The Good Son: Mancini, Mayweather, and Dylan

By Gordon Marino on April 23, 2013
The Good Son: Mancini, Mayweather, and Dylan
"I would give him a lot of head movement," Ray said. "Come in behind the jab, get angles."

“After a couple of rounds, Bob said, ‘Hey Ray. Could you take it a little easy on the head? I have a few songs left in there…’”

Many celebrities suffer from a kind of narcissism that renders them more rather than less incapable of enjoying a conversation with anyone who is not on the A-list at Sardis. Ray Mancini is not one of them. Far from it, he is always open and generous with his time.

I was privileged to speak with Ray today. After discussing the documentary about his life, “THE GOOD SON,” a film based on his compelling autobiography bearing the same title, I asked the former champ how he might have approached a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. 

“My dad used to ask me, “How do you think you would do against so and so?’” replied Ray. “I could never say whether I would have beaten this guy or that guy. It is always hypothetical. But strategy-wise, against Mayweather you have to remember that the only way to negate speed is with big time pressure. I would give him a lot of head movement. Come in behind the jab, get angles. Mayweather takes that narrow stance and I would jab at his shoulder, try to knock him off balance, get him to turn, and then shoot the right to the liver and bring the hook to the body. Everyone worries about being in front of his right hand but I would make sure he was concerned about being in front of my left hook. You have to move to one side and then the other. I would work the body all night. Not to take anything away from Floyd, but Cotto had him a number of times but let him out.”

Ray also talked about his trainer Murphy Griffin, who passed away in 2010.  With deep affection Ray recalled, “I loved the man. I spent more time with him than my family. There are a lot of guys out there carrying a towel today but there are few real trainers—and he was perfect. He worked with Eddie Futch and George Benton. He was so calm. He would tell me, move that jab up and down. Or you got him now move in. Never too much, but always that other pair of educated eyes you needed to see something.”

Having read Ray’s book, I had to ask him to elaborate on one story—his sparring session with Bob Dylan! “Bob has his own private gym,” Ray said. “Best gym I’ve ever been in. On the wall there are pictures of Joe Louis, Ali, Frazier, Muddy Waters, the Rolling Stones. The heavyweights of boxing and music. First time I was over there we were sparring and just to keep him honest I would tap him with a left or right. After a couple of rounds, Bob said, ‘Hey Ray. Could you take it a little easy on the head? I have a few songs left in there.’ I was like oh no—are you kidding? Sorry. But he was only joking. He wasn’t real fast or strong but he had his own way of moving and could get it done. Afterwards, we would always sit around and talk about the fights. He really knows his boxing. He loved Benny Leonard, Carlos Monzon, both Ali and Frazier.”

Ray added, “You know I have been honored to have gotten to know what amounts to a kind of Mt. Rushmore of pop culture—Bob Dylan, David Mamet, Muhammad Ali, and to a lesser extent Michael Jordan. Amazing individuals.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. Gordon Marino 02:56pm, 02/26/2014

    That line from Bob still cracks me up…Like boxing with Shakespeare.

  2. gordon marino 08:11am, 04/25/2013

    Frankie - the guy is in the shape of a 30 year old. So don’t feel bad about that—he kills everyone at the gym he works out in.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:03am, 04/25/2013

    I’m an old fart well into my seventies….but for some reason it makes me sad to see Ray showing his age…I guess fans like myself want to remember these men forever in their primes and fighting fit!

  4. Ted 03:32pm, 04/24/2013

    “...against Mayweather you have to remember that the only way to negate speed is with big time pressure…;

    Hope Guerrero reads this, but I think he already knows it.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:22am, 04/24/2013

    If Nonito ever takes another shot at Rigo he needs to check in with Ray first….seriously!

  6. ted 04:54am, 04/24/2013

    Outstanding Gordon and soulful.

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