by Jeff Niesel
One of boxing’s biggest stars, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini has an incredible story. He grew up in a poor, working class neighborhood in Youngstown where he excelled in sports. He eventually followed in his father’s footsteps and became a pro boxer. His career took a turn for the worse, however, in 1982 when he knocked out opponent Duk Koo Kim and the boxer died as a result of the blow, essentially tarnishing Mancini’s career.
Director Jesse James Miller reassesses Mancini’s career in The Good Son, a documentary film that screens tonight at 7:30 at the Cedar Lee Theatre. The film goes into great depth in uncovering Mancini’s past. “Even when we showed in Youngstown, friends of mine who thought they knew me said that the film took a left turn and there were things that they didn’t know about me,” says Mancini during a quick phone interview. He adds that the film is currently on a 10-city tour but will have a short theatrical run in August as the producers push for an Academy Award nomination.
The film shows how much of Mancini’s life is characterized by tragedy of some sort of another. And yet the boxer says he’s learned to deal with those hardships and doesn’t dwell on them. “I made peace with those things and moved on,” he said during a quick phone interview. “My ex-wife’s boyfriend has a masters in education. He’s a bright young man. He saw the film and said, ‘Your life is like a Greek tragedy.’ And he’s right.” At 7 p.m., Mancini will appear at the screening to introduce the film and pose for photos prior to the screening. He’ll then stay after the screening to take questions from the audience. You can purchase tickets to the screening, which is part of the special Gathr Preview Series, here.