Jake LaMotta made a surprise 11th hour appearance in the semifinal round of the eWBSS (World Boxing Super Series) Middleweight Legends tournament, though the shakeup didn’t at all deter ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson. The man hailed by many as the greatest ever in boxing history soars into the finals after scoring a mercilessly one-sided 7th round knockout Friday afternoon at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Robinson scored four knockdowns against the historically granite-chinned LaMotta, the last of which put him down and out midway through round seven.
LaMotta barely allowed the wounds to heal from a narrow points loss to Carlos Monzon less than 24 hours ago when he got the call to fill a void in the semifinals. The squat former middleweight champion from The Bronx was a late replacement for Marvelous Marvin Hagler, whom stopped Kelly Pavlik in the quarterfinals but withdrew from his clash with Robinson due to unforeseen circumstances.
Multiple sources have informed BoxingScene.com of an alleged game licensing dispute with Hagler’s team which led to his abrupt tournament departure.
Nevertheless, it set the stage for Robinson and LaMotta to reignite their previous six-fight series which spanned more than eight years. Part seven picked up where Robinson left off in the 1951 St. Valentine’s Day massacre, picking apart his longtime rival and opening a cut under his right eye by the end of round one. LaMotta refused to fight in reverse, living up to his Bronx Bull nickname as he continued to charge forward—often without any regard for defense.
It caught up to him in the worst way.
LaMotta’s historic cry of “Ya never got me down, Ray” was disproven in round five and three more times thereafter. Robinson was relentless in his attack, his blinding speed overwhelming LaMotta before a picture perfect left hook to the body sent him to the canvas late in the frame.
A far more potent right hand put LaMotta flat on his back midway through round six, though once again beating the count. Robinson continued to pick him apart at will, setting traps along the ropes and then unlading with right hands and left hooks upstairs.
The damage was well reflected on the face of LaMotta, sporting cuts above both cheeks and his left eye nearly swollen shut. Robinson treated the wound like target practice, landing right hands and willing LaMotta to the canvas roughly one minute into round nine.
LaMotta barely made it to his feet at the count of nine, but was better off remaining on the canvas. Robinson sent him down mere seconds later, this time for good as he soars into the championship bracket.
Robinson—who claimed five wins in their six-fight series in real life—was ahead 60-52 on all three scorecards, and will benefit from a full day without contact as opposed to whom he will face in the final round.
Awaiting the former welterweight and middleweight king is whomever prevails on Saturday between Monzon and Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright. The winners of each semifinal bout will advance to Sunday’s finale.
Friday’s simulated bout streamed live on WBSS’s social media channel, which will carry the entire middleweight tournament.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox