RAY MANCINI w rsf 6 ERNESTO ESPANA
July 24, 1982; Mollenkopf Stadium, Warren, OH
RAY “BOOM BOOM” MANCINI, circa 1982, was among the brightest young stars in America. Just 21 years old and with a face still learning how to sprout whiskers, Mancini was already WBA lightweight champion, even finding time to rebound from a punishing 14-round loss to Alexis Arguello in 1981. Espana was the perfect fodder for Mancini’s first defence. A former titlist – he was the beneficiary of Roberto Duran vacating the lightweight belts in 1979 – but fairly low risk, the Venezualan always came to fight. But the swarming finish, which came five seconds after the bell to end the sixth with Ernesto taking a pounding on the ropes, doesn’t so much bend the rules but rip them into little pieces.
DID YOU KNOW? Such big news was Mancini at the time, this bout made the Sports Illustrated cover.
WATCH OUT FOR: Mancini being asked if he heard the last bell. ‘Yes, I heard the bell,’ he said. ‘Actually, no I didn’t, I just know the referee stepped between us.’ Whatever you say, Ray.