Four months after that, referee Richard Green also took his own life, although there was no indication that his suicide was linked to the outcome of the fight for which he was never held in any way responsible.
Mancini, a devout Catholic, endured a prolonged period of depression and, although he fought again, was never the same boxer.
“In all the obvious ways, he was haunted,” US sportswriter Mark Kriegel, author of a new biography of Mancini, titled The Good Son, told reporters.
“He also got over it. The complications for Ray have more to do with the fact that the rest of the world didn’t get over it and continued using that fight as a kind of reference point for his life,” Kriegel said.
Kriegel’s book, and an accompanying documentary of the same name, climax with an emotional reunion in June last year between Mancini and Kim Duk-koo’s family.
Kim Duk-koo’s fiancee, Lee Young-mee, had been pregnant at the time of the 1982 title fight and seven months later gave birth to a son, Kim Jiwan, now 29.
While being interviewed by Kriegel for the book, Kim Jiwan had suggested a trip to the US to meet with Mancini.
“As full of duty and obligation as Ray was, he wasn’t going to turn down a request from the son of the man who, without intention, died at his hands,” Kriegel said.
At the meeting in Mancini’s home, Kim Jiwan admitted to the “hatred” he once felt for the boxer, before absolving him of any blame.
The Kim-Mancini bout proved to be a watershed in boxing, triggering a series of major changes to the sport.
Championship bouts were reduced from 15 to 12 rounds, the standing eight-count was introduced and the medical tests required of boxers before a fight were overhauled.