Boxer Jake LaMotta, inspiration for 'Raging Bull,' dies at 95


LaMotta, who was portrayed on film by Robert De Niro in the 1980 Martin Scorsese masterpiece Raging Bull (see link below), died this week at age 95.

De Niro told Fox News of LaMotta's passing, "Rest in peace, champ". LaMotta was a middleweight who was very hard to beat (unless you were Sugar Ray Robinson, who was 5-1 against LaMotta).

Born in New York City in 1922, LaMotta took up fighting in 1941 after he was rejected for military service due to a medical issue.

"I fought Sugar Ray so many times I'm surprised I didn't get diabetes", LaMotta later joked about their rivalry, per Sports Illustrated.

From left to right, Robert DeNiro, Cathy Moriarty, LaMotta and Martin Scorsese pose for photographers at a 25th anniversary screening of Raging Bull, on January 27, 2005. He won the world middleweight championship, and in 1990 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Allegro's father, a singer in the 1950s who hung around with other entertainers and big-time boxers of the day, knew LaMotta, he said.

"I'm no angel", he said in a 2005 interview with The Associated Press.

More news: WWI Soldiers May Have Been Found in North Sea

LaMotta was in his 90s when he took the stage for a poorly reviewed cabaret-style show based on his life and co-starring seventh wife Baker, recalling highlights from his career and reciting Marlon Brando's "I coulda been a contender" monologue from the movie "On the Waterfront".

H wrote a memoir, "Raging Bull: My Story", in 1970, which later became an Academy Award-winning film adaption starring Robert De Niro.

LaMotta's first fight against Robinson was on October 10, 1942, and Robinson won a 10-round unanimous decision.

Their last fight on February 14, 1951 became known as the sport's version of the Valentine's Day Massacre, and Robinson earned a technical knockout in 13 rounds while LaMotta was clinging to the ropes. LaMotta took a beating during the fight, which was eventually stopped by technical knockout in the 13th round, but was never knocked down. It vividly depicts LaMotta's struggles in his career, as well as some of the domestic violence that the boxer has admitted to perpetrating. "As I dug deeper, I realized a lot of it is different [from "Raging Bull"]".

LaMotta's career spanned decades and included various victories and prestigious titles, including a world title, which he obtained after defeating Marcel Cerdan in 1949.

LaMotta was married six times, most famously to Beverly "Vikki" Thailer.