Page 42

SPORTS

with

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini Boxing is a great sport and I have met many wonderful people associated with it. Since my path has crossed Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini’s several times in the past 26 years, both personally and professionally.

I

moved to Las Vegas from Chicago in 1980. Although I was an avid boxing fan, at that time I was not yet a professional boxing judge. I was appointed to the Nevada State Athletic Commission as a professional boxing judge in October 1984. In 1980, I was a fan attending all of the boxing cards in Las Vegas, particularly at the Silver Slipper, the Showboat, Caesars Palace, and the Dunes. One night in the summer of 1980, I attended a fight in the old Sports Pavilion at Caesars Palace. I happened to be standing next to a fighter, whom I recognized from articles in boxing magazines, Ray Mancini. He told me that he was 19 years old and had a few fights scheduled at the Silver Slipper that summer. He said that his father was a former, number one contender in 1942. However, his father was drafted in World War II and never had the opportunity to fight for the championship when he returned home after the war. Ray stated that he “has put everything on hold for the next few years and was concentrating solely on boxing” and that he “was going to win a championship for my father.”

R

ay was born March 4, 1961 in Youngstown, Ohio to Lenny and Ellen Mancini. He was the youngest of three children. He has three children of his own: a daughter, 18, and two sons, ages 14 & 10. He is proud of his heritage. In fact, his mother, who is of Irish descent, was the first non-Italian-American woman to be elected president of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Sons of Italy in Youngstown, Ohio. After a great amateur career, he became a professional boxer in 1979 and fought until 1992. He won the North American Boxing Federation Lightweight Championship in 1981. Also in 1981, he challenged the new world champion, Arturo Frias, for the WBA Lightweight Title. It has been described as one of the most spectacular first rounds in history. Frias shook Mancini with a right to the chin 15 seconds into the first round. After another combination by Frias, Mancini sustained a cut over his eyebrow. Mancini weathered the storm and knocked down the champion with a spectacular combination. Although dazed, Frias got up and 40 AMICI / Winter 08/09

Mancini attacked him the moment the referee brought them together and trapped Frias against the ropes. After many unanswered blows, the referee, Richard Green, stopped the fight. As he predicted, Ray Mancini had won the championship for his father!

I

recently had lunch with Ray Mancini in Santa Monica, California for this interview.

CHUCK: Ray, I’ve read several stories about how you came to be known as “Boom Boom”. Can you clarify it? RAY: My father was the original “Boom Boom”. He was given that name in 1939 when he boxed at the old Broadway Arena in New York. A promoter said, “Look at this guy; he does nothing but throw punches all the time….boom, boom.” I was known as Little Boom Boom or Boom Boom Junior. My mom was Mrs. Boom Boom. I was Boom Boom even before I was a fighter. Even when I played Pop Warner Ball, I was called Boom or Boom Boom. CHUCK: Why did you become a fighter? RAY: People thought I wanted to be a fighter because of my dad; but he tried to talk me out of it. But when he saw that I was determined to be a fighter, he set me up with the best amateur boxing trainer. When I decided to turn pro, Angelo Dundee and Lou Duva passed on training me; they said I was too small. Lou Duva was training two brothers, good fighters. Later I told Lou, “Yeah, I was too small, right, and what happened to those two brothers. Look where I’m at! CHUCK: Murphy Griffin was your trainer for your entire career, a rarity today. How did you get together with him? RAY: He took an interest in me at the very beginning. My father told me, “This guy is calling you; he’s interested in working with you. I never had anybody do that for me. This is your career; this is your choice. He’s concerned about you; he’s showing a genuine interest in you.” I had to move to New York with Murphy Griffin when I was 18. I lived with Murphy in his apartment; I slept on the couch. I had no other jobs but boxing. I lived from fight to fight. Eventually I sub-let, former heavyweight contender, Duane Bobbick’s apartment in the same building. Murphy also was one of Joe Frazier’s trainers. In Joe’s last few fights, his trainers were Eddie Futch, George Benton and Murphy Griffin. All great trainers. CHUCK: You were noted for always being in condition. Do you still work out? RAY: Yes, I still work out. I tell my kids that there are two things in life: Discipline and Focus. Discipline determines your life style; the foods you eat; everything in moderation. When I was 8 years old I did push ups at home between two of my mother’s chairs. I did pull ups on the door frames until I got older and started to crack the wood. Today I work out 5 times a week and study yoga. I do a 40 minute work out:

Mario Batali  

17th Edition

Mario Batali  

17th Edition

Advertisement