'Raging Bull' boxer Jake LaMotta dies at 95

'Raging Bull' boxer Jake LaMotta dies at 95

'Raging Bull' boxer Jake LaMotta dies at 95

The boxer's life was immortalized in two films, including Martin Scorsese's 1980 "Raging Bull", in which he was portrayed by Robert DeNiro.

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Jake LaMotta, a brawling middleweight champion whose epic battles with Sugar Ray Robinson defined non-heavyweight boxing in the 1940s and early '50s, has died, his fiancee said Wednesday.

"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 is survived by his fiancé Denise Baker, her daughters Meggen Connolley and Natalia Baker; his daughters Jacklyn O'Neill, Christie LaMotta, Elisa LaMotta, and Mia Day; brothers Joe LaMotta and Al LaMotta; sisters Maria Hawfield and Anne Ramaglia. In 1990, it was named to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, which honors works that are considered "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". "We had six fights and I am the first one to beat him, so that's my greatest memory", LaMotta said. In addition, he introduced a food products line, starring LaMotta's Tomatta Sauce, and, with Joseph Carter and Peter Savage, wrote his "Raging Bull" autobiography, later serving as coach and advisor to Robert De Niro, who played LaMotta in the movie.

"If the fight had gone another 20 seconds, Sugar Ray would have collapsed from hitting me so much", LaMotta quipped about the 14th-round stoppage decades later, but the press deemed it a "blood-letting fight". The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, tying the record that year, with De Niro winning Best Actor and Thelma Schoonmaker nabbing a Best Film Editing Oscar. However, his eldest son, Jake LaMotta Jr, died of liver cancer in February 1998, and his youngest son, Joseph LaMotta, died in September that year in the crash of Swissair Flight 111.

In 1949, he became middleweight champion when Marcel Cerdan could not continue after the 10th round.

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

"He grew up in poverty on New York's Lower East Side". LaMotta turned pro as a teenager at age 19.

After the fight, a battered LaMotta told Robinson, "I didn't go down". She died in 2005 at age 75.

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