Boxing History: July 10, 1922 Jake LaMotta born Giacobe LaMotta.
Nicknamed “The Bronx Bull” and “The Raging Bull”, is an American former world middleweight champion boxer who was famously portrayed by Robert De Niro in the film Raging Bull. LaMotta was born on the lower east side of Manhattan on July 10th, 1922 at 1st Ave. and 10th street to parents of italian heritage. He was forced by his father into fighting other children to entertain neighborhood adults, who threw pocket change into the ring. LaMotta’s father collected the money and used it to help pay the rent. In 1941, at the age of 19, LaMotta turned professional.
LaMotta, who compiled a record of 83 wins, 19 losses and four draws with 30 wins by way of knockout, was the first man to beat Sugar Ray Robinson, knocking him down in the first round of their first fight and then out pointing him over the course of 10 rounds during the second fight of their legendary six-bout rivalry.
Jake LaMotta has 6 children, four daughters and two sons. He remains active on the speaking and autograph circuit, and has published several books about his career, his life, and his fights with Robinson. He is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and was ranked 52nd on Ring Magazine’s 80 Greatest Fighters of The Past 80 Years. The magazine also ranked him as one of the 10 greatest middleweights of all time.
Jake LaMotta currently lives in New York City, Florida and Arizona with his fiance Denise Baker.
Jake LaMotta: What I’ve Learned
The first boxer to beat Sugar Ray Robinson, LaMotta was World Middleweight Champion from 1949 to 1951. Last July, he starred in a biographical off-Broadway show, Lady and the Champ.
Published in the January 2013 issue of ESQUIRE
Interviewed November 6, 2012
Every day is great — it’s a day extra.
Fighting is all I ever knew. I started out at seven, fighting in the street, fighting to give a few bucks to my father to help pay the rent. You fight to get what you want.
I told the producer that I wanted to play myself in the movie. Raging Bull. The producer said, “Jake, you’re not the type.” Good thing there’s a Robert De Niro.
Most people aren’t good or bad. They’re naive.
I was able to convince my body that I could take it and nobody could hurt me. I might’ve gotten cut, stitches over my eyes. Broken nose. Broken hands. But I never really got hurt.
I fought Sugar Ray Robinson so many times, it’s a wonder I don’t have diabetes.
Sugar Ray was the greatest fighter who ever lived. He had more than a hundred fights without a loss. I was the first to beat him. We fought six times. You don’t fight six times unless they’re close.
Lot of guys can take punches. The idea is not to take unnecessary punishment. I explain taking a punch this way: In baseball, when someone throws a hardball at you and you don’t have a glove, if you want to catch it, your palm moves back with the ball at the last second. That slight movement saves you from taking a hard blow. If you move the same way when a fist comes at you, it takes away more than 50 percent of the power. The secret is to move with the punch.
Fear is unnecessary.
I wasn’t getting hurt like people thought I was. If I was, I wouldn’t be talking to you coherently.
I’m ninety and I’m still doing pretty good. There’s an old saying that when you get old, you can’t function. That’s baloney. If you’ve got a beautiful, lovely, gorgeous wife and she loves you and you love her, then it’s only natural.
Most of the time husbands and wives argue about stupid, foolish things. If it doesn’t mean that much to you, give in to your wife. If you don’t give in, you’re giving in to not having sex.
When you finally analyze the whole situation, you realize the arguments were stupid in the first place.
You’re the uncrowned champ when nobody wants to fight you.
You’re forced to learn whether you want to or not.
It’s always nice to be nice. I never thought I would say that. But it came out.
If you break your hand, try not to think about it — just go forward. I never knew how to go backward. The way I saw it, the best defense is a great offense.
What happens happens when you least expect it.
I shadowbox a lot. Not every day. But often. Keep your blood circulating. The more the blood circulates, the better you’re gonna feel and the healthier you’re gonna be. That’s all there is to it.
There’s nothing you can do about bad things that already happened. People can think too much of the past. The past is all over. Kiss it goodbye and stay in the present. Why think of bad things when you can think of good things?
Go to P.J. Clarke’s and order a Cadillac. It may not be on the menu like that. But the old-timers will remember. It’s a bacon cheeseburger.
I don’t hear so good. So when I hear something stupid, I act like I didn’t hear it.
Rocky Marciano had a great right hand. But you wouldn’t want to get hit with his left hand, either.
It’s useless to try to spar right now. The guys are always trying to knock your head off.
You can’t trust no one.
I drink a glass of wine every now and then. They tell me it’s good for the heart.
My wife never knew I was a drunk till the night I came home sober. Some jokes come out when I least expect it. When I get the cue, the joke comes out.
I’m ninety. I don’t feel ninety. I feel like I’ve always felt. How can you explain that?
Land a few punches to the body and see what happens.