BN Investigates | Highlight 2 | Issue | Premium | Jun 21 2019

‘The boxer is the first to know, but the last to admit it.’ How the sport’s finest reached their last fight

Most boxers, even those who go out on a win, fight past their peaks as their bodies and minds plead for them to stop. Elliot Worsell investigates
Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

HE knew it was the end before it had even begun. He knew it was the end because it felt different to the beginning, and the middle, and how it felt last week. Gone was the 21-year-old who won the world title a decade earlier. Gone, too, was the 31-year-old who had recently been hitting times and heights of old in training, convincing himself his next opponent was tailor-made for him.

Now struck by a feeling too unusual and strong to ignore, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, moments before battle, chose not to. He turned to his assistant trainer, Ted Fagan, in their changing room and outed himself, first as doubtful, then prematurely retired. He told Fagan he didn’t want to be there anymore. He told him he didn’t want to do it – fight, pretend – anymore.

Subscribe now to keep reading

We're chuffed you’re enjoying our website, but I'm afraid you need to be a subscriber to read this story.

As a subscriber you'll get access to all online content, including weekly issues - you can opt for digital only or print and digital - plus an online archive of weekly digital editions back to January 2012.

You'll also be helping to support our editorial independence so we can continue to get to the heart of the stories that truly matter to you, the reader. Every subscription we secure will go directly to ensuring that Boxing News retains its voice for many years to come.

If you're not ready to subscribe there are plenty of free articles on the site you can enjoy by registering

To enjoy premium content such as this story, and to get the weekly issue you will need to subscribe

Got an account? Sign in