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".
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