On August 1st former WBA lightweight champion of the world Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini visited the Boxing Hall of Fame to promote his new film The Good Son. In addition to media interviews, touring the Hall of Fame Museum, signing autographs and posing for photos with fans, Mancini had the unique opportunity to step back into the Madison Square Garden ring where he successfully defended his world title 30 years ago.
“Boom Boom” Mancini In The MSG Ring
After 82 years of use (1925-2007), the world famous boxing ring from Madison Square Garden was retired in September 2007. It was then shipped 270 miles north to Canastota to be assembled one last time and is now on permanent display in the Hall.
“We are so proud to have the MSG ring here in Canastota for fans and fighters alike to enjoy,” said Hall director Edward Brophy. “And what a thrill it was to have ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini back in the ring where he made history by defending his lightweight title in a great fight.”
Moments before stepping between the ropes of the legendary ring, Mancini said, “For every little leaguer you dream of playing in Yankee Stadium. For every fighter you dream of fighting at the Garden.”
In his third title defense (September 15, 1983), then 22-year old Mancini met undefeated #1 contender Orlando Romero (30-0-1) from Peru in a scheduled 15-round bout.
“I was at ringside for the Roberto Duran vs. Davey Moore fight at Madison Square Garden and it was an unbelievable fight. That’s the night I told my manager Dave Wolf that I have to fight here. That fight was June 16th and I fought there September 15th,” remembered Mancini.
The fight was a pitched battle and after eight rounds of back and forth action, Mancini was leading on two scorecards (77-76 and 79-77), while the third scorecard had the fight even (77-77).
At the close of the round Mancini was bleeding from a cut over his left eye.
“My whole thing was to get into the later rounds. I just started to feel like I was taking over because I hit him with body shots and heard him grunting and groaning. But at the end of the eighth round I get cut. Next thing you know blood is coming down and I looked at him and said, ‘I have to end this,’” recalled Mancini.
And end it he did. The Youngstown, OH native came out aggressively in the ninth stanza intent on ending the bout and a smashing left hook sent the tough contender crashing to the canvas. The referee counted him out at the 1:56 mark of the round. The victory raised Mancini’s record to 27-1
“Romero was a strong and determined fighter. Fighting a fighter from another country is always the most difficult because what they lack in talent they make up for in heart, desire and determination. Plus they are fighting for more than themselves, they are fighting for the respect and honor of their country. And those are the most difficult fights. Also, he was a southpaw and those are the hardest type of guys to fight,” said Mancini.
In addition to adding his name to the incredible roster of legendary fighters who defended their crown in the world’s most famous arena, fighting in the Garden had extra special meaning for Mancini. His father, 1940s lightweight contender Lenny “Boom Boom” Mancini, fought in the same ring four times against the likes of Marty Servo, Leo Rodak and Rocky Castellani. The elder Mancini was seated at ringside to watch his son defend his championship.
“When they told me I was going to fight in the same ring as my father, I got chills. This is the man I wanted to be like, who was everything I wanted to be as a fighter and as a man, and here I am fighting in the same ring he fought in!” said Mancini.
Mancini was in Canastota as part of the publicity tour for his new film, The Good Son, which tells the story of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, who wasn’t merely the lightweight boxing champion – he was a national sports hero, personifying blue-collar toughness. His vow to win the championship for his father, the original “Boom Boom”, captivated the country. The film includes appearances by fellow Youngstowner Ed O’Neill (Modern Family), Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard and actor and pugilist Mickey Rourke.
The Good Son is available to rent through SnagFilms on VOD (Video on Demand) via cable and satellite providers and iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/the-good-son/id664335309). There will also be a theatrical run in New York and Los Angeles and additional select theaters nationwide on August 9th.
For more information on The Good Son visit www.snagfilms.com/thegoodson, www.twitter.com/snagfilms and www.twitter.com/thegoodsondoc