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Put ’em up

August 29, 2021

Over at Jim’s Song Lyric Sunday he askes us to share a song that mentions “the words Fraud, Hypocrite, Phony, Pretender, or Snob.”

I chose the song Boom Boom Mancini because, A) it’s Warren Zevon, and B) the songs stands out because it’s not really a typical Zevon song. This slow rocker is a straight biographical story and a recounting of history. No hidden meaning and no satire – and if there’s a message in these lyrics it’s the line toward the end directed toward sportswriters, Monday morning quarterbacks and boxing detractors:

“They made hypocrite judgements after the fact, but the name of the game is be hit and hit back”

Briefly: Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini was a lightweight boxing champion. In 1982, at 21-years-old, he defended the title in Las Vegas against the #1 contender, Duk Koo Kim, a 27-year-old South Korean boxer. The fight lasted 14 rounds and it ended with Mancini retaining his title by TKO and Kim falling into a coma from which he would never awaken. After Kim’s death Mancini spiraled into depression. He blamed himself for the tragedy and he was frequently asked if he was the boxer who ‘killed’ Kim. Mancini was never the same boxer again. He had a few more fights, one against the fighter mentioned in the song, Bobby Chacon, but gone was the aggressiveness that had made him a champion. Eighteen months after the Kim fight Mancini lost the title. He lost the rematch and a couple of other bouts, and he eventually retired. Adding to this tragedy, Kim’s mother committed suicide four months after her son’s death, and the referee who officiated the bout took his life a few months later.

Hurry home early – hurry on home
Boom Boom Mancini’s fighting Bobby Chacon
Hurry home early – hurry on home
Boom Boom Mancini’s fighting Bobby Chacon

From Youngstown, Ohio, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini
A lightweight contender, like father like son
He fought for the title with Frias in Vegas
And he put him away in round number one

Hurry home early – hurry on home
Boom Boom Mancini’s fighting Bobby Chacon
Hurry home early – hurry on home
Boom Boom Mancini’s fighting Bobby Chacon

When Alexis Arguello gave Boom Boom a beating
Seven weeks later he was back in the ring
Some have the speed and the right combinations
If you can’t take the punches, it don’t mean a thing

Hurry home early – hurry on home
Boom Boom Mancini’s fighting Bobby Chacon
Hurry home early – hurry on home
Boom Boom Mancini’s fighting Bobby Chacon

When they asked him who was responsible
For the death of Du Koo Kim
He said, “Someone should have stopped the fight
and told me it was him.”
They made hypocrite judgments after the fact
But the name of the game is be hit and hit back

Hurry home early – hurry on home
Boom Boom Mancini’s fighting Bobby Chacon
Hurry home early – hurry on home
Boom Boom Mancini’s fighting Bobby Chacon

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2021 9:53 am

    This song really carries a sad story with it Michael. I am always happy to listen to Warren Zevon and this one was new for me, which made it even more enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

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