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Boxing – Lightweight Title – Champ Livingstone Bramble vs Ray Boom Boom Mancini

DOG ASIDE:

Livingstone Bramble was a professional boxer raised on Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands….who became the first world champion from Saint Kitts and Nevis.  Bramble began boxing professionally on October 16, 1980 by knocking out Jesus Serrano in round one….whom he would outpoint Serrano in a rematch. In his fourth fight, Bramble faced the more experienced, fringe contender Jorge Nina, winning by a disqualification in the second round.  On June 4, 1981, Bramble beat Ken Bogner by a knockout in seven rounds…but later that year on August 31….he lost for the first time in an eight round decision to Anthony Fletcher. After that loss, he built a streak of thirteen wins in a row….including wins over former world title challengers James Busceme and Gaetan Hart….as well as top ten ranked fighters like Jerome Artis and Rafael Williams.

Bramble was given a shot at a world title when the WBA pitted him and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini for the Lightweight title on June 1, 1984. Bramble entered the ring sporting a record of 20 wins and only one loss with thirteen knockouts….but was a heavy underdog to Mancini…who had recently gone fourteen rounds with the legendary Alexis Argüello….and he was also coming off a successful title defense on January 14….a third round knockout of two time world champion Bobby Chacon. Furthermore, talks about a super-fight between Mancini and IBF world jr. welterweight champion Aaron Pryor were already under way. Nevertheless, Bramble cut Mancini in round one and went on to become the WBA world lightweight champion by a fourteenth round knockout in Buffalo, New York. After this, The Ring published a cover of Bramble, WBA jr. lightweight world champion Rocky Lockridge and their trainer Lou Duva….as the cover read: The championship season.

After defeating Edwin Curet by a ten round decision in a non-title bout, Bramble met Mancini in a rematch on February 16, 1985….as seen in this video herewith….in what marked the debut of the Compubox scoring system for the fight….in which Bramble defeated Mancini by an extremely close but unanimous fifteen round decision to retain his world title at Reno, Nevada.

After Héctor Camacho defeated José Luis Ramírez to claim the WBC title on August 10 of that year….amid widespread talk about a series of fights between Bramble, Camacho and IBF world lightweight champion Jimmy Paul….to see who would become the unified world champion. Exactly one year after defeating Mancini for the second time, Bramble defeated the WBA’s number one challenger, Tyrone Crawley, by a knockout in round thirteen.  Bramble’s next defense was supposed to be a preparation fight for him to meet Camacho. He and Camacho each defended their crowns on September 26, in what was nicknamed The Preamble to Bramble. However, in what many saw as a surprise, Bramble suffered a defeat to Edwin Rosario, who knocked him out in two rounds at Miami.  After this loss, Bramble never regained his status as a top lightweight. He fought on, and met some future or former world champions such as Freddie Pendleton, Charles Murray, James “Buddy” McGirt, Roger Mayweather, Rafael Ruelas and Kostya Tszyu….as well as world title challengers like Wilfredo Rivera, Oba Carr and Darryl Tyson. However, he was on the losing end of most of these fights.  Although his last recorded fight occurred on June 26, 2003….he has never officially announced his retirement, and constantly hints that he wishes to fight on. His current record stands at 40–26–3 (25 KOs).

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini was an Italian American born in Youngstown, Ohio….as boxing played a prominent role in the Mancini family history….since Mancini’s father, Lenny Mancini (the original “Boom Boom”), was a top-ranked contender during the 1940’s. Lenny Mancini’s dream, however, was dashed when he was wounded during World War II. Although Lenny Mancini returned to boxing, limitations resulting from his injuries prevented him from fulfilling his potential.  Lenny inspired young Mancini to develop his boxing skills and encouraged him to train at a gym when he was quite young. Starting in 1977, Ray had a stellar amateur career with a record of 43-7 and several Golden Gloves championships.

On October 18, 1979 he made his professional debut by defeating Phil Bowen with a first round knockout. His whirlwind punching style caught the attention of network executives at several American television networks, and he became a regular on their sports programming. During this time Ray Mancini defeated some notable boxers including former United States champion Norman Goins in March 1981.  On April 30, 1980, Mancini defeated Bobby Sparks with a knockout at 1:28 in the first round for the regional Ohio State lightweight title. Over a year later on May 16, 1981, Mancini won his first major title by defeating Jorge Morales for the WBC-affiliated NABF lightweight championship when the referee determined that Morales could not continue after the 9th round. Two months later, he successfully defended the title against Jose Luis Ramirez after a unanimous decision. Mancini’s first attempt at a world title came in his next bout on October 3 when he was pitted against Alexis Argüello for his World Boxing Council lightweight title. The event was selected by many (including The Ring and ESPN) as one of the most spectacular fights of the 1980’s. Mancini gave Arguello trouble early and built a lead on the scorecards….but Arguello used his experience to his advantage in the later rounds and stopped Mancini in the 14th round.  Mancini would rebound from the loss to Arguello by winning his next two bouts, including a second (and last) successful defense of his NABF Lightweight title against Julio Valdez (10th round TKO) which would earn him another chance at a world title.

On May 8, 1982, in a match held at The Aladdin in Las Vegas….Mancini challenged the new World Boxing Association lightweight champion, Arturo Frias.….and fifteen seconds into the fight….Frias caught Mancini with a left hook to the chin and another combination made Mancini bleed from his eyebrow. Mancini recovered and dropped Frias right in the center of the ring with a combination……when dazed, Frias got back up but Mancini immediately went on the offensive and trapped Frias against the ropes. After many unanswered blows, referee Richard Greene stopped the fight at 2:54 in the first round, and the Mancini family finally had a world champion.

This was a very good fight….full of action as the lightweights always provide…..between two super great lightweight fighters during the golden age of boxing.

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