It might have been a great fight but it never happened. Graziano and LaMotta were scheduled to fight on June 14, 1950 but for one reason or another, the fight never came off. You can't help but wonder.
Between Jake La Motta and Rocky Graziano, LaMotta is generally considered the better of the two and I tend to agree with that assessment. Sometimes on the surface it might mean something or as we see every so often, it can mean absolutely nothing.
Both men were hardened veteran's of ring wars, Both were middleweight champions during their careers. Graziano known for his trilogy with "The Man of Steel" Tony Zale in which he won and lost his title, LaMotta for his six fights with the lengendary Sugar Ray Robinson. LaMotta won one fight and ultimately lost his title to Robinson. Both fought their fair share of "tomato cans" (bums). Both came from a "Dead End Kids" envioroment, LaMotta from the Bronx, hence the nickname "The Bronx Bull", and Rocky from the Lower East Side of Manhatton, New York. Both were Italian Americans. Rocky was sort of a lovable hood and immensely popular. LaMotta, not quite so lovable and not so popular. LaMotta had a total of 106 fights, he won 83 of them with 30 KO's, he lost 19 and got stopped in four of his losses and had 4 draws. Graziano fought for a total of 83 fights, winning 67 of his fights, 52 by knockout, he lost 10 fights, getting KO'ed in three of his losses, and had 6 draws. It's interesting to note that while LaMotta had more fights, Graziano had a better knockout ratio.
Graziano was an exciting, reckless fighter without much defense, he had a better than average punch and a huge heart. LaMotta was a much tighter package. While not exactly a techician, he did posses better defensive skills than Rocky, as well as better jab. His bggist asset was his chin and endurance. As for punching power, he was much more of a "Grinder" that would eventually wear down an opponent.
I don't see Rocky winning this fight. I see LaMotta's chin offsetting Rocky's punch. His better skills would allow LaMotta to get inside of Graziano and take advantage of his lack of a good defense. I see it as a great, crowd pleasing fight that would more than likely end by a late round stoppage of Rocky Graziano. The fans would definitely get their monies worth.
|LaMotta and Graziano in later years|