History | Jul 10 2019

On This Day: Jake LaMotta was born

James Slater pays tribute to Jake LaMotta the 'Bronx Bull'
Jake LaMotta

BOXING legend and former middleweight king Jake LaMotta was born on July 10, 1922. Hardened on the mean streets of The Bronx in New York, “The Raging Bull”, who retired from the ring with an astonishing 83-19-4(30) record in April of 1954, outlived his famous ring rivals by a considerable amount of time by the time he passed away aged 95 on September 19, 2017.

The sublime Sugar Ray Robinson had been gone for a quarter of a century, Frenchman Laurent Dauthuille, against whom Jake scored that flabbergasting, come-from-behind, last 13-seconds of the 15th-round KO, passed away back in 1971. Tony Janiro, the good looking kid Jake busted up (as immortalised in the classic movie starring Robert De Niro – “well, he ain’t good looking any more”) left us in 1985. And the list goes on.

Blessed with one of the hardest, most durable chins in all of boxing, Jake took everything his opponents could dish out. Rarely has a stronger man – mentally or physically – stepped into the ring. Turning pro in March of 1941, with a 4-round points win over Charley Mackley, LaMotta soon earned himself a reputation as a no-nonsense tough guy. Amazingly, Jake fought 20 times in his debutant year alone! The following year, in October, LaMotta faced “Sugar” Ray for the first time, losing a decision to the 35-0 master. Four months later the two met again, with Jake turning the tables on Ray, winning a 10-round decision of his own, thus ruining Robinson’s perfect (40-0) ledger. A genuinely fierce ring rivalry was born.