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'Raging Bull' boxer Jake LaMotta dies aged 95

Robert De Niro released a statement on LaMotta’s death.

Robert DeNiro and boxer Jake LaMotta stand for photographers before watching a 25th anniversary screening of the movie Raging Bull in New York in 2005.
Robert DeNiro and boxer Jake LaMotta stand for photographers before watching a 25th anniversary screening of the movie Raging Bull in New York in 2005.
Image: AP

BOXER JAKE LAMOTTA, the former world middleweight boxing champion who was portrayed in the Martin Scorcese film Raging Bull, has died at age 95, his family announced today.

LaMotta, known for a legendary six-fight rivalry with Sugar Ray Robinson over 1942-1951, passed away yesterday, his daughter Christi LaMotta said on Facebook.

Robert De Niro, who played LaMotta in the film, issued a statement which read: “Rest in Peace, Champ.”

The Bronx Bull, as he was known in his fighting days, compiled an 83-19-4 record with 30 knockouts, in a career that began in 1941 and ended in 1954.

LaMotta fought the great Sugar Ray Robinson six times, handing Robinson the first defeat of his career and losing the middleweight title to him in a storied match.

In the fight before he lost the title, LaMotta saved the championship in movie-script fashion against Laurent Dauthuille. Trailing badly on all three scorecards, LaMotta knocked out the challenger with 13 seconds left in the fight.

LaMotta threw a fight against Billy Fox, which he admitted in testimony before the Kefauver Committee, a US Senate committee investigating organised crime in 1960.

“I purposely lost a fight to Billy Fox because they promised me that I would get a shot to fight for the title if I did,” LaMotta said in 1970 interview printed in Peter Heller’s 1973 book In This Corner: 40 World Champions Tell Their Stories.

LaMotta was “stopped” by Fox in the fourth round in 1947, in Madison Square Garden. He didn’t get a title shot until 10 fights later.

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