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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Robinson renders Raging Bull defenseless


Classic Day in History
The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
Feb. 13 at 9 p.m. ET

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the sixth and final battle between Jake LaMotta and Sugar Ray Robinson, ESPN Classic will look back at this storied middleweight battle, which will be shown in its entirety. In a brutal slugfest immortalized in the film, Raging Bull, Robinson wins the middleweight title with a 13th round KO of LaMotta. This Classic Day in History special presentation will be co-hosted by Brian Kenny and Max Kellerman.

Classic moment
Feb. 14, 1951 - In his first 123 fights, Robinson had lost only once, to Jake LaMotta, eight years ago. While Robinson won their four other bouts, they hadn't fought in more than five years when Robinson attempted to take LaMotta's middleweight crown in Chicago Stadium on Valentine's Day.

Sugar Ray was the welterweight champ since 1946 (as well as the Pennsylvania middleweight champ). The first seven rounds were fairly even, with Robinson outboxing and outpunching LaMotta in the early rounds before a resurgent LaMotta came back to score with hard blows to the body and head.

In the eighth round, Robinson took control again -- and this time he didn't let up. It looked like a boxing master against an overeager foe as Sugar Ray battered the Raging Bull around the ring, firing stinging stinging jabs and left hooks mixed with right uppercuts and sharp right crosses.

LaMotta made a final stand in a sizzling 11th round, but Sugar Ray regained control before the bell. "I kept swinging and Jake kept standing," Robinson said. "I didn't think I could knock him out."

He didn't, though he kept hammering away. Finally, at 2:04 of the 13th round, referee Frank Sikora stopped the fight, with LaMotta clutching the top rope and absorbing punch after punch without answering.

The fight, which became known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, ended the series between the two foes with the score: Robinson 5, LaMotta 1.





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