Jake LaMotta, nicknamed “The Bronx Bull” and “The Raging Bull,” is a retired American professional boxer and former World Middleweight Champion. He was portrayed by Robert De Niro in the 1980 film Raging Bull.
LaMotta fought former Welterweight Champion Sugar Ray Robinson in Robinson’s middleweight debut at Madison Square Garden, New York. LaMotta knocked Robinson down in the first round of the fight. Robinson got up and took control over much of the fight, winning via unanimous decision.
A rematch took place months later in Detroit, Michigan. The eighth round was historic. LaMotta landed a right to Robinson’s head and a left to his body, sending him through the ropes. Robinson was saved by the bell at the count of nine. LaMotta, who was already leading on the scorecards before knocking Robinson out of the ring, pummeled and outpointed him for the rest of the fight. Robinson had trouble keeping LaMotta at bay. LaMotta won via unanimous decision, giving Robinson the first defeat of his career.
The victory was short-lived, as the two met again three weeks later, once again in Robinson’s former home of Detroit. Robinson was knocked down for a nine-count count in round seven. Robinson later stated, “He really hurt me with a left in the seventh round. I was a little dazed and decided to stay on the deck.” Robinson won the close fight by decision, utilizing a dazzling left jab and jarring uppercuts.
LaMotta is recognized as having one of the best chins in boxing. He rolled with punches, minimizing their force and damage when they landed, but he was also able to absorb many blows.
In the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, his sixth bout with Robinson, LaMotta suffered numerous severe blows to the head. Commentators could be heard saying, “No man can take this kind of punishment!” But LaMotta did not go down. The fight was stopped by the referee in the 13th round, declaring it a TKO victory for Robinson.