Recently we spoke with the one and only Ray Boom Boom Mancini who spoke about life, what he’s up to these days and of course boxing.
Fight fans the world over will know of Ray for his legendary career in the ring.
A career that saw him placed in the Hall of Fame after a stellar professional tenure between 1979 and 1992 – where ultimately he became lightweight champion of the world.
I had been put in touch with Ray through the excellent US actor Kevin Interdonato, and the chat exceeded expectations (to put it mildly).
An insight not into boxing, but life itself.
As well as being a family man nowadays, Ray has been in the entertainment business for years since retiring as an active fighter.
In fact, he plays a character in a new film coming out soon which has been highly acclaimed called ‘Bad Frank’. Touching on why he thought the film was different and what he liked about it, Ray enthused:
“I love these type of films that are like a man in crisis, so to speak. Character-driven films where there is a morality conflict. It’s about a man coming into conflict with the good and bad in his mind and life. I always found that interesting and intriguing.”
I asked Ray what he is up to these on a days to day basis. He told me besides acting he is now back in his home town full-time in business:
“I’m in the entertaining business and the production business – producing. This is why I came back to my home town of Youngstown to create a full digital media studio in downtown Youngstown for film and television production.”
Of course, our chat couldn’t be complete without going into boxing at some stage. Ray spoke to me a little on his take on the sport’s history and why he got involved in the beginning:
“Boxing is traditionally a sport for the economically depressed. In the 20’s it was the Irish, in the 30’s it was the Jews, in the 40’s it was the Italians. Now it’s the blacks and Hispanics. Traditionally people who turn to fighting come from a source of economic need. My whole construct to fight was different. I didn’t come from economic need. I certainly wasn’t filthy (rich). I came from a lower middle class family. Through Don Sable I was going to parochial school. I had other opportunities but I wanted to win that title for my father. I didn’t have to fight. I had academic as well as athletic scholarships to go to college. I had a professional baseball offer. I had opportunities.”
When we spoke about the modern day sweet science landscape I wanted to know Ray’s opinion on the now infamous Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao fight in 2015.
Ray went into detail on the subject:
“It was the worst thing that ever happened boxing. I knew it was 4 or 5 years too late. I still thought Floyd would have beaten him back then (4 or 5 years before it happened). Manny is a great fighter but Floyd is bigger, faster and stronger. When Floyd was starting out earlier in his career I was for him. He was terrific. He was fighting and beating guys he had no business beating. A lot of experienced guys. Somewhere along the way he hurt his hands and he stopped closing the show. You gotta close the show. The n you get to the point where he’ll slap you around for 12 rounds but he’s not going to engage. It was very disappointing that’s what it came to.”
As our conversation drew to an end I had a brief chance to get Ray’s take on modern America and President Trump who seems to be in the news a lot these days:
“I’m not a political guy but look, he’s my president so I gotta support him now. I didn’t vote for him but he’s my president so I support him now. If he does 20%, 30% of the things he says he’ll do – we’ll be better off. We couldn’t go with the way it was, the same old same old.”
Keep an eye out for the film ‘Bad Frank’ in which Ray Boom Boom Mancini plays the father (Charlie Pierce) of the star character in the show Frank Pierce (played by Kevin Interdonato).