To All the Ships at Sea –
After the last half a century I’ve spent several days with Jake LaMotta. He was kind enough to give me an exclusive interview for my documentary film “In This Corner.” Before agreeing to this interview, he turned me down many times. My dear friend Bert Sugar, suggested that I offer him a bottle of wine, a $25 cigar, an autographed photo, and dedicate the film to his two sons that passed, that might work. Well Bert, was right and Jake agreed to the interview. JoAnne and I met Jake at nearby P.J. Clarke’s where we spent the entire afternoon. During the interview Jake was extremely intense and honest. Honest to a point, that I was not comfortable using the whole interview!
I would like to give you a short excerpt from my recent book FILL THE FRAME. Jake and I happened to be sitting together in first class and in front of us was Boxing Promoter Bob Arum and his beautiful wife. As we sat down Jake looked at me and said, “you have a lot of nerve sitting here. You #$@&%* my wife!” He went on to a point where I was getting genuinely concerned. He was deep into his 70’s but probably still could take my head off. I’m a lover not a fighter! Uh oh, I think Jake, would have taken this the wrong way! Luckily Bob Arum turned around in his seat and said, “Jake, Joe D did not screw your wife, he was not old enough to screw your wife and didn’t even know her!” We all laughed and proceed to have our martinis and champagne. That was when first class was first class! Now you’re lucky if you get a warm coke and some dry roasted peanuts. When things finally calmed down I asked him who the greatest fighter was of all time? He looked at me like I had no brain in my head and said, “You have to be kidding, what planet do you live on? There was only one and it was Sugar Ray Robinson.”
Jake had over 100 fights. His career spanned over 13 years. He fought the greatest boxer of all times Sugar Ray Robinson, six times and beat him once. I strongly recommend if anyone in heaven, runs into Jake you treat him with the utmost respect. Stay far enough away so that he can’t hit you with a combination because if he hits you, you will wind up in hell!