Words By Campbell Moore
Jake LaMotta, New York born and raised boxing legend and the subject of Scorsese’s Oscar-winning Raging Bull, died Tuesday at 95. We at Convicts love nothing more than New York City and making trouble. LaMotta could easily have been our spiritual mascot. Born on the Lower East Side in 1922 and raised in the Bronx, LaMotta embodied the mid-20th century savagery that gave New York its undeniable swagger, work-hard-play-hard reputation, and uncontested sense of superiority.
Like any New York story, LaMotta’s life was full of wins and losses: He learned to fight at a New York reformatory where he was sent for attempted robbery, then launched his professional career when he was released at age nineteen. During his career, he fought one hundred and six fights and was only knocked down once, earning himself the nickname “The Bronx Bull.” The Bull claimed eighty-three wins, married seven wives, the world title, and 6 months in jail. He fixed a fight with a mob for a chance at the world title (which he won), owned multiple nightclubs, wrote several books, trained Robert De Niro to box, was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame, and lived every second of his 95 years as hard as he could.
Rest well, Raging Bull.
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