Interview with Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini
By David Ruff (Aug 26, 2010) Doghouse Boxing  
Ray Mancini, former WBA lightweight champion, was inspired by his father Lenny “Boom Boom” Mancini to box as a young kid. He tried to fulfill his father’s dream of becoming world champ (Lenny’s dream was cut Short due to WW2). Ray is the nephew of composer Henry Mancini. Murphy Griffin was his trainer and David Wolf his manager. My trainer and friend Jimmy Lancaster boxed Lenny but lost to him. Ray had a good amateur career, with a record of 43-7, winning three Youngstown GG titles in 1977, ’78, and ‘79.

He was a National GGS semi-finalist in 1978. Ray also gave Philadelphia boxer Anthony Fletcher credit for being one of the best amateur fighters he faced. As a tough pro Ray gave the Great Alexis Arguello his just due. He went 14 tough rounds with Arguello before losing for the first time in 21 fights. He finished with a 29-5 record with 23 knockouts. Ray also has had a TV movie made about him called Heart of a Champion: The Ray Mancini Story (1985). And at this time there is a book being written by best-selling author Mark Kriegel. Lenny is looking down saying, “Great job, son, you have made my dream come true”. Here are some questions I asked Ray. Thanks Ray for being the great boxer you were and are.

1) Why did you become a boxer?

I became a fighter because I wanted to be like my father, my hero, and win the world title for him.

2) What was your amateur career like?

My amateur record was 43-7. I won the Youngstown Golden Gloves 1977, 1978 and 1979. I won the Northeastern Ohio GG's the same years. I was National GG's semi-finalist in 1978, losing a decision to 2-time Olympian Davey Armstrong. I lost a quarter-finals match in 1979, to defending National champion Melvin Paul by decision. I won the Northeast Ohio AAU championship in 1978. I lost in the Quarter finals of the National AAU, to defending National champion Anthony Fletcher. I lost in the title fight for the national title, of the Ohio State Fair, again, against Anthony Fletcher, by decision.

3) What are your favorite movies about boxing?

"Body and Soul", starring John Garfield, “The Set-Up'', starring Robert Ryan and "Requiem for A Heavyweight", starring Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, and Mickey Rooney. One of my favorite stories is a short story by Jack London, called "A Piece of Steak ".

4) What was your toughest fight as a professional?

My toughest fight was against Alexis Arguello, one of the all-time greats. Enough said.

5) Your toughest amateur fight?

My toughest fights as an amateur were against Anthony "Two Gun" Fletcher, a slick moving southpaw from Philly. He had a perfect style for the amateur game.

6) What would you do to change boxing?

I'd go back to weighing in the morning of the fight and go back to 15 round world title fights.

7) What was the best part of your career?

Being world champion. It doesn't get better than that. The people I've gotten to meet and the places I got to go.

8) What has been filmed or written about your career that fan’s might want to know?

A CBS TV Movie was made in 1985 called "Heart of a Champion - The Ray Mancini Story". There is a book being written now by best selling author, Mark Kriegel.

9) What are you doing to keep busy?

I'm running my two companies, Mancini-Smith Media, and my film company, Champion Pictures.

10) What was your favorite venue to fight?

My favorite venue to fight in, other than my home town of Youngstown was, Madison Square Garden. Every Little Leaguer wants to play in Yankee Stadium. Every fighter wants to fight at the Garden. Thanks, and I hope I answered the questions completely and thoroughly. Take care and God Bless!          

Special thanks to Les Wolfe of who represent Ray.

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