Former boxing champion Jake LaMotta died on Tuesday at the age of 95. According to the Associated Press, which confirmed the boxer’s death with fiancee Denise Baker, LaMotta endured “complications of pneumonia” and died in a Miami-area hospital.
LaMotta, born on July 10th, 1921, competed in 106 professional bouts during his illustrious boxing career, going 83-19-4. He had several noteworthy moments during his 13-year run inside the ring before his final contest in 1954. LaMotta fought Hall of Fame boxer Sugar Ray Robinson an astounding six different times, handing the legendary fighter his first boxing loss in one of his crowning moments.
LaMotta was also involved in a moment of high controversy in 1947, when he admittedly threw a fight against Billy Fox for a fourth-round TKO defeat. He later revealed he was promised a championship fight if he ensured the result didn’t go his way. However, his first crack at the belt didn’t come until nearly two years later.
LaMotta’s style of being willing to take two punches in order to give one of his own led him to many exciting fights. He won his first major boxing championship in June 1949, with his reign lasting until February 1951. He eventually dropped the belt to Robinson in their first meeting before taking them back with a stunning win in the rematch.
LaMotta’s career was depicted in the 1980 film Raging Bull which was based off one of his memoirs and featured Robert De Niro playing the role of LaMotta. “Rest in peace, champ,” De Niro said in a statement. 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.
“Jake LaMotta was a champ,” Scorsese said in a statement. “He was, as they say, larger than life. He lived a tough life, with a lot to overcome, but that’s exactly what he did. I’m glad to have had the chance to know him.”
LaMotta is survived by his four daughters.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) September 20, 2017