Boxer Jake LaMotta died at a nursing home in the United States, his family said on Wednesday. The former world middleweight boxing champion, who was portrayed by Robert De Niro in Raging Bull, was suffering from pneumonia, his wife Denise Baker told ABC News. He was 95.
Based on LaMotta’s 1970 memoir, Raging Bull depicts an emotional fighter struggling with life outside the ring. “I just want people to know, he was a great, sweet, sensitive, strong, compelling man with a great sense of humour, with eyes that danced,” the ABC quoted Baker as saying.
LaMotta first won recognition two years after he started off in the professional boxing circuit when he defeated Sugar Ray Robinson in 1943. He had a reputation for having the strongest chin in the sport. In 1947, he admitted to intentionally losing a fight after being forced by the Mafia, reported BBC. He was later suspended from the sport.
According to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, his career record was 83 wins, 19 losses, four draws, and 30 knockouts. After retiring from the ring in 1954, he acted in films and toured as a stand-up comedian.