Jake LaMotta vs. Billy Fox

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Billy Fox vs. Jake LaMotta

1947-11-14 : Jake LaMotta 167 lbs lost to Billy Fox 173¾ lbs by TKO in round 4 of 10

  • Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA
  • Referee: Frank Fullam

Newspaper Reports

"The technical knockout which Billy Fox scored over Jake LaMotta in the fourth round last night caused raised eyebrows in the boxing industry today. Widespread reports of a fix, which received official recognition, robbed, for the time being at least, the glory which naturally would have gone to Fox for becoming the first boxer ever to knock out the tough battler from the Bronx.

There was no question of Fox's victory and the dynamite which the Philadelphia negro packed in his fists. But there were doubting Thomases among the persons who paid to see the bout at Madison Square Garden, for a lot of maneuvering went on before the fighters stepped into the ring. Early in the week there were whispers that the 'fix' was on. Then, late yesterday, after the odds had been 6 to 5 and pick 'em, the betting changed and Fox became an 11 to 5 favorite. Three hours before ring time the odds on Fox soared to 3 to 1 and bookies refused to accept any more Fox money, although they took wagers on LaMotta.

The rumors of the fix became so persistent in the Garden corridors then, that chairman Eddie Eagan of the New York Boxing Commission twice went to the dressing rooms of the boxers to warn them. He was not available for comment after the fight, but a spokesman of the commission said that so far as he knew the commission was satisfied with the bout. He emphasized, however, that he had not spoken to Eagan.

It wasn't the same LaMotta whose long and distinguished career had made him a scourge of the middleweights so long, who faced Fox last night. Despairing of hope to get a shot at the middleweight crown because the 160-pounders want no part of him, LaMotta took on Fox in the hope that it might lead to a battle with Gus Lesnevich for the light heavyweight crown.

But it was Fox instead of LaMotta who was in line for the title shot today. The Philadelphia negro, scoring his 50th knockout in his 51 bouts, hopes to get an opportunity to avenge his only defeat, a 10th round KO at the hands of Lesnevich.

Outweighed six and three quarters pounds (167 to 173¾) and facing an opponent with superior height and reach, LaMotta never showed any of his old fire. Instead of boring in with a body attack, as he usually does, Jake held back and became an easy target for Fox's lightning lefts and hard rights. Fox caught LaMotta with two lefts and a right at the start of the fourth and only the ropes kept the Bronx boxer from going down. After Referee Frank Fullam separated them, Fox again drove LaMotta to the ropes as he staggered blindly around the ring. In separating them that time, it appeared Fullam was going to stop the fight, but he changed his mind and let them continue. But not for long, for Fox kept up his battering and when the referee finally stopped it in the fourth round, LaMotta was a helpless, bleeding hulk."

United Press - November 15, 1947


Montreal Gazette

"New York's State Athletic Commission tonight handed middleweight Jake LaMotta an indefinite suspension on a charge of concealing vital facts about his physical condition for a fight here a week ago in which he lasted only four rounds against Billy Fox of Philadelphia. Commission Chairman Eddie Eagan, announcing the suspension at the end of a closed session during which LaMotta was questioned for more than three hours, also ordered the Twentieth Century Sporting Club to hold up the purses of both fighters until the district attorney's office completes its investigation of the fight. Eagan said LaMotta had visited his personal physician, Dr. Nicholas Salermo, three times while training for the fight and that Dr. Salermo had advised him not to box because of a spleen condition. Dr. Salermo reported that LaMotta had ignored his advice, Eagan disclosed. 'Investigation showed that he suffered tenderness on the left side throughout training,' said Eagan. 'Dr. Vincent Nardiello, who is employed by the 20th Century Sporting Club, stated that if he had been advised about this hidden injury LaMotta would not have been approved by him for a major boxing match for at least two months after the injury. Such concealment for personal gain this commission holds to be against the best interest of boxing.'"

Associated Press - November 21, 1947


"Jake LaMotta and Billy Fox had their purses today for their Nov. 14 fight at Madison Square Garden that provoked two investigations, but LaMotta's suspension was not lifted. Col. Eddie Eagan, chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, who ordered the purses released when the commission found no evidence of fraud, stated that LaMotta remains under indefinite suspension for not disclosing a spleen injury."

Associated Press - December 18, 1947


"The New York State Athletic Commission today suspended boxer Jake LaMotta until June 21 and fined him $1,000 for having concealed facts of his physical condition before he was stopped by Billy Fox, of Philadelphia, Nov. 14 at Madison Square Garden. Col. Eddie Eagan, chairman of the commission, said today that final disposition of LaMotta's case had been held up pending the outcome of an investigation of the fight by the New York grand jury. The grand jury had uncovered no additional facts, so it now was possible to close the case."

Associated Press - February 13, 1948


"Jake LaMotta — boasting what a good fighter he used to be — confessed Tuesday he threw a bout nearly 13 years ago in return for a promised crack at the middleweight crown he later won. But LaMotta — sweat beading his face — backpedaled anxiously from an earlier statement to Senate probers. That statement fingered an alleged rackets figure as the fixer of his 1947 bout with Fox, and two boxing managers as offering him $100,000 to take a dive in front of Fox. The alleged fixer was identified as Thomas Milo: the other two as Frank (Blinky) Palermo and Bill Daly ... One time champ LaMotta — who hasn't been in the ring since 1954 — bridled when counsel Rand Dixon of the Senate Antimonopoly subcommittee suggested LaMotta's memory became cloudy because of fear of reprisals against him or his brother, Joey, who managed him. 'I'm not afraid of none of them rats,' LaMotta rasped. Jake told the subcommittee he spurned the $100,00 offer ... but agreed to let Fox defeat him on Nov. 14, 1947, so he could get a shot at the title. LaMotta testified the odor stayed so strong he had to wait two years before arranging the 1949 match in which he took the title from Marcel Cerdan. Even then, LaMotta said, he had to kick in $20,000 of his own — $1,000 more than the purse he got for beating Cerdan in Detroit. However, LaMotta said he made $16,000 on the Cerdan fight by betting on himself. As for who got the $20,000, LaMotta said he didn't know, that he paid it through brother Joey."

Associated Press - June 15, 1960