The Tragic Death Of Boxer Duk-Koo Kim

In November 1982, South Korean boxer Duk-koo Kim entered the boxing ring to fight American boxer Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini in a highly awaited scuffle that received a lot of media attention. The two were competing for the WBA lightweight championship. According to Sports Illustrated, in the 14th round of the match, things got really ugly. Mancini attacked Kim twice and went for his head. After that final punch, Kim fell down and simply couldn't get back on his feet despite trying hard.

Kim wasn't as well-known as Mancini but he was a strong fighter. He lost just once in a total of 19 professional fights, taking his manager by surprise. Kim was focused and dedicated -– training with all his might at every opportunity. When he was finally invited to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, he felt ready to take on Mancini and believed that he would emerge victorious from the match.

He was fatally injured towards the end of the match

Ray Mancini wasn't blamed by Kim's close aides when the latter died days later after the fight despite receiving medical attention and undergoing brain surgery. They felt that Mancini didn't plan on killing Kim and it was simply an accident. However, many of Kim's friends chose to walk away from boxing after losing him.

As explained in an ESPN article, doctors tried to decode the circumstances around Kim's death. It was believed that the fight did have brutal moments but was not necessarily different from what other boxing scuffles have. In fact, Kim's tragic death is considered an incident that's difficult to understand in the boxing world. It affected Mancini to the point that he couldn't continue with his boxing career much longer after the incident and quit early. However, the tragic incident did lead to a few changes such as the World Boxing Council restricting bouts to 12 rounds instead of 15 to prevent similar incidents. WBC Champion, Larry Holmes said back then,”It will cut down on injuries for a lot of fighters, but it will take away from the true champions. A true champion can go 15 rounds.”