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Jake LaMotta vs Sugar Ray VI “You Never Got me Down, Ray”- February 14, 1951

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Jake LaMotta and Sugar Ray Robinson fought for the sixth and last time at Chicago Stadium on February 14, 1951. Robinson took the middle weight title from LaMotta, stopping him by TKO in the 13th round.

Dubbed the “Boxing Version of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre,” the fight, was depicted in Martin Scorsese’s 1980 film “Raging Bull.” In the movie, when the fight is being stopped in the 13th round, LaMotta (portrayed in an Oscar winning performance by Robert DeNiro), beaten to a bloody pulp, repeatedly tells Robinson (Ray Barnes) “You never got me down, Ray.”

Here’s how Red Smith described it:

In the third minute of the 13th round Ray Robinson hit Jake LaMotta for-what was it? – the thousandth time? The five thousandth? Jake was hung on the ropes like a picture on the wall, like an old, wrinkled suit in the attic closet. Now he came off the hook, sagged forward, bent double at the waist. He embraced Robinson about the drawers and the referee, Frank Sikora, pushed in between them and motioned to Robinson to desist. The greatest fist fighter in the world was middleweight champion of the world, and one of the toughest had suffered the first believable knockout of his life.

Jake LaMotta was slugged, tortured, flayed, bloodied and bludgeoned tonight by a better fighter. He was stripped of his title and nearly detached from his intellect as well. Yet when it was over he was on his feet and had not left his feet. After 96 professional fights, the lovable character from the Bronx still can say he has never been knocked down.

The previous five fights between Robinson and LaMotta took place between 1942 and 1945. None of these bouts was a title fight. LaMotta only beat Robinson once. That was on February 5, 1942 at Olympia Stadium in Detroit, when LaMotta won a unanimous decision. Incredibly, they fought again exactly three weeks later in the same place. This time, LaMotta, who outweighed Robinson by 15 pounds, floored him for an eight count in the seventh round, but Robinson got up and held on to win the decision.

When they met for the fifth time, at Comiskey Park in Chicago on September 26, 1945, Robinson won a split decision that was booed by the crowd.

The Real Fight

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Dorothy Hamill Skates to Gold – February 13, 1976

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Dorothy Hamill cried before the free skate in the Women’s Figure Skating at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, but she managed to keep her composure while she was actually on the ice and was able to deliver a spectacular performance that was good enough to win the gold medal.

Just before it was time for Hamill to take the ice, her nerves got the best of her and tears started to flow. But then she she saw a sign in the stands that read, “Which of the West, Dorothy.” She was touched by the play on words and the show of support. It calmed her nerves and the rest is history.

Today Hamill is probably more famous for her ground breaking hairstyle than for her skating accomplishments.

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Shaun White Wins Gold – February 12, 2006

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Shaun White lived up to the hype and won the gold medal in The Half Pipe at the Winter Olympics in Turin, on February 12, 2006.

Less than two weeks before the Turin games, White had won gold medals in the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. He won in both Slopestyle and Superpipe. Winning those events was nothing new for him. He had won Slopestyle and Superpipe in three previous Winter X Games competitions.

By the the time he got to Turin the “Flying Tomato” (because of his long flowing red hair and big ears), in addition to being heavily favored to win the gold, had achieved almost cult status as the “coolest dude on the slopes.”

Competing in his first Olympics, White could only manage the seventh best run in the first round. But he notched the highest score in the second round and that got him into the finals. White took such a commanding lead after the first run of the final round, his win became almost a foregone conclusion. Of greater interest in the second run was whether his teammates Danny Kass and Mason Aguierre would join him on the podium as the silver and bronze medal winners. Kass did wind up winning the silver medal, but Aguirre fell to fourth place behind Markku Koski of Finland.

he gold-medal ride was emblematic of White’s grace — the way he glided over the snow, the way he held his board dramatically in midair, the way he bled consecutive 1080-degree spins into consecutive 900-degree spins, as if they were all part of the same move. The coach of the United States team, Bud Keene, said of White’s ride, “It’s like he was skating.” Read more NYTimes

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Mike Tyson Knocked Out by Buster Douglas – February 11, 1990

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This one didn’t end the way it was supposed to, although for at least 10 seconds, most of the fans at ringside in Tokyo, Japan thought it was going to. That’s when undefeated heavyweight champ Mike Tyson caught Buster Douglas with an uppercut that knocked him on his rear end. The knockdown came three seconds before the bell to end the round, but the rules that night called for no “saving-by-the-bell.”

