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Giacobbe "Jake" LaMotta was an American professional boxer, former World Middleweight Champion, and standup comedian. Nicknamed "The Raging Bull" LaMotta was born to Italian parents in the Bronx, New York on July 10, 1922. His mother was born in the United States, and his father was an immigrant from Messina. His father forced him to fight other children in order 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. LaMotta was a rough fighter and he had a reputation for being a "bully".
LaMotta was able to absorb incredible amounts of punishment over his career. LaMotta fought Sugar Ray Robinson at Madison Square Garden, New York, October 2, 1942 and he knocked Robinson down in the first round but Robinson took control of the fight winning 10 rounds by unanimous decision. LaMotta stated that the fight was a gift to Robinson because he was inducted into the Army the next day. LaMotta had six fights with Robinson. On February 5, 1943 he had a rematch in Michigan and LaMotta won via unanimous decision, giving Robinson the first defeat of his career.
LaMotta turned professional at the age of 19 in 1941. During World War II he was rejected for military service because of a mastoid operation on one of his ears. LaMotta had 106 fights and 83 wins. He lived a turbulent life, including a spell in a reformatory; he was married seven times. In 1998 he lost two sons - Jake Jr from liver cancer and his younger son Joseph in the crash of SwissAir flight 111. He had four daughters and he married his seventh wife, long time fiancé Denise Baker on January 4, 2013.
LaMotta was portrayed by Robert DeNiro in the 1980 film - Raging Bull. He died September 19, 2017 at the age of 95!