'Raging Bull' boxer Jake LaMotta dies aged 95

Former world middleweight champion Jake LaMotta, whose life inspired the movie 'Raging Bull', has died at the age of 95, his family has announced.

LaMotta's daughter Christi revealed the news in a Facebook post in which she wrote: "My Father, Jake LaMotta July 10, 1922 - September 19th 2017 - Rest In Peace Pop".

LaMotta held the world middleweight title between 1949 and 1951 when he lost it to his great rival Sugar Ray Robinson, against whom he would fight six times.

Jake LaMotta, right, fighting Marcel Cerdan in Briggs Stadium in Detroit in 1949. LaMotta knocked out Cerdan in the tenth round to become the new world middleweight champion. Picture: AP Photo/File

LaMotta's niece Diane Ramaglia Bonita also paid tribute on Facebook, writing: "A legend has just left for heaven. My Uncle and Middleweight Champ, Jake LaMotta, whose life story was portrayed by Oscar Winner, Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull, the longest living prize fighter, died today at the age of 95.

"Out of pain and resting in peace in the loving embrace of our Lord, and forever in my heart, always remembered with loving pride. Rest now Uncle Jake."

Born into abject poverty in New York's Bronx in 1922, LaMotta rose to become one of the most revered fighters in history and was noted for his wild, slugging style.

He fought 106 times in a 13-year career which brought 83 wins and 19 defeats, including the legendary series against Robinson to whom he lost five of their six bouts.

LaMotta was known for his links to the mob and was alleged to have thrown a 1947 fight against Billy Fox in return for getting his title shot against Cerdan two years later.

Outside the ring, LaMotta earned a reputation for thuggery and violence and was accused of beating up at least one of his seven wives.

LaMotta earned new-found fame in 1980 after De Niro's critically acclaimed portrayal of his life in 'Raging Bull'.

He had four daughters and two sons, both deceased, and continued to live in New York, where he owned restaurants and even enjoyed a brief career as a stand-up comedian.

Reflecting on his career, LaMotta once said: "The three toughest fighters I ever fought were Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Robinson. I fought Sugar so many times, I'm surprised I'm not diabetic."


 

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