Monday 20 August 2018

Rest in peace, champ: 'Raging Bull' dies at 95

Jake LaMotta (right) fights Marcel Cerdan in Detroit in 1949 to become middleweight champion. Photo: AP
Jake LaMotta (right) fights Marcel Cerdan in Detroit in 1949 to become middleweight champion. Photo: AP
LaMotta with Robert De Niro. Photo: AP

Bill Trott

Jake LaMotta, the former middleweight world champion boxer whose life was depicted by Robert De Niro in the film 'Raging Bull', has died at the age of 95.

His fiancée Denise Baker said LaMotta died on Tuesday at a Florida hospital following complications caused by pneumonia.

The Bronx Bull, as he was known in his fighting days, compiled an 83-19-4 record, with 30 knockouts.

LaMotta fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times between 1942 and 1945, handing Robinson his first defeat in 1943. He lost the middleweight title to him in what became known as the St Valentine's Day Massacre.

In his previous fight, LaMotta saved the championship in movie script fashion against Laurent Dauthuille - trailing badly, he knocked him out with 13 seconds left.

LaMotta admitted he threw a fight against Billy Fox in 1947, in testimony before a US Senate committee. He said he was promised a shot at the title for doing so.

On June 16, 1949, he became middleweight champion when Marcel Cerdan could not continue after the 10th round.

Martin Scorsese's 1980 film 'Raging Bull' was based on LaMotta's memoir.

De Niro won an Academy Award for his gritty portrayal of the fighter.

"Rest in peace, champ," the actor said in a statement last night.

Irish Independent

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