EDMONTON – A documentary chronicling the rise and fall of lightweight champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini is screening at the Edmonton International Film Festival Friday evening.
“The Good Son” gives an inside look into the life of Mancini, who grew up in Youngstown Ohio as the son of a boxer, and reached fame in the early 80s. Everything changed, though, after a 1982 fight against Korean boxer Duk Koo Kim. Kim suffered brain injuries during the fight and died four days later.
Mancini sunk into a depression following Kim’s death.
“I was at the top of the world, winning the world title and then I hit bottom. Maybe that’s part of the intrigue – the ride,” he says.
In one powerful scene in the film, Mancini meets the widow and son Kim left behind.
“My relationship with God is strong and – believe me – I made peace with it a long time ago; but hard on my kids – [their peers] would make cruel comments and my kids come home crying,” he recalls. “I think the film puts closure for them…for me too, in many other ways.”
He hopes kids watching the movie will be able to learn from what he’s overcome to get to where he did.
“I want kids to understand you chase your dreams; dreams without action are dead – you gotta put it into motion.”
That message seems to have resonated with students who were invited to attend the afternoon screening of the documentary.
“Even if we make mistakes in life we can always fix it or at least try to do our best,” said local high school student, Brady Kryba, of what we took from it.
Friday evening, Mancini’s local former opponent, Al Ford, will be taking in the film. The two fought in the rink more than 30 years ago, and Ford still holds Mancini in high regard.
“Fighting him was more, more trouble than all the other fighters,” says the retired boxing champion, who lost to Mancini.
“The Good Son” is scheduled to play tonight at 7 p.m. at Empire Theatres City Centre. Here’s a preview:
Mancini will be on-hand after to answer questions.
“Ask me anything you want, personal, you know…about that particular incident, because this is your last shot.”
You can watch our Morning News interview with Mancini and the director of the film, Jesse James Millar, below:
With files from Laurel Clark, Global News