By Bob Diamond….
My good friend Joey La Motta recently told me a heretofore unrevealed true story involving his brother Jake “Raging Bull” La Motta, one of the world’s greatest middleweight fighters in the 1940-50 era. The fight on May 4, 1950 in Syracuse, New York was intended as an easy tune up for Jake against contender Joe Taylor. Provided he defeated Taylor, Jake was scheduled to fight a few months later for the World Middleweight Title. A loss to Taylor could have prevented Jake from ever getting another shot at the title. Joey, a former excellent fighter in his own right, was Jake’s manager and in his corner that night in Syracuse.
The Taylor fight was not going as planned. Perhaps Jake and Joey had taken Taylor too lightly, but going into the 9th round, Taylor had the edge. With a longer reach and continual jabs, Taylor kept Jake away from him round after round. Jake became frustrated, wildly throwing punches. Suddenly, Jake got Taylor in the corner and started pummeling him with blows to his body. Taylor started to sag just as Joey saw the timekeeper raise the hammer to end the round. Jake needed a little time. That came from Joey, who suddenly threw his body over the bell, yelling to Jake to knock him out, while the timekeeper tried to pull Joey off the bell. The timekeeper called the security guard for help. The more the two men pulled, the more Joey resisted. The extra thirty seconds was all Jake needed before the timekeeper was finally able to ring the bell. Taylor staggered to his corner, unable to defend himself in the 10th round. Jake was declared the winner while Joey was suspended by the Boxing Commission for five years. A few months later, Jake fought and won the World Middleweight Championship title.
The 1980 film “Raging Bull” was selected as the best picture of the decade. Robert DeNiro, playing Jake, won the best actor award. Joey’s role was played by Joe Pesci. It might be fascinating to see a movie sequel entitled, “The Brother of the Raging Bull.”