On This Day

  • February 5 down the years

Raging Bull tames Sugar Ray

Jake LaMotta certainly packed a punch © Getty Images
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1943
Sugar Ray Robinson lost a fight. He lost quite a lot of fights, including a few for world titles, but mainly at the end of his career. This one is significant because it was the last he lost for more than eight years, during which time he won world titles at two different weights.

Here he faced Jake LaMotta again - and this time could not cope with the weight difference. Robinson won the world middleweight title five times, but he was a natural welterweight, and LaMotta was more than a stone heavier. Sugar Ray was saved by the bell when Jake, the Raging Bull, put him through the ropes in the eighth, and the ten-round decision was unanimous. Robinson got back on his bike immediately. He had another fight two weeks later, and did not lose any of his next 91. Five of those were against LaMotta, including a title fight on February 14, 1951.

1976
In one of the iconic moments in the snow, Franz Klammer won the Olympic downhill. He was favourite for the event, an Austrian skiing in Austria, and he had to contend with a super-fast marker laid down by defending champion Bernhard Russi. Klammer was only 22, and maybe the fearlessness of youth got him through. "I thought I was going to crash all the way," he said. He fell off Russi's pace but came through, cowbells jangling all around him, to win by a third of a second.

1972
The greatest squash match of all time. Britain's Jonah Barrington was the ultimate self-taught sportsman. People derided his racquet skills, but his ability to keep the ball an inch away from the side walls, over and over and over, was as underrated as his physical fitness was feared. Australia's Geoff Hunt had that fitness too, and superior shot-making, so he won the majority of his matches against Barrington. But not usually in the big events. Jonah played in six British Open finals, the World Championships of their day, and never lost one. He beat Hunt in two of them, both in five self-mutilating games. In 1969 he won the last two games to regain the title from him - and today it got really serious.

After losing the first game 9-0, Barrington ground out the next two 9-7 10-8. Hunt won the fourth and led 6-0 and 7-4 in the fifth - but he could barely breathe by then and tried shortening the rallies. Jonah read the signs and reeled him in 9-7. It had taken an hour and three-quarters and both men were tasting blood. Barrington won the event for the last time the following year, Hunt for the eight time in 1981 without going through quite so much pain again.

2000
Italy's debut match changed a tournament's name to the Six Nations. And what a debut to call your own. Scotland had won the last Five Nations, but now they fell to a shock 34-20 defeat in Rome. They scored two tries to one by substitute Giampiero De Carli, but rugby offers other ways of skinning teams, and Italy's Argentinian fly-half Diego Domínguez equalled the national record by scoring 29 points, including six penalties and three drop goals. Italy have gone backwards since his retirement, but this remains a day to warm their cockles.

Rather less gloriously, Scott Quinnell became the first player to be sin-binned in a Six Nations match, followed by David Venditti in the same game. In everything else, Wales didn't run France quite so close. They trailed only 9-3 at half-time before losing 36-3. France scored three tries, but the main damage was done by the boot of Christophe Lamaison, who kicked 21 points.

1974
Talk about a one-man band. In a junior regional basketball match in Sweden, 13-year-old Mats Wermelin scored all the points in a 272-0 win.

2006
Pittsburgh Steelers had won the Super Bowl four times, but none since 1980. Now they sneaked back in as a wild card. Facing them, Seattle Seahawks, who were appearing in the event for the first time. Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward scored the touchdown that ended the match 21-10 and was voted MVP.

2005
Gavin Henson's famous penalty goal. From way out and late in the game, it beat a transitional England team 11-9 in Cardiff and set Wales on the way towards a Grand Slam.

1872
The first international rugby match ever played in England. At the Kennington Oval in London, England's team of twenty players included 14 new caps. Charles Cathcart opened the scoring with the first drop goal in an international, but that was Scotland's only success. They conceded three tries, one of them converted, and a drop goal by Harold Freeman. Leslie Balfour made his Scotland debut just before his 18th birthday; in 1889, he was runner-up in the British Amateur Golf Championship. His team mate Henry Renny-Tailyour played football for Scotland the following year; he won one cap in each sport, losing to England each time.

1973
Deng Yaping was born in China, and failed to grow very much bigger. At four feet 10½, she was less than two feet taller than a table tennis table - but it was more than enough. A ferocious attacking player, he became just about the most successful table tennis champion of all time. By the time she was 16, she was World Champion at doubles. She won that title twice more, the singles three times, and both events at the Olympics in 1992 and 1996. All this before retiring when she was only 24.

Mike Tyson was sentenced to another jail term © Getty Images
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1999
Mike Tyson was jailed again. Two years, this time with one suspended, for attacking two motorists after a traffic accident. He'd been released in 1995 after serving three years for rape. When he came out, after nine months, he had debts of $20 million waiting for him.

1892
Elizabeth Ryan was born in Los Angeles. A hefty tennis player with a fearsome 'chop' shot all of her own, she won the Wimbledon doubles a record 12 times with five different partners, the first in 1914, the last 20 years later when she was 42. She won the mixed seven times with five different men. Lacking some mobility as a singles player, she was also unlucky in being around at the same time as two other greats, losing her Wimbledon singles finals to Suzanne Lenglen in 1921 and Helen Wills Moody in 1930. In 1926 she lost the Final of the US Championships 9-7 in the deciding set to 'Molla' Mallory, who won her record eighth title. With her usual good timing, 'Bunny' Ryan died the night before Billie Jean King broke her record of 19 Wimbledon triumphs in 1979.

2010
Chelsea defender John Terry was stripped of the England captaincy by national team coach Fabio Capello, following sordid revelations about his private life. Rio Ferdinand was latter handed the armband, but would miss out on the World Cup through injury.

1972
One of the tries they love to show. Gareth Edwards sprinting out of defence then kicking ahead and winning the chase for the touchdown. Above all, walking back with a face full of mud. He scored another try in the match, one of Wales's five in a 35-12 win over Scotland in Cardiff.

1937
Gaston Roelants was born in Belgium. One of the great all-round distance runners, with one of the best-known beards in track and field, he excelled in events where hard running was more important than change of pace. In the 3,000 steeplechase at the 1964 Olympics, he led by 50 yards at the bell and won comfortably. At the European Championships, he won the steeplechase in 1962 and minor medals in the Marathon in 1969 and 1974, the second when he was 37. He was International Cross-Country champion (World Champion in all but name) four times and a multiple winner at age-group World Championships. He set two world records in the steeplechase, two in the one-hour run, and others at 15 and 20k.

1938
At the Commonwealth Games, England's Cyril Holