The 2015 Boxing Hall of Fame class gets inducted June 14th, in Canastota, NY. This years’ class includes Prince Naazim Hamad, Riddick Bowe and Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini. Mancini amassed a career record of 29-5 with 23 KOs and was often featured in prime time television due to his exciting fan friendly style. Ray Mancini’s career had it’s ups and downs, but he remains in the public eye today due to the fact that he faced every challenge in his life, much like he did in his boxing career.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Ray Mancini, I talk with him about his recent involvement with truTV as a boxing commentator. Mancini also talks about his recent inclusion into the Boxing Hall of Fame, and shares his thoughts on why he believes he got the recognition. Ray also talks about the fight the world waited for, but was ultimately disappointment in, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Here is what Ray Mancini had to say.
Jenna J: You have made a return to commentary, working with truTV’s Friday Night Knockout series. How do you feel being back in commentary?
Ray Mancini: Great, I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. I’ve done it for years, especially in the 80’s, even when I was fighting and right after I retired I was doing quite a bit of it. I always enjoyed it, I always felt that it’s easy to talk about something you know about.
I always thought that boxing was the one sport that kind of shot itself in the behind because they always use sports writers and people that weren’t necessarily in the ring. They weren’t using ex fighters, like every other sport, they use ex players and people can talk from an internal point of view. I always thought that was very important.
There are a lot of good writers and a lot of good announcers but I always felt that the thing that was missing was the internal point of view, how do you talk about what it is like to get smacked on the chin and getting knocked on your behind, if you’ve never been there? Now networks are starting to use fighters again and I think it’s very good, good for boxing and good for commentary. The fact that I got to come back and do it on truTV, I’m very flattered and very honored.
Jenna J: It was announced that you will be inducted into the 2015 Boxing Hall of Fame. How do you feel about the honor of being put into the Hall of Fame?
Ray Mancini: It’s just unbelievable; it’s something that I don’t think anybody can imagine. I don’t think any athlete in any sport goes in and says, “I’m going to be in the Hall of Fame.” You go in there to be a champion, to be the best champion you can be and hopefully you do well enough that you’re able to accomplish those goals and those dreams and maybe make some money out of it.
I don’t think anyone says, “One day I’ll make it to the Hall of Fame,” I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anybody say that’s their goal. To be a champion should be the goal, to be the best you can be. For me it was just to be the champion and then once I won the championship, to be the best fighter I could be. I wanted to be a respectable champion, an honorable champion. I had a good run at it, but that was it, I never thought of the Hall of Fame.
They called me in October and I heard I was on the ballot, and I was honored. To me that was it, that was enough. I said it then and I repeated it after I found out I won, I said I didn’t think my career warranted it because I only fought five and a half years as a pro. To me, when you’re a Hall of Famer, it’s about guys who have longevity, to fight long careers and fight for titles from the beginning to the end. When I found out that I made it, it was unbelievable.
A reporter called me and told me and I said the same thing about not having a long career and he said to me, “No, you have to understand, you were part of the early 80’s. Guys like you, Leonard, Camacho, Pryor, you put boxing on the map. If it wasn’t for you guys, I don’t think HBO or Showtime would be where it’s at and certainly not pay-per-view. You guys brought it to the forefront of the American public. It isn’t the quantity of your fights that got you in, it’s the quality of your fights that got you in.” I said, “Ah, I’ll take that.”
Jenna J: The two big networks recently combined their efforts to put on the biggest pay-per-view of all time in Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. A lot of fans were disappointed with what they got from that fight, what did you think of the fight and do you think fans should be disappointed?
Ray Mancini: Absolutely fans should be disappointed. A friend of mine had an event, we had four couples, he had a screening room and we watched it on the big screen. My wife was snoring from the fourth round on, literally, we were laughing. We look over to my friend’s wife and she was sleeping. What does that say? That’s all you need to know, it was that type of fight.
We shouldn’t feel like we got suckered. I wasn’t going to pay $100 for it, thank God I was invited somewhere. I know a lot of people who were die hard boxing fans who didn’t pay for it, but there’s enough that did. I don’t know why we should be mad because Mayweather hasn’t done anything different in all his career. We know what type of fighter that he is. He’s a special type of fighter, don’t get me wrong, he’s a special talent.
Usually he keeps bragging that he has the top pay-per-view fights, this fight, the De La Hoya fight and the Canelo fight. But look who were the stars, Pacquiao, De La Hoya and Canelo. What happened when he fought Robert Guerrero? What happened there? They lost 13 million but no one talks about that. What I’m saying is, there have been fights that he’s lost big money for the networks, so why should we think that it’s going to be anything different? It’s always about who he’s gonna fight.
We know what type of fight he’s gonna do, we know he’s not gonna engage — he hasn’t engaged with a fighter in over ten years. He’s not gonna put it on the line, he’s gonna slap you around from the outside as long as can and get away with a victory. Great, but that’s not pay-per-view to me.
Jenna J: How does Mayweather compare to PPV stars of the past like Sugar Ray Leonard?
Ray Mancini: He could have never beaten Ray Leonard, Ray Leonard had a mean streak, when he was in there, he wanted to annihilate you, embarrass you. Ray Leonard would not let you finish on your feet, Ray Leonard closed the show, that’s the difference between him and this guy.
Ray Leonard was a worthy pay-per-view because we knew he was going to try to close the show no matter what, Mayweather doesn’t, he doesn’t and he won’t. For me, I’m not paying to see him. He’s got special skills and he’s a special fighter but I’m not paying to see him. On free TV, fine. If not, no. Pacquiao was the draw, everyone knows that.
Here’s the other thing; Floyd doesn’t care about the paying public. I always said that athletes in general and fighters in particular have an obligation to the paying public to give them the best fight possible. He doesn’t care about that and he hasn’t cared about that. He’s a modern day Houdini, he doesn’t take a lick of a chance, he takes your money and he gets away with it. He doesn’t take a lick of a chance and he gets away with it.