It's the fight everyone wanted to see: Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini vs. Harry Arroyo. It never materialized.
Mancini, the WBA lightweight champion, and Arroyo, the IBF titleholder, were the two area ring kings during the 1980s, and to make it even more savoring for area boxing fans, both were from Youngstown.
It would have been a natural. The attendance would have been perhaps the largest in Youngstown area boxing history. The two would have earned big paychecks with the ring clash, and once and for all, fans would have been satisfied.
So why did this bout never take place? Mancini enlightened me one day stating that the two "were good friends," and the fight would never take place. Arroyo's sentiments were the same.
Earned their mettle
I had the privilege of covering the fights of both young boxers, from Madison Square Garden, Reno, Buffalo, Atlantic City and even in Youngstown, and I must say both fighters earned their mettle. Both were extremely talented young men. Arroyo perhaps had the edge in boxing expertise, while Mancini packed more of a punch. Both were durable and a credit to the fight game.
Arroyo remains in the Youngstown area while Mancini makes his home in California. Last Sunday, Arroyo was inducted into the Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame at the 2002 induction dinner and ceremonies at Mr. Anthony's in Boardman.
Arroyo successfully defended his IBF crown at Struthers Field House in September of 1984, stopping Charlie "White Lightning" Brown in the eighth round to register his 25th victory in as many starts.
In Atlantic City, in April of 1985, Arroyo lost his title to Jimmy Paul of Detroit, dropping a 15-round decision. A dejected Arroyo said following the setback that he was OK. and that his "Pride was hurt more than anything."
Bramble is obstacle
For Mancini, his ring record was even more impressive than Arroyo's. His downfall, however, came by way of a young boxer by the name of Livingstone Bramble. Bramble stopped Mancini by TKO in the 14th round of their WBA title bout in June of 1984. In a rematch in Reno in February of 1985, Bramble defended his crown by winning a 15-round unanimous decision.
Mancini and Arroyo were two of the finest young boxers ever in the Youngstown area. The fight, however, that most fans wanted to see the most, never materialized. Thanks guys, for all of those wonderful memories.
PIAA picks Hershey
Who would have 'thunk' it?
You can't get any closer than a 14-13 vote, the margin of differences in the PIAA's decision to keep the state's high school football championships in Hersheypark Stadium.
In last year's state championship games (in Hershey) the field was deplorable, hurting the chances of several teams which had to play on the muddy turf after other teams had already played there.
Altoona, where the games had been staged from 1992-1997, was the other site that wanted the playoffs. The field at Altoona's Mansion Park, was an artificial surface.
It was the second time a vote was taken on the site of the title games. On April 6 the board had a tie vote with one member absent.
Now, for the next three years, the PIAA state championship football encounters will be staged in Hershey; Hersheypark Arena has hosted all four PIAA state championships since 1998. The field in Hershey does have a larger seating capacity than that of Altoona.