Jake LaMotta The Boxer that Inspired “Raging Bull”

Jake LaMotta © Joe DiMaggio

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!

Jake LaMotta © Joe DiMaggio “In This Corner”

Jake LaMotta © Joe DiMaggio “In This Corner”

Photographer Joe DiMaggio and Heavyweight Boxer Jake LaMotta

Win Number Two for Boxer Khalid Twaiti

To All the Ships At Sea –

Most of you know I have been photographing boxing for a long time.  I also have been working on a film titled IN THIS CORNER and it has been one of my ongoing projects.  Over the years, I have photographed Mohammed Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Arturo Gatti, Gerry Cooney, Larry Holmes, and the list goes on.

While working on my film at Gleason’s I met a young man by the name of Khalid Twaiti over a decade ago. I believe he was 10 or 11 years old at the time.  He had fire in his eyes, passion in his soul and determination in his heart. He is also very bright young man.  Khalid has ten years at Gleason’s with an amazing amateur record.  He has a great trainer by the name of Don Saxby who also has the same passion dedication and heart. Not only is he a great trainer but a surrogate dad in and out of the ring. Khalid’s mom, dad, family, and friends are very much behind him. Put that all in the world’s largest blender and what comes out I believe to be the next lightweight champion of the world –  somewhere maybe between 118 and 127. Khalid will probably need another 36-40 months but will become Champion. There is no doubt in my mind.

Please enjoy the short video and stills from his recent fight in Brooklyn. https://vimeo.com/233877446

Please consider purchasing my book FILL THE FRAME “Recalling My Adventures as a Working Photographer from the 60’s to present day. The book describes his career working for publications such as SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME MAGAZINE, HBO, rapidly followed by a brilliant career in Corporate and Advertising.  It’s also about how photography has evolved over the years.” FILL THE FRAME goes into detail about the many people I have photographed – celebrities, sports figures as well as so many others and his experiences working with them, and the stories behind the photographs.

Book is $20 plus $4 shipping. You can pay by check, paypal or credit card (through Paypal.)  

IN THIS CORNER!

To All the Ships at Sea,

All Photos © Joe DiMaggio

Many of you know that I set out to do a 10 minute video on boxing at Gleason’s Gym about 10-12 years ago. The concept was JoAnne ringside talking about her experiences photographing boxing as a woman, in a man’s sport with a woman’s viewpoint, in at the time a male photographic oriented business.

Well that day turned into the beginning of a long film called In This Corner and it’s been an on-going project ever since. It’s out of pure passion and love for the sport (you also have to know, that I have a love hate relationship with boxing as there are many bad sides of boxing.) Every once in a while you’ll come across a few boxers who make it but the majority of these boxers never actually get from point A to point B.  I had an opportunity to photograph the Terrance Crawford vs. Felix Diaz fight two weeks ago. I made a decision to give up my credentials for the the fight after driving thirteen hours to North Carolina to photograph one of the brightest young boxers by the name of Khalid, one of the protagonists in my film. We worked a 14 hour day and the last fight was supposed to go off at 10 PM but actually started at 12:30AM. We started at 10 in the morning, so by that time, we were seriously dragging ass and one of the corner workers – in  Mr. so-and-so’s corner took objections to our photography position after shooting what 17 fights?  I made a decision that if you have nothing else to do but give us a hard time after just trying to do our job, we’re leaving so we left.  You know what happened?  They got no national exposure because when the digital images were turned into Zuma Press there were no photos of their number one fighter so no publicity. Oh well… I guess that’s the way it goes….

Bert Sugar aka Bert The Great

Good friends try to keep their requests for assistance down to a minimum. Every time I’ve asked Bert Sugar for a favor, he’s always come across. There is an old italian word for bert. He’s a real “Mench” You can tell how good my Italian is. Bert joined me and Dylan yesterday as Gleasons Gym to interview Oscar De La Hoya. Bert being the profesional that he is, made a few executive decisions. We managed to get through the day unscathed and with all of the information we needed for our film “In This Corner”. Oh my God, that’s the name of the blog! What a coincidence! As day was winding into early evening, Bert wanted to go for a cocktail. Anyone who knows Bert, has to get used to three things; his fedora, his cigar, and his double Chivas Regal neat. I’m pretty sure that’s scotch whiskey! So we left Gleason’s and strolled over to a lovely little wine bar, 7 Old Fulton. It was way to early for dinner, and way to late for lunch. It was perfect timing for us to kick back and exchange war stories. Bert just returned from Miami, where he helped our mutual friend Angelo Dundee re-open the 5th Street Gym, after having been closed for 17 years. Boxing is coming back to Miami in a big way.The principles at the restaurant were of Italian heritage from Triest. The decor was beautiful, the food spectacular, and a genuine warm place to go with some friends  for a cocktail and dinner. I affectionally call Bert the “Bertster”, and he calls me Uncle Joe (don’t ask.) It was a great day, a hell of a lotta fun. That’s it, Signing off. – Joe D.

Filmmaker Albert Maysles

 I guess there’s an old adage that the teacher becomes the student. Our son Dylan had a great opportunity 4 years ago. He worked as an intern for Al Maysels. Al is recognized as the father of modern documentary cinematography. His awards are absolutely amazing. When Grey Gardens closed on Broadway, the feature film was a Blockbuster. His original film on Grey Gardens and Salesmen are classic studies made in the way documentaries should be made. I had the pleasure to meet Al a few years ago at a cocktail party and reception.

Being in Al’s presence is being in the presence of greatness. He’s soft spoken, has a very small ego, and is a great talent. He was kind enough to invite me to his home along with my partner JoAnne Kalish and son Dylan to do a one-hour interview on his life and career.

I have very few heroes. One was Gene Smith, who I had the pleasure of assisting back in the day. Al is also a hero of mine. He has been kind enough to help me with my film In This Corner. Just came across a few photos of Al and thought all the Ships at Sea would like to take a look at a photograph of a great filmmaker.

 

 

 

 

Photos © Joe DiMaggio