Douglas got up when referee Octavio Moran got to a count of nine. There was nothing like a delayed long count a-la the infamous Dempsey-Tunney fight. On the other hand, video replays definitively showed that Moran just counted kind of the slow. Also Moran never picked up the count from the official time keeper as he was supposed to, but that wasn’t Douglas’s fault. It’s the knocked down fighter’s responsibility to rise to his feet before the referee gets to a count of 10, and there’s no disputing that Douglas met his obligation.

Two rounds later it was Mike Tyson who was knocked down and not getting up by the count of 10, and even if he had, the fight should have been stopped because Iron Mike was in no shape to continue.

Promoter Don King was not happy with the results. He had Tyson booked to fight Evander Holyfield in June, for a much bigger payday than a Douglas-Holyfield fight could bring. So King protested the results. At first WBC and WBA both suspended recognition of Douglas as the new champion. The next day, Tyson was telling the press that he was still champion. One day later though, King withdrew the protest and Douglas was rightfully and officially declared the Heavyweight Champion of the World.

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Jean Claude Killy Wins First Gold – February 9, 1968

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France’s Jean Claude Killy won three gold medals at the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. His first win, in the downhill, came on February 9, 1968. Killy followed up his Downhill win, taking the gold medal in the Giant Slalom on February 12. He put a final exclamation point on his spectacular Olympic showing when he won the Slalom on February 17. Killy was the second Olympic skier to win the “Alpine Grand Slam.”

Austrian Toni Sailer was the first skier to win the three events. He won his gold medals at the Winter Olympics in Cortina, Italy in 1956.

In the days leading up to Killy’s third win, the Frenchman and Sailer became engaged in an Alpine trash talking event of Olympic proportions. Sailer predicted that Killy would fail in his attempt to win the third leg of the slam. Killy responded by saying that even having only won two gold medals so far, that he had already surpassed Sailer’s 1956 performance. The AP reported that Killy said, “In the slalom Sailer only had to make one descent. I must make two. To win the special slalom I must race four times – – two qualification runs in addition to the two official runs. It is much more difficult.”

In addition winning his three gold medals, Jean Claude Killy clearly won the pissing contest with Sailer as well.

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5′ 7″ Spud Webb Wins NBA Slam Dunk – February 8, 1986

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Spud Webb played 12 seasons in the NBA. He averaged almost 10 points a game, but the fete that he is best known for was when showed off his 42″ vertical leap and lifted his 67″ frame above the rim, and the competition, to win the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, on February 8, 1986.

Spud Webb finds himself back home for the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Game weekend, a 5-feet-7-inch David preparing to trade slams and jams with the Goliaths of the game in the league’s Slam-Dunk championship Saturday…Webb bristles at suggestions that he is just part of the N.B.A. hype for the weekend that also includes an old-timers’ game and 3-point- field-goal shootout Saturday, as well as the All-Star Game on Sunday. Read more NYTimes.com

LITTLE SPUD IS BIG STUFF : 5-7 Webb Goes High Enough to Be a ‘Spudnik’ as He Wins NBA’s Slam-Dunk Contest

DALLAS — The National Basketball Assn. slam-dunk competition, a celebration of an art form that only a few tall and extraordinary athletes have mastered, had become somewhat routine after two seasons as the main sideshow of the league’s All-Star weekend. Read more LAtimes.com

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Pistol Pete Maravich Scores Record 69 for LSU – February 7, 1970

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Pistol Pete Maravich broke the NCAA single game scoring record (Breaking Niagra’s Calvin Murphy’s mark of 68 points) as he dumped in 69 points on February 7, 1970. Despite Maravich’s record breaking performance, his LSU team lost the game to Alambama, 106-104.

“The Pistol” was coached by his father Press Maravich for the three seasons that he played for LSU (1967-68 through 1969-70). He was a first team All American all three seasons, while averaging 44.2 points a game.

Jan. 5, 2013, marks the 25th anniversary of the death of the great Pete Maravich, one of the most remarkable athletes in the history of all of sports. In an era when players were only eligible for three years – and there was no three-point shot – Pistol Pete became, and remains, the highest scoring player in the history of college basketball. No one has ever challenged his records and there is no reason to believe anyone ever will. Read more LSUsports.net

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