On one hand, you could say Laurie Mann was destined for greatness.
The son of Prince George boxing legend – and Prince George Sports Hall of Fame member – Harold Mann, Laurie was introduced to the sport almost as soon as he could walk. Benefiting from the natural ability that flowed from father to son, Laurie also grew under the watchful eyes of Harold and grandfather Irving Mann Sr.
On the other hand, you could say Laurie’s greatness was a product of his own making.
An eager learner, he practically lived in the gym, soaking up knowledge from older fighters.
"He had a warrior's heart,” former Citizen sports editor Doug Martin says, and he honed his skills over 26 years in close to 150 fights.
But whether it was fate, hard work or a combination of the two, Laurie Mann deserves to be called great.
With six Canadian titles and three times named the best boxer at the national championships, Laurie had an impressive amateur career. Circumstances halfway around the world kept him from the ultimate brass ring when Canada joined a U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
“That probably robbed him of his best moment,” says Martin. “He had an Olympic style. Laurie Mann had a classic style and threw a lot of punches.”
Success continued in the pros. Laurie racked up a 31-4 overall record, including wins over thee men who at one time or another were ranked No. 1 in the world (Roland Williams, Bruce Finch and Jorge Morales). He beat fighters from around the globe, including Australian champion Terry Jones and South African title holder Brian Baronet.
“This was a kid who did everything right (and) who was technically just a beautiful fighter,” recalls Martin. “He just lived and loved the sport.”
Laurie went out like a champion, retiring after a 10 round unanimous decision over Al Harper in Prince George in 1992.
Over two and a half decades, Laurie Mann brought recognition to Prince George at fight venues around the world. He is a perfect addition to the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame.