Lenny Mancini was a lightweight contender in the 40's. Lenny joined the army, and was wounded in World War II. Thus the elder Mancini never received a deserved title shot. After a 50 fight amateur career, Ray picked up his father's mantle, and became a pro fighter in 1979.
Ray was an instant hit among boxing fans, with his aggressive, power punching style. After 20 straight wins, including victories over contenders Jose Luis Ramirez, Johnny Summerhays, and Norman Goins, "Boom Boom" got a chance to fulfill his father's dream by taking on the legendary Alexis Arguello for the WBC lightweight title on October 3, 1981. After a valiant effort, Mancini succumbed to Arguello in the 14th round, but he was undeterred in his quest to become champion.
Seven months later, on May 8, 1982, Mancini finally won a title for himself and his father. In 2 minutes and 54 seconds which contained more action than many 12 rounders, Mancini stopped Arturo Frias to win the WBA lightweight crown.
He defended the title four times (including a brutal knockout over Duk-Koo Kim after which Kim tragically died), before losing the title on an upset stoppage by unheralded Livingstone Bramble in 1984.
In 1985, Mancini lost a rematch to Bramble via a close decision, and this loss, coupled with Mancini's increasing struggle to make weight, caused him to retire. "Boom Boom" returned to the ring twice more though, losing controversially to Hector Camacho in 1989 (L12), and more convincingly to Greg Haugen in 1992 (KO by 7). After the loss to Haugen, Mancini retired for good.
In his post-boxing days, Ray was bitten by the acting bug, and can now be seen in a remake of the classic boxing movie "Body and Soul".