A promising young Lightweight boxer
, Kim became famous fighting Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini
in Mancini's nationally televised
second defense of his WBA
title, November 13, 1982
at Caesar's Palace
in Las Vegas
At the end of the 13th round, onlookers were concerned that Kim could no longer defend himself adequately. (Both fighters had unleashed massive punishment, with an estimated 3500 landed blows in the contest...but it had been all Mancini in the 13th.)
The fighters came out for the 14th round. Almost immediately, Mancini landed two high-impact right hands to Kim's head. The knockdown count went to nine. Incredibly, Kim rose, but the referee stopped the fight anyway, awarding it to Mancini.
Too late. Kim collapsed minutes later, and was rushed to the hospital where he died four days later. Many have been killed in the ring but none before so many spectators.
In the aftermath of the event, championship fights were shortened to twelve rounds out of concern for the fighters, and a noticable tendency to stop fights sooner was born. The referee of the fatal contest, Richard Greene, later committed suicide although it's unknown whether his role in the fatality was on his mind at the time.