This year marks the 62nd anniversary of the sixth, and final war between two all time greats in Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake Lamotta. Also known as “The St. Valentines Day Massacre”.
Ray Robinson is widely considered the Greatest of all time by most boxing historians, with his slick style backed up by massive punching ability.
Imagine Muhammed Ali’s speed mixed with Mike Tyson’s power (in the middleweight division) and you have something close to resembling Sugar Ray at his best.
Jake “The Bronx Bull” Lamotta was the polar opposite of Robinson in style. He had limited skills but made of for it with his heart and always come forward to throw punches attitude in the ring. The stylistic differences made the two a match made in heaven.
The five fights prior went 4 wins for Robinson and 1 for Lamotta; this one proved to be the last.
Lamotta was known to balloon to extremely high weights in between fights and had struggled to make the 160 pound limit of the Middleweight Division. He finally made weight but came in sluggish and Robinson exploited this for the duration of the fight.
Lamotta came out strong in the early rounds but began to wear down in the middle of the fight. He gave his final hoo-rah in the 11th but he literally left everything he had in the ring that round. During the 12th it became a bloodied exhibition where Robinson did as he pleased with Lamotta’s inability to defend himself, his face began to look like butchered meat.
Robinson continued to pummel him with continuous combinations but the crowd began to cheer for Lamotta because they could not figure what was keeping this man standing who was so obviously beaten up.
He did not want to give his long time rival the satisfaction of knocking him out, but eventually the referee had to step in and stop it in the 13th round.
Regardless of who won or lost this fight it carried to men into boxing immortality. Both men continued to fight but were never the same.
In retirement Lamotta became extremely unhealthy reaching high weights but he stayed busy as a staple’ around New York’s nightlife in owning a few bars and restaurants. He was later depicted in Scorsese’s film, and portrayed by Robert De Niro.
Robinson’s late career consisted of losses to sub par competition that he would have beaten at a younger age. Finally retiring with a record of 173-19.
He died at the age of 67 from alzheimer’s without a penny left in his bank account.
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