DAA Daily

Sugar VS Stone: Boxing’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

By Krishna Kosaraju, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint

In a brutal world middleweight title fight on February 14th, 1951, Jake LaMotta (29) served as Sugar Ray Robinson’s (30) bloody Valentine, hence the appropriate name it was given. With six fights between them in nine years, the two boxers had one of the sport’s most intense rivalries. Robinson is still regarded as the greatest boxer to have ever laced up a pair of gloves, while LaMotta, also known as the Bronx Bull, was known for being tough as nails and a pure brawler inside the ring.

Because of the brutal beating LaMotta received in the closing rounds of the fight, it was given the moniker “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.” The war was named after and served as an homage to the real St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, which consisted of a shootout between gangsters Al Capone and Bugs Moran in 1929. It resulted in seven people being killed by bullets, leaving blood all over a white wall in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

Thousands of people packed Chicago Stadium, and millions more watched on home television, a new and popular technology of the time. They had all witnessed a battle to remember. This was LaMotta’s last hurrah, and he knew it. While Robinson fought for another fourteen years, Jake’s fighting style demanded a shorter career – too many brutal wars, too much wear, and tear. The 160-pound weight limit was a nightmare; he had to lose at least four pounds the day before the competition.

LaMotta fought back fiercely in the fourth round after holding his own during the first three rounds, but the quick-thinking Robinson deftly sidestepped LaMotta’s ferocious two-handed body attacks. After enduring a bruising two-handed barrage in rounds seven and eight, Robinson cut LaMotta’s eye in the ensuing session with a ferocious counterattack to the head and torso. The champion at the time, LaMotta, attempted another desperate break in the eleventh, but Robinson’s cool, excellent shielding and countering turned LaMotta’s attempts into erratic, fruitless bursts.

LaMotta took a very horrible beating in round thirteen. The champion had no chance of winning, as was obvious to everyone, yet he stubbornly refused to lose despite enduring what seemed like an endless string of Robinson’s finest punches. LaMotta was taking clean, vicious blows that would have knocked out any other middleweight on the earth as he wobbled around, unable to hold his hands up anymore, and the referee didn’t seem to want to stop it. The referee didn’t intervene and raise Robinson’s hand until after a flush right hand nearly severed Jake’s head and ringside authorities announced that the onslaught had reached its conclusion.

LaMotta was never the same, never fought for a world title again, and retired three years later. On the other hand, this was Robinson’s first middleweight title, which he would win four more times over the next nine years before eventually retiring in 1965 as the greatest pound-for-pound boxer in the sport’s history.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: