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A lot of time in camp is spent on psychological preparation. Bramble's a terrific psych-out artist. "He may be very unsophisticated," says promoter Dan Duva, Lou's son, "but he's pretty shrewd. It's very difficult to tell when he's serious or just trying to gain an edge."
Before their first fight. Bramble called Mancini a murderer. He wanted to have the name Duk Koo Kim, the South Korean lightweight who died after being KO'd by Mancini in November 1982, inscribed on the back of his robe. Lou Duva suggested "Voodoo" instead.
"Voodoo?" said Bramble.
"No, you do."
In the end Lou got Marvin Matthew, a St. Croix history teacher and Bramble's former junior league basketball coach, to pose as a voodoo man. Dr. Doo. Matthew was decked out in dark glasses, a derby and a dashiki and carried a mysterious tome that turned out to be a medical textbook. The Fright Doctor turned an evil eye on Mancini. "The only effect Dr. Doo had was on our television reception," claims Wolf. "We couldn't pick up ESPN."
However, Lou says. "Ray's an emotional guy. You could see him start to sweat and get edgy." For the rematch Duva promises even more powerful mumbo jumbo. "Just wait till my Italian mind starts working," he warns.
Bramble abandoned his secret bulengi punch, a kind of modified bolo named after the Caribbean eggplant, when he hurt himself training for an October tune-up with Edwin Curet. He won a unanimous 10-rounder without it. Bramble is going into the Mancini rematch very, very confidently. "Instead of Mancini. I call him Boy-cini," he says. "I beat him so bad I should be his daddy." But Bramble's recounting of their first fight is not, strictly speaking, correct. He was behind on two cards when the fight was stopped. Nevertheless, he was extremely disciplined. He forced Mancini to fight his fight. Mancini never found a way to neutralize Bramble's nine-inch reach advantage.
Asked why he'd thought he would win the first fight. Bramble repeated the title of a Marley song: Them Belly Full, but We Hungry. Now Boom Boom has to work up an appetite himself. "The whole Mancini story is on the line," says Lou Duva. "This Italian's going to be fighting heart and soul to prove to America he wasn't just a hyped-up media star. But that's not going to be enough. He's got to have talent."
Whatever happens in this Rasta-pasta rematch. Bramble plans a postfight vacation in Alaska. "The last time I go, it's 24 hours daylight," he says. "This time, it's 24 hours dark. I won't be able to see who I am." Livingstone, we presume.