Death of the legendary boxer Jake LaMotta

Sport 24 September, 2017

Photo: Archives The Associated Press
Jake LaMotta (right), facing the French Marcel Cerdan, June 16, 1949

Jake LaMotta, the inspiration for the film Raging Bull filmmaker Martin Scorsese, has died Tuesday at the age of 95 of complications from pneumonia, in his retirement home in Florida, announced his wife to the website TMZ.


LaMotta, world champion middleweight from 1949 to 1951, was a pure product of the New York city folk, immigrants and the mafia, of the trams emerging from the smoke of the slums populated by kids whose idols were complying with their fists. It was nicknamed the “Bull of the Bronx,” in reference to his power and to the neighborhood where he was born, under the name Giacobbe La Motta, to parents of Italian descent. This is where the little Jake has exchanged its first direct, hooks, and uppercuts, as he collected his first blue, during a childhood rough that has seen it go through a house of correction.


Beefy, powerful, always positioned low, Jake LaMotta built its reputation on its ability to withstand the heavy blows and the aggressiveness of its cons. Even if he loses, he does not fall. The K. O., it does not know. And so much the worse if it ends up face exploded like a watermelon, his chin of steel is good.


Photo: Chris O’meara Associated Press
Jake LaMotta in 2015

His first great feat was to beat the February 5, 1943 Sugar Ray Robinson, for whom this was his first defeat. Other great fights between LaMotta and Robinson have marked the history. At the time, boxing is one of the most popular sports in the United States, so popular that it attracts figures from the community who are struggling to control the meetings, to place their foals or distort the matches.


For years, Jake LaMotta refused to compromise with the crooks, even if it has cost him opportunities to shine. And then he assigns at least once, losing voluntarily a game in 1947 for the paris fixing. He was given a suspension of several months.


Two years later, he knows, on the contrary, the glory : he won the world title means beating the French Marcel Cerdan in Detroit. This meeting of June 16, 1949 is generally regarded as deserving of inclusion among the “fights of the century” : Cerdan had forfeited his world title medium weight, but it was dislocating his left shoulder from the 2nd recovery and was now resigned to leaving it in the 9th round. On the other hand planned will never happen, Cerdan found death in a plane crash over the Azores islands.


Without the French, it is in front of Robinson than LaMotta book of duels of homer, as of February 14, 1951 in Chicago, where he climbs into the ring after drinking a few sips of brandy to get a boost in courage. LaMotta ends up defeated in the ropes, face to a pulp, but without going to the ground. The fight will be known as the ” massacre of the Saint-Valentin “.


His personal life will have the same access of rage and passion, grandeur and pathos. Boss of night club, it will be sent in prison after the arrest of an underage prostitute in his hotel. Held in solitary confinement, it will break the phalanx against the wall of his cell.


He will describe his hectic life in his memoirs baptized Raging Bull. A life also immortalized in 1980 on the big screen. Playing Jake LaMotta, Robert de Niro had won a Hollywood Oscar for the best actor.