Robert DeNiro, left, and boxer Jake LaMotta together in 2005.
Robert DeNiro, left, and boxer Jake LaMotta together in 2005. JULIE JACOBSON

DeNiro leads tributes to 'Raging Bull' Jake LaMotta

BOXING great Jake LaMotta, who was memorably portrayed by actor Robert DeNiro in the 1980 movie Raging Bull, has died at the age of 95.

"Jake LaMotta July 10, 1922 - September 19, 2017 - Rest in Peace Pop," his daughter Christi wrote on Facebook.

DeNiro, whose portrayal of LaMotta in the 1980's film Raging Bull won him the Best Actor Oscar, led tributes.

"Rest in Peace, Champ," DeNiro said in a statement.

The New York-born Giacobbe "Jake" LaMotta was once world middleweight champion, and was nicknamed "The Raging Bull" for his aggressiveness and toughness in the ring.

LaMotta had some amazing battles, including six fights with fellow legend Sugar Ray Robinson.

 

Jake LaMotta, right, fighting Marcel Cerdan in Briggs Stadium in Detroit in 1949.
Jake LaMotta, right, fighting Marcel Cerdan in Briggs Stadium in Detroit in 1949.

"The three toughest fighters I 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," he once cracked, according to the Financial Times.

He brawled his way to 83 wins - including 30 knockouts - 19 losses and four draws in a career that started when he turned pro at age 19 and lasted until the mid-1950s.

The Ring magazine, known as "The Bible of Boxing," said in 1997 that LaMotta had the best chin in boxing, and he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

After his retirement, he owned and operated several gin mills, and also appeared in more than a dozen films, including a cameo as a bartender in The Hustler, starring Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman.

He also portrayed a gangster in several flicks and on episodes of the antennae-era TV show Car 54, Where are you?

Raging Bull, directed by Martin Scorsese, is considered one of the greatest American movies of all time for DeNiro's gritty portrayal of LaMotta.

News Corp Australia

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