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The Mafia's Grip on Boxing: Jake LaMotta's Fight for Redemption

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The Mafia's Grip on Boxing: Jake LaMotta's Fight for Redemption
The Mafia's Grip on Boxing: Jake LaMotta's Fight for Redemption
By Omerta MIA -
By Omerta MIA -  

In 1933, the mafia bosses in the USA faced a major setback with the end of prohibition. They needed a new source of revenue, something lucrative and easily manipulated. Professional boxing presented the perfect opportunity. With just two fighters in each match, it was simple to fix the outcome by convincing one fighter to throw the fight and betting heavily on the other side.


In 1947, the legendary boxer Jake LaMotta found himself entangled in one of these mafia scams before his fight against Billy Fox. LaMotta agreed to intentionally lose the fight, but instead of receiving money in return, he had a much bigger goal in mind.


Leading up to the fight, LaMotta was the clear favorite. He had recently defeated Fritzie Zivic and even secured a victory against Sugar Ray Robinson in 1943. With 19 wins in his last 22 bouts, including 9 knockouts, LaMotta seemed unstoppable.


However, just hours before the fight, the odds suddenly shifted, and Fox became the favorite to win. The odds reached such heights that bookies stopped accepting bets on Fox, leaving only LaMotta as the available option for wagering, just three hours before the match.


If LaMotta intended to throw the fight discreetly, he did a poor job of it. Throughout the match, he appeared off his game and lacked his usual fighting spirit. In the fourth round, he allowed Fox to land several punches, eventually leading to LaMotta hitting the ropes. Fox continued to dominate the round without much resistance from LaMotta. Towards the end of the fourth round, the referee decided to stop the match, declaring Fox the winner via knockout.


Following Fox's relatively easy victory, suspicions arose within the boxing community. Fans noticed that LaMotta didn't perform like his usual self, lacking the usual drive and effort to win. The New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) also took note of this unusual behavior.


Just a week after the fight, LaMotta faced suspension from the NYSAC. The commission discovered that LaMotta had concealed a spleen condition and had been explicitly advised by doctors not to box. During the extensive questioning that followed, LaMotta remained tight-lipped about the true reason for his loss.


It took 13 years for the truth to finally emerge. In 1960, Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver led several hearings to expose the mafia's influence over professional boxing. LaMotta became the star witness of these hearings.


While on the stand, LaMotta revealed the truth about his involvement in fixing the 1947 fight against Fox. He testified about working with the mob to throw the fight and disclosed his motivations. Surprisingly, LaMotta had paid the mob $20,000 instead of receiving payment from them. His motivation was simple yet profound: LaMotta desperately craved a chance at the middleweight title, a title that had eluded him for five long years. He saw the mob as his ticket to finally achieve his dream.


LaMotta's testimony shed light on the dark underbelly of professional boxing and the power the mafia held over the sport. It was a shocking revelation that exposed corruption and manipulation within the ring. While the truth may have taken years to come to light, it served as a turning point in the ongoing battle against organized crime's grip on professional sports.


Today, the story of Jake LaMotta serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the dangers of greed and the consequences of succumbing to the temptations of the underworld. It serves as a reminder that the pursuit of greatness should always be grounded in integrity and fair play.

In 1933, the mafia bosses in the USA faced a major setback with the end of prohibition. They needed a new source of revenue, something lucrative and easily manipulated. Professional boxing presented the perfect opportunity. With just two fighters in each match, it was simple to fix the outcome by convincing one fighter to throw the fight and betting heavily on the other side.


In 1947, the legendary boxer Jake LaMotta found himself entangled in one of these mafia scams before his fight against Billy Fox. LaMotta agreed to intentionally lose the fight, but instead of receiving money in return, he had a much bigger goal in mind.


Leading up to the fight, LaMotta was the clear favorite. He had recently defeated Fritzie Zivic and even secured a victory against Sugar Ray Robinson in 1943. With 19 wins in his last 22 bouts, including 9 knockouts, LaMotta seemed unstoppable.


However, just hours before the fight, the odds suddenly shifted, and Fox became the favorite to win. The odds reached such heights that bookies stopped accepting bets on Fox, leaving only LaMotta as the available option for wagering, just three hours before the match.


If LaMotta intended to throw the fight discreetly, he did a poor job of it. Throughout the match, he appeared off his game and lacked his usual fighting spirit. In the fourth round, he allowed Fox to land several punches, eventually leading to LaMotta hitting the ropes. Fox continued to dominate the round without much resistance from LaMotta. Towards the end of the fourth round, the referee decided to stop the match, declaring Fox the winner via knockout.


Following Fox's relatively easy victory, suspicions arose within the boxing community. Fans noticed that LaMotta didn't perform like his usual self, lacking the usual drive and effort to win. The New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) also took note of this unusual behavior.


Just a week after the fight, LaMotta faced suspension from the NYSAC. The commission discovered that LaMotta had concealed a spleen condition and had been explicitly advised by doctors not to box. During the extensive questioning that followed, LaMotta remained tight-lipped about the true reason for his loss.


It took 13 years for the truth to finally emerge. In 1960, Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver led several hearings to expose the mafia's influence over professional boxing. LaMotta became the star witness of these hearings.


While on the stand, LaMotta revealed the truth about his involvement in fixing the 1947 fight against Fox. He testified about working with the mob to throw the fight and disclosed his motivations. Surprisingly, LaMotta had paid the mob $20,000 instead of receiving payment from them. His motivation was simple yet profound: LaMotta desperately craved a chance at the middleweight title, a title that had eluded him for five long years. He saw the mob as his ticket to finally achieve his dream.


LaMotta's testimony shed light on the dark underbelly of professional boxing and the power the mafia held over the sport. It was a shocking revelation that exposed corruption and manipulation within the ring. While the truth may have taken years to come to light, it served as a turning point in the ongoing battle against organized crime's grip on professional sports.


Today, the story of Jake LaMotta serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the dangers of greed and the consequences of succumbing to the temptations of the underworld. It serves as a reminder that the pursuit of greatness should always be grounded in integrity and fair play.

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