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Wednesday, November 14, 2012
'Boom Boom' Mancini embraces film fest

By Michael Woods

Yesterday was a hard day for Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini -- the 30th anniversary of the day his fists were responsible for the death of an in-ring foe.

On Nov. 13, 1982, the 21-year-old Mancini, the pride of Youngstown, Ohio, defended his lightweight title against Korean Deuk-Koo Kim (17-1-1), a willing but limited opponent, at Caesars Palace.

Kim gave no quarter, asked for none, and paid with his life. Knocked out in round 14, the 23-year-old Kim died four days later of brain damage suffered at the hands of the aggressive Ohioan. These days, the fighter doesn't have to battle that out-sized portion of his legacy. A new book ("The Good Son," written by Mark Kriegel) and a documentary based on the book, directed by Jesse James Miller (screening at the Shadow Box Film Festival, Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the School of Visual Arts, 333 W. 23rd St. in NYC) serves to answer questions from the curious and the intrusive.

"It's always tough to talk about it," Mancini said about the impactful event.  "And people still ask. But I've made my peace with it. I don't think I have to answer any more questions. You have a question? Read the book. You have a question? Watch the documentary. It's all there. All the questions about that fight have been answered."

The film fest, directed by David Schuster, showcases only boxing films. Mancini loves the concept. "I think it's a great idea," said Mancini, who met Kim's son and his fiancee, footage of which is shown in the doc. "This I know for sure. More films have been made on boxing than all the other sports combined. Boxing parallels life and people understand that. That's why there are so many well received boxing films. You get knocked down, you get back up. The idea of an all-boxing film festival is long overdue."