
for Mancini coming into the bout was to take it to the body of Bramble, which 
backfired. Bramble perhaps the fittest lightweight of that time took the shots 
well and countered to the head with accuracy quickly swelling Mancini up. It was 
Mancini who ultimately tired and lost his title in the 14th round. Mancini was 
strong for the first 6 rounds before Bramble started using his long reach to 
effect tagging Mancini on the way in or after pushing him off from clinches. For 
the last 8 rounds Mancini was pounded into a bloody mess. Bramble had also gotten
Mancini mad always talking trash to the champion, a fact that played into both 
their first and second fight. In the first fight Mancini came out too strong 
throwing every punch with manic intensity wearing himself out. In the second Ray 
claimed to have over trained in preparation. The rematch 8 months later with 
Bramble was the same fight as the first but with Bramble even more effective as 
Mancini this time winning a 15 round decision. The final punchstats said it all 
Bramble out landed Mancini 674 to 381. While Mancini once again won over the crowd 
with his face first style the judges correctly ruled in favor of Bramble. It was 
scored closely 143-142 and 144-143 twice but Bramble cut Mancini over both eyes 
and his left one was swollen shut. A testament to the accuracy of Bramble. Mancini 
had now had enough of boxing and the strains of making weight which had bothered 
him since the Chacon fight and retired. A fight with Hector Camacho was too good 
to pass on however. Camacho who had hounded Mancini in the press finally got under 
the skin of Mancini and lured him out of retirement. The speed of Hector Camacho 
was just the edge he needed to outpoint a better than expected Mancini. This fight 
was the first lightweight title fight of the newly founded WBO. It took a late
rally of Camacho to win the final three rounds and get by via a very close split 
decision win. Another comeback fight in 1992 ended in predictable fashion as he
was knocked out in 7 rounds against Greg Haugen. The drive was gone from Mancini 
and this was the worst performance ever for Ray. This time Ray would retire for
good. Mancini is now living the good life in California taking acting roles where
he can find them. One of which is was about his life called "Heart and Soul".


Ray Mancini

Career Record: 29 W, 5 L (23 K.O's)


     1979

     18 Oct  Phil Bowen              OH              KO1
     13 Nov  Lou Daniels             AZ              W6
     24 Nov  Rick Patterson          DC              KO2
     14 Dec  Roberto Perez           TX              KO1

     1980

     15 Jan  Dale Gordon             OH              KO1
     22 Jan  Charlie Evans           IN              KO2
     26 Jan  Ramiro Hernandez        MS              KO3
     17 Mar  Tony Rutledge           IN              KO1
     30 Apr  Bobby Sparks            OH              KO1
     18 Jun  Trevor Evelyn           OH              KO2
     23 Jul  Leon Smith              NV              KO1
     30 Jul  Jaime Nava              NV              W10
      9 Sep  Johnny Summerhays       OH              W10
     28 Oct  Bobby Plegge            OH              KO6
      9 Dec  Kelvin Lampkins         OH              KO2
     17 Dec  Marvin Ladson           OH              KO1

     1981

     12 Mar  Norman Goins            NY              KO2
      2 Apr  Al Ford                 IL              W10
     16 May  Jorge Morales           NY              KO9
     19 Jul  Jose Ramirez            OH              W12
      3 Oct  Alexis Arguello         NJ              KO by 14
             (For WBC Lightweight title)
     26 Dec  Manuel Adeboy           NJ              KO2

     1982

     23 Jan  Julio "Diablito" Valdez NJ              KO 10
      8 May  Art Frias               NV              KO1
             (Won WBA Lightweight title)
     24 Jul  Ernesto Espana          OH              KO6
             (Retained WBA Lightweight title)
     13 Nov  Duk-Koo Kim             NV              KO14
             (Retained WBA Lightweight title)

     1983

      6 Jan  George Feeney           Italy           W10
     15 Sep  Orlando Romero          NY              KO9
             (Retained WBA Lightweight title)
     25 Nov  Johnny Torres           NV              KO1

     1984

     14 Jan  Bobby Chacon            NV              KO3
             (Retained WBA Lightweight title)
      1 Jun  Livingstone Bramble     NY              KO by 14
             (Lost WBA Lightweight title)

     1985

     16 Feb  Livingstone Bramble     NV              L 15
             (For WBA Lightweight title)

     1989

     6 Mar   Hector Camacho          NV              L12
             (For Vacant WBO Jr. Welterweight title)

     1992

     3 Apr   Greg Haugen             NV              KO by 7