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Gong final for Jake LaMotta, legend boxer

Ⓒ Getty/AFP/Archives – Theo Wargo – | Jake LaMotta, legendary boxing champion, during a charity evening, September 24, 2012 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York

His name alone was enough to evoke a golden age of the rings, where the gloves were black and the TVs not yet in color, where the first fights were held in unsafe streets: legendary boxer Jake LaMotta died.

The man who inspired the film “Raging Bull” by filmmaker Martin Scorsese died Tuesday at the age of 95 years of complications of pneumonia, in his retirement home in Florida, announced his wife at TMZ site.

“Rest in peace, Pap,” wrote Facebook Christi LaMotta on Wednesday, the daughter of the former world middleweight champion from 1949 to 1951.

Jake LaMotta was a pure product of the popular New York, immigrants and mafia, trams emerging from the smoke, slums populated by kids whose idols were respected with their fists.

He was nicknamed the “Taurus of the Bronx”, in reference to his power and the neighborhood where he was born, under the name of Giacobbe La Motta, of parents of Italian origin.

This is where little Jake exchanged his first direct, hooks and uppercuts, that he collected his first blues, during a rough childhood that saw him go through a house of correction.

Costaud, a wiry, always positioned low, Jake LaMotta builds its reputation on its ability to cash in the violent blows and the aggressiveness of its counters. Even if he loses he does not fall. The KO he does not know. And so much the worse if it ends the face exploded like a watermelon, his chin of steel holds good.

His first great feat was to beat Sugar Ray Robinson on February 5, 1943, for whom it was his first defeat. Other great fights between LaMotta and Robinson have marked the story.

– Pride and Gangsters –

At the time boxing is one of the most popular sports in the US, so popular that it attracts the middle figures who struggle to control encounters, place their foals or falsify matches.

For years, Jake LaMotta refused to compromise with the mobsters, even if it cost him opportunities to shine. Then he yielded at least once, losing voluntarily a match in 1947 for rigged bets. He received a suspension of several months.

Two years later, he knows the glory: he wins the world title of the means by beating the Frenchman Marcel Cerdan in Detroit.

This meeting of June 16, 1949 is generally considered to deserve to be included in the “fighting of the century”: Cerdan had put back his world title of the middle weights, but had dislocated the left shoulder from the second recovery and had resigned to give up in the 9th round.

The expected revenge will never take place, Cerdan being killed in a plane crash over the Azores archipelago.

– Brandy for a massacre –

Without the French, it is against Robinson that LaMotta delivers Homeric duels, like that of February 14, 1951 in Chicago where he climbs into the ring after having swallowed a few sips of brandy to boost their courage.

LaMotta ends up defeated in the ropes, face boiled, but without going to the ground. The fight will be called the “Valentine’s Massacre”.

His personal life will have the same fits of rage and passion, grandeur and pathos. Patron of discotheque, he will be sent to prison after the arrest of a minor prostitute in his establishment. Detained in isolation, he will break the phalanges against the wall of his cell.

He will recount his agitated life in his memoirs baptized “Raging Bull”. A life also immortalized in 1980 on the big screen. By playing Jake LaMotta, Robert de Niro had won the Oscar for best actor in Hollywood.

“Rest in peace, champion”, launched on Wednesday the actor.

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