From the bestselling author of Pistol and Namath, a vivid, revealing, and fast-paced biography of the great boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini.
Frank Sinatra fawned over him. Warren Zevon wrote a tribute song about him. Sylvester Stallone produced a movie of the week of his life. In the 1980s, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini wasn’t merely the lightweight champ. An adoring public considered him a national hero, the real Rocky.
Known best as a righteous kid in a corrupt game, symbolically potent, demographically perfect, and fighting to fulfill his late father’s dream, Mancini was cast as the savior of a sport. But it all came apart November 13, 1982, in a brutal battle at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Mancini’s obscure Korean challenger, Duk Koo Kim, went down and never regained consciousness. Three months later, Kim’s despondent mother took her own life. The deaths would haunt Ray and ruin his carefully crafted image, suddenly transforming boxing’s All-American Boy into a pariah.
Now, thirty years after that nationally televised bout, author Mark Kriegel finally uncovers the story’s full dimensions, exacting confessions and uncovering mysteries of the Mancini and Kim families across generations. In scenes both brutal and tender, Kriegel reveals an intimate history, a saga of fathers and fighters, loss and redemption. Says Jonathon Mahler, author of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning, “The Good Son is muscular, literary sportswriting at its best.”
“Our American literary tradition happily disregards the intellectuals and cherishes the sportswriters. As we should, for the great sportswriter combines the fan’s love of American Culture with the scribe’s intuition of tragedy. Or, as Red Smith, Damon Runyon, or Bill Heinz might have put it: ‘Kriegel does for Boom Boom what Margaret Mitchell did for the Civil War.’”