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Bautista Can Look at Original 'Boom Boom' as Inspiration


PhilBoxing.com



Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini.
Unknown to many, the most famous "Boom Boom" in boxing was Ray Mancinci, an Italian-American former boxer in the '80s from the south side of Youngstown, Ohio. It was actually his father, veteran boxer Lennie Mancini, who was known as "Boom Boom" but the younger Mancini inherited the distinctive nickname because it perfectly suited his wild, whirlwind fighting style.

Mancini swept his first 20 fights as a pro - 15 by knockout - that became his springboard towards getting his first world title shot at 20 years old. Unfortunately, he suffered his first career setback by 14th round TKO to Alexis Arguello in their WBC lightweight championship on October 3, 1981 at the Bally's Park Place in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

But Mancini's world did not end from that painful defeat. He quietly took his frustrations constructively and eventually as stepping stone to success.

As a result of his fortitude, Mancinci returned with a blaze of glory and went on to win the WBA lightweight title with a spectacular first round stoppage of Arturo Frias on May 8, 1982 at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. He retained his belt four times before surrendering it to Livingstone Bramble via 14th round TKO on June 1, 1984 at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York.

Mancini retired in 1993, compiling an impressive 29-5 win-loss record spiked with 23KOs in 14 years. His legacy included an inspirational story involving a young champion who had won the title as much for his family as for himself.

In the new millennium, a ring gladiator named "Boom Boom" shot into phenomenal fame in Philippine boxing because of his exciting skills, devastating power, and fearless fighting stance. So charismatic that he was hyped up as the heir apparent to Manny Pacquiao's throne.

He is Rey Bautista, a farmer's son from the municipality of Candijay in the land of Chocolate Hills - Bohol. Just like any other boxer of the country, he joined the war of attrition to provide his family with a better life.

Bautista seemed carbon copied Mancini's feat, winning his first 23 fights, including 17 via stoppage, to earn a crack at a world title undefeated at 21 years old.

Bautista's fairytale run, however, came to a bitter halt when he was flattened in the very first round of a scheduled 12-rounder by WBO super bantamweight Daniel Ponce de Leon in the main event of the Philippines vs. Mexico Boxing World Cup last Sunday at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California.

Some pundits of the so-called "Sweet Science" offered various reactions in relation to Bautista's shocking loss. Some said is too early for Bautista to be pitted against a high-powered champion because he still lacks experience and ring maturity, while others think that the Boholano has a 'glass" chin that is why he was easily reduced into shards by Ponce de Leon.

There were a few optimists though at the Pacland forum of mannypacquiao.ph and philboxing.com who believe that Bautista is still young and inspite of his heart-ripping debacle to Ponce de Leon, the future remains bright for the ALA Boxing Gym stalwart to fulfill his dream of becoming a world champion.

Looking back at the past, some of the greatest fighters in history have had their own of share of adversity before scaling the summit of success.

Afterall, life is a meandering journey that is full of twists and turns.

For Bautista, his star is yet to shine. But being a person of courage and determination, he will persevere in reaching greater heights in the squared arena someday. Much more if he draws inspiration from the original "Boom Boom" in this trying moments of his life.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel B. Villaruel.


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