Jake La Motta, ‘Raging Bull’ in and out of the ring, dies at 95

Jake LaMotta, boxing’s “Raging Bull,” who brawled his way to the middleweight boxing championship in a life of unbridled fury within the ring and outside it, and whose life became the subject of an acclaimed film, died Tuesday in Miami. He was 95.

Jake LaMotta, boxing’s “Raging Bull,” who brawled his way to the middleweight boxing championship in a life of unbridled fury within the ring and outside it, and whose life became the subject of an acclaimed film, died Tuesday in Miami. He was 95.

His fiancée of 25 years, Denise Baker, said he died of dysphagia pneumonia at Palm Garden Nursing Home, where he had been admitted for hospice care recently.

A “good-for-nothing bum kid” with a terrible temper, as he later described himself, Mr. LaMotta learned to box in an upstate New York reformatory, where he had been sent for attempted burglary. After going undefeated as an amateur after his release, he turned pro in 1941 and unleashed his enmity on dozens of ring opponents.

He ultimately became a pop-culture symbol of rage when the director Martin Scorsese told his story in his 1980 film “Raging Bull,” based on Mr. LaMotta’s 1970 memoir of the same title, written with Joseph Carter and Peter Savage. Robert De Niro won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Mr. LaMotta.

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Mr. LaMotta was able to absorb a flurry of punches only to unload a more brutal barrage on an opponent. He would, as he wrote in his memoir, “charge out of the corner, punch, punch, punch, never give up, take all the punishment the other guy could hand out but stay in there, slug and slug and slug.”

Ray Arcel, one of boxing’s most renowned trainers, said of Mr. LaMotta, “When he was in the ring, it was like he was in a cage fighting for his life.”

Best remembered for his six bouts with Sugar Ray Robinson, Mr. LaMotta won 83 fights (30 by knockouts), lost 19 (including a “fix” to which he belatedly confessed), and had four draws. He captured the middleweight championship in June 1949, stopping the titleholder, Marcel Cerdan, and was knocked down only once in his 106 fights.

Scorsese made his film long after Mr. LaMotta had squandered his money — he said he made $1 million in the ring — and had gone through a series of stormy marriages, been sent to prison once more and ballooned into obesity.

“I would think that Jake thinks it’s a movie about himself,”…

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