Ray Mancini went from being a 15-year-old dreamer in a very depressed Midwestern city to a national folk hero whose fan base included Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio. The late, great troubadour, Warren Zevon, wrote a song about him.
The unlikely superstar — who stood just 5-4 1/2 — won only one world title in one weight division, and fought just 5 1/2 years as a pro, but became such a giant in the sport that he was enshrined into both the World Boxing Hall of Fame and (last June) the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
“Boom Boom” Mancini was the featured guest on Sunday’s Ringside Boxing Show for an expansive interview about his life and career, including unique topics such as the gritty steel-mill heyday of Youngstown, Ohio, the Mafia wiseguys who attended his fights, the wild ride of becoming the biggest celebrity in a city that desperately needed one, and those two-tone shoes in his closet that Mickey Rourke wore in “The Pope of Greenwich Village.”
Dennis Taylor is host of The Ringside Boxing Show and editor/publisher of www.ringsideboxingshow.com.