The Bronx native, born on July 10, 1922, took to brawling in the streets of New York as a boy, earning the nickname “The Bronx Bull” for his rough, charging style in the ring.
Jake LaMotta, the former world middleweight boxing champ whose story was turned into the hugely successful Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull, died on Tuesday due to complications from pneumonia. He was 95 years old. His passing was announced by his family on social media, who shared photos and tributes to the boxing great.
LaMotta held the middleweight boxing championship from 1949 to 1951 when he lost it to Sugar Ray Robinson in a grueling battle dubbed ‘The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre’ due to the stunning amount of violence Jake took. LaMotta was renowned for having one of the best chins in the sport, and his fights were often wars of attrition that he would turn into all out brawls. While Robinson beat LaMotta badly towards the end of the fight, LaMotta refused to go down and the fight was stopped in the 13th round by the ref with LaMotta upright against the ropes.
LaMotta finished his boxing career in 1954 with an 83-19 record.
A whole new generation learned of LaMotta’s boxing career through the 1980 film Raging Bull, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert DeNiro. The film, based off LaMotta’s autobiography of the same name, earned DeNiro an Academy Award for Best Actor. A follow up film covering the later events of LaMotta’s life was originally supposed to be called Raging Bull 2, but a lawsuit from MGM forced a change in name to The Bronx Bull, another nickname LaMotta was known as during his days in the ring.
A memorial service will be held in New York, with date and location to be determined.
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