Giacobbe LaMotta (born July 10, 1921), better known as Jake LaMotta, nicknamed "The Bronx Bull" and "The Raging Bull", is an Italian-American former world middleweight champion boxer who was famously portrayed by Robert De Niro in the film Raging Bull.
LaMotta was born in New York City, in the borough of the Bronx, near the Pelham Parkway and Morris Park area. He was forced by his father into fighting other children to entertain neighborhood adults, who threw pocket change into the ring. LaMotta's father collected the money and used it to help pay the rent.
In 1941, at the age of 19, LaMotta turned professional.
LaMotta, who compiled a record of 83 wins, 19 losses and four draws with 30 wins by way of knockout, was the first man to beat Sugar Ray Robinson, knocking him down in the first round of their first fight and then outpointing him over the course of 10 rounds during the second fight of their legendary six-bout rivalry.
On 14 November 1947, LaMotta was knocked out in four rounds by Billy Fox. Suspecting the fight was fixed, the New York State Athletic Commission withheld purses for the fight and suspended LaMotta. The fight with Fox would come back to haunt LaMotta later in life, during a hearing with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In his testimony and in his later book, LaMotta admitted to throwing the fight in order to gain favor with the Mafia. All involved agreed the fix was obvious and their staging inept. As LaMotta wrote,
The first round, a couple of belts to his head, and I see a glassy look coming over his eyes. Jesus Christ, a couple of jabs and he's going to fall down? I began to panic a little. I was supposed to be throwing a fight to this guy, and it looked like I was going to end up holding him on his feet ... By [the fourth round], if there was anybody in the Garden who didn't know what was happening, he must have been dead drunk."
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