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A Look Back at The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
By Vito Trabucco (April 7, 2004) 
Jake LaMotta
The date was February 14th 1951. The site Chicago, Illinois. Down 4-1 in the series, the 3 ½ - 1 underdog, and Champion, Jake LaMotta comes out charging the favorite, Sugar Ray Robinson as soon as referee Frank Sykora called the opening bell. This was the sixth and final bout between Detroit’s favorite son and the “Bronx Bull”. This was a night that would be forever known as “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”.

Ray Robinson brought to the table his unbelievable record of 122-1, 78 KO’s. To this LaMotta replied, “I beat him before and I’ll finish it up tonight”. There was no love loss between these two great warriors. Neither fighter knowing it, they were both offered a chance to fight 175 pound Champion Joey Maxim if they won.

Ray wanted Maxim. He wanted a shot at the light heavyweight prize so he had to get Jake out of there early. The only problem was that LaMotta had no intentions of going quietly. Jake never went down.

In typical fashion, the first three rounds Robinson used Lamotta’s head for target practice. Jake was surprised how quick Robinson looked. Robinson was surprised he couldn’t floor the champion.

Robinson picked up the pace even more in the fifth landing numerous left uppercuts. Jake never went down though to the frustration of Robinson who began landing his overhand right. In the seventh round it appeared that Sugar Ray was about to mop up the pesky champion.

The “Raging Bull” decided to stick around though. Later, LaMotta admitted he was out of gas by the tenth. His corner knew Jake though. They knew that there was no way that they can stop this fight. This one was going to be on Jake’s own terms. I’m really not sure what keeps a fighter from going down. And I really don’t know what kept LaMotta off of the canvas his whole career. You can’t train greatness. LaMotta and Robinson were just born that way.

The beating continued to the 12th. It seemed that referee Frank Sykora was just as afraid of Jake as his corner was because at the end of the 12th Sugar Ray opened up with an enormous barrage. The bell sounds and Ray is in shock that Jake is still standing.

Although Jake was a respected warrior in the ring, Sykora couldn’t bare to see anymore and called a stop to the contest at 2:04 of the 13th round. Jake absorbed more punishment than any fighter I’ve ever seen to date.

To me, it was the greatest middleweight title fight we ever had. It also had two definitive moments of each boxer’s career. Sugar Ray Robinson was again Middleweight Champion of the World. And for Jake LaMotta, well, he never went down.

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