On November 13, 1982, a 21-year-old Mancini met 27-year-old South Korean challenger Duk Koo Kim. Kim had struggled to make the 135lb weight limit….and had to lose several pounds shortly before the fight. The title bout was at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas….and was televised live at 1pm PST on CBS Sports. It was a fight filled with action….with Mancini finally winning by TKO in the 14th round. Moments after the fight ended….Kim collapsed and fell into a coma….having suffered a subdural hematoma on his brain and died four days later. The week after his death….the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine showed Mancini and Kim battling….under the title “Tragedy in the Ring.”
Mancini went to the funeral in South Korea and he fell into a deep depression afterwards. He has said that the hardest moments came when people approached him and asked if he was the boxer who “killed” Duk Koo Kim. Mancini went through a period of reflection….as he blamed himself for Kim’s death. In addition, Kim’s mother committed suicide three months after the fight….and the bout’s referee, Richard Green, killed himself in July 1983. As a result of this bout….the WBC took steps to shorten its title bouts to a maximum of 12 rounds….with the WBA and WBO following suit in 1988….and the IBF in 1989
Mancini began the process of getting his life back together by once again putting on gloves. He went to Italy to face British champion George Feeney….wining a 10 round decision. He defended his title two more times….as in January 1984….Boom Boom had a bout with former world champion Bobby Chacon….which was broadcast on HBO,…as seen in this video herewith. Mancini defeated Chacon after referee Richard Steele stopped the fight in the third round with blood dripping from Chacon’s left eye.
Bobby Chacon was a former world featherweight champion and world super featherweight champion by the time that 1983 rolled around the corner….which is when Chacon was signed to defend his WBC title in a rematch against Boza Edwards….who was the WBC’s mandatory challenger….even though WBC rules stated the mandatory challenger should receive a shot at the title….the WBC insisted Chacon fight Héctor Camacho in Puerto Rico instead….finally stripping him of his title when he refused.
Chacon started 1984 with a move up in weight….to the Lightweight division….where he tried to join the exclusive club of boxing’s three division world champions….but was knocked out in three during his challenge against world champion Ray Mancini in Reno.