Monday, May 8, 2017

Today In Youngstown Boxing History: Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini Defeats Arturo Frias To Capture The WBA Lightweight Championship (5/8/1982)

                                

Through its rich tradition of boxing, the city of Youngstown has produced five world champions including most recently Kelly Pavlik, however, thirty-five years after capturing the world lightweight championship the most recognizable of the champions for the people from this blue-collar city is probably Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, despite Mancini leaving the city for California years ago.

The story of Mancini is no secret.  A son of a former pro boxer, Mancini had a very successful amateur career and climbed the professional rankings in the lightweight division at an excelled rate winning his first twenty bouts and claiming the USA Ohio lightweight title in 1980 with a KO victory over Bobby Sparks and the NABF lightweight title in 1981 with a victory over Jorge Morales along the way.

On October 3, 1981, Mancini had got his chance to fight for the WBC lightweight belt in Atlantic City against the champion, Alexis Argüello.  

Mancini, who was only 20-years-old at the time gave Argüello all that he wanted before fading in the later rounds and getting stopped in the 14th round of their 15 round fight in a match that is still considered by many to be one of the best fights of the 1980's.

Undeterred by defeat, Mancini strung together a couple of victories and earned himself another shot at the championship taking on Arturo Frias for the WBA lightweight championship on May 8, 1982, at the Alladin in Las Vegas.  

Mancini found himself in early trouble in the opening round against Frias getting caught with a left which staggered him, but Mancini charged right back at Frias and would knock down the champion late in the action-packed first round, and finish him off moments later landing a barrage of punches while having Frias against the ropes forcing referee Richard Greene to stop the fight at the 2:54 mark of the opening round.  

Mancini would go on to defend his belt a handful of times before calling it a career in 1992 following four-straight defeats.  Mancini finished his career with a 29-5 record.

Frias would fight seven more bouts after his defeat, going 4-3 in those matches and finishing his career with a 28-5 record.

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