When I arrived in New York I called 'The Bronx Bull' on July 3rd 2007. The approximate time was about 9:35am. I tried to refresh his memory that when I got to N.Y. we'd play it by ear to see when we could make arrangements for me to meet him. Well, it didn't work the way I planned it because he didn't remember saying that he'd meet me for an interview. I was losing hope in that moment in time. He only wanted to talk over the phone. (That was cool of him. Better than nothing.) So I tried to remember any of the questions off from the top of my head that I'd had carefully written on paper, which was still packed in my suitcase. I also tried to remember the order that I asked these questions.
In case you are wondering who I'm referring about? The Bronx Bull is none other than Jake Lamotta, the former middleweight champion of the world from 1949-1951. You know him from his life story turned into a motion picture hit called 'Raging Bull.' Yes folks! He's still around and as fiesty as ever. My long time hero and we still keep in contact till this day. He just turned 86 years old in July and his senses are sharp. The conversation lasted nine minutes. It went along the lines like this...Enjoy!
ME. Hello champ, this is ???? from Los Angeles. I'm here in New York and you told me we'd play it by ear when I came so we can meet and talk for a little while.
JAKE. I don't remember saying that. Who is this again?
ME. I'm ???? from Los Angeles and we spoke over the phone a couple of times and you told me that when I came to N.Y. we'd play it by ear to meet up. So here I am.
JAKE. I can't meet anybody right now. I'll talk to you over the phone.
ME. Oh. Ok.
JAKE. What do you wanna know?
ME. Why didn't you ever fight Tony Zale?
JAKE. He didn't wanna fight me. He avoided me. He was scared to fight me.
ME. I heard that Rocky Graziano avoided you too.
JAKE. Yeah, he broke his hand by hitting a tree so he wouldn't have to fight me.
ME. You were champ from 1949 till 1951?
JAKE. Yeah, that's right.
ME. How long were you number 1 contender?
JAKE. 5 years.
ME. what years were you number 1 contender?
JAKE. 5 years before I was champ. From 1945 till I became champ.
ME. That's a long time to be number 1
ME. Rocky Graziano had a second chance to fight for the middleweight title. How come you didn't get a second chance?
JAKE. I couldn't make the weight. I always had a hard time making the 160lbs weight limit.
ME. You know, I have a picture of you and Rocky Graziano signing a contract for the fight that never came about.
JAKE. (Silent) Instead I fought a frenchman by the name of MarcelCerdan and I beat him for the title. And also fought another frenchman,Laurent Dauthuille and I knocked him out in the 15th round with 13 seconds left
on the clock. I was very lucky to win that fight.
ME. That's some good piece of history champ.
JAKE. I fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times and the last time was Febuary 14th 1951 and it was called the St. Valentines Massacre.
ME. Yeah, I'm aware of that champ. I've seen that fight a bunch of times. I enjoy watching your fights very much.
JAKE. God gifted me with a hard head. I fought Sugar Ray Robinson so many times I didn't get diabetes.
ME. Haha. I know that joke champ. My favorite is the one when you say Vikki couldn't find anything to wear and then you went over to the closet and said look at all these dresses. Red dresses. Blue dresses. 'Hello rocky!'
JAKE. Oh you know that one!
ME. Yeah, I know a lot of your jokes champ.
ME. Didn't you throw a fight to get a shot at the title.
JAKE. Yeah, I testified for the kefauver commitee. What else you wanna know?
ME. This is really good stuff you're telling me. I wish I can meet you and put it on camera.
JAKE. No I can't meet anybody right now cause it annoys me.
ME. I understand champ.
JAKE. Well, I talked to ya long enough. Thank you. God bless.
ME. Have a great day champ. Thank you.
Copyright © 2010 'Mean' Mike Duffau
My New York Trip To Meet The Bronx Bull
Copyright © 2010 'Mean' Mike Duffau
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