Ray Mancini vs. Deuk Koo Kim

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1982-11-13 : Ray Mancini 134¾ lbs beat Deuk-Koo Kim 134¼ lbs by KO at 0:19 in round 14 of 15


  • Kim was ranked No. 1 at lightweight by the WBA.
  • Kim, who had never fought outside of South Korea, was a big underdog.
  • Mancini was guaranteed $250,000 against 45 percent of the gross revenue. Kim's purse was $20,000.
  • There was a crowd of 6,500 at Caesars Palace.
  • The fight was televised live on CBS.
  • Mancini and Kim went toe-to-toe for most of the fight, which was tougher and closer than most expected.
  • Mancini hurt his left hand in the third round when he hit Kim with a hook to the head. The hand was badly bruised and began to swell.
  • Kim had a point deducted in the tenth round for holding and hitting.
  • Mancini knocked out Kim with a right to the jaw early in the fourteenth round.
  • Kim suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and lapsed into a coma. After undergoing a 2½-hour operation to remove a blood clot from his brain, he was placed on a respirator to keep him breathing. Kim died on November 17, five days after the fight.
  • Kim's mother, Yang Sun-Yo, flew from South Korea to Las Vegas to be with her son before he was taken off life support.
  • There was a memorial service held for Kim in Las Vegas before his body was flown back to South Korea. Mancini sent flowers and a telegram in which he called Kim "a brave and dignified champion who will always be in our thoughts and prayers." Mancini later flew to Korea to attend Kim's funeral.
  • Kim's mother committed suicide by drinking pesticide on January 29, 1983, and Richard Greene, who refereed the Mancini-Kim fight, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head on July 1, 1983.
  • Bob Arum, the promoter of the fight, called for the suspension of professional boxing for a few months while a blue-ribbon panel of medical experts studied the safety of fighters in the ring. He also suggested that perhaps boxers should wear headgear and gloves with more padding.
  • On December 9, 1982, the World Boxing Council announced that they were going to reduce the number of rounds in their championship fights from fifteen to twelve and would allow referees to issue standing eight-counts. The last fifteen-round WBC title fight would come two days later when Bobby Chacon won the super featherweight title from Rafael (Bazooka) Limon in a fight The Ring would name Fight of the Year.
Alfredo Lamazont, a WBC spokesman, said studies had shown that a number of serious injuries had occurred in the thirteenth and fourteenth rounds of recent championship fights. Jose Sulaiman, the president of the WBC, said he had presented a proposal for fewer rounds to the executive committee three years earlier, but "Kim's death was just a call of attention to expedite the decision." Sulaiman also said the WBC would await a medical report before deciding whether to implement another of his recommendations—increasing the rest period between rounds from sixty seconds to ninety.
Mancini called the WBC's decision to abolish fifteen-round fights "a farce."
  • Mancini later said of Kim: "He died once, and I felt I was dying every day. When you're a fighter, you develop a respect for your opponent and I had all the respect in the world for this guy. I just wanted to win the fight. I never wanted to see him hurt. It was devastating."
  • Bob Arum later said of Mancini: "He was never the same fighter. He just didn't have the thing that made him who he was. He was never as aggressive. He never threw the punches with the reckless abandon that he used to. He was shaken to his core."
  • Mancini traveled to South Korea in 2011 and met Duek-Koo Kim's former fiancee and son, Jiwan Kim, a dentist who never had a chance to meet his father. "It's not your fault," Jiwan Kim told Mancini. "You don't need to live with guilt."

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