Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini (born Raymond Michael Mancino; March 4, 1961) is a retired Italian-American boxer. He held the World Boxing Association lightweight championship for two years in the 1980s. Mancini inherited his distinctive nickname from his father, veteran boxer Lenny "Boom Boom" Mancini, who laid the foundation for his son's career. The name, however, perfectly suited the younger Mancini's wild, "whirlwind" fighting style.
Early life and family
He was born in Youngstown, Ohio. Boxing played a prominent role in the Mancini family history. Mancini's father, Lenny Mancini (the original "Boom Boom"), was a top-ranked contender during the 1940s who was widely predicted to be a future world champion. 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 Ray to develop his boxing skills and encouraged him to train at a gym when he was quite young. Ray had a stellar amateur career, and in 1978, he made the jump to the professional ranks. 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 excellent boxers, including former United States champion Norman Goins.
His first attempt at a world title came in his next bout, when he was pitted against the legendary champion Alexis Argüello 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 round. Mancini was saddened by his first defeat, but not about to give up on his dream.
On May 8, 1982, in a match held in Las Vegas, he challenged the new World Boxing Association lightweight champion, Arturo Frias. Fifteen seconds into the fight, the fast-starting champion caught Mancini with a left hook to the chin and Mancini shook. Another combination made Mancini start bleeding from his eyebrow. Mancini stormed back and dropped the champion right in the center of the ring with a spectacular combination. Dazed and surprised, Frias got back up, but Mancini went after his prey with a fury, and was on top of him the moment the referee said they could go on, trapping Frias against the ropes. After many unanswered blows, the referee stopped the fight, and the Mancini family finally had a world champion.
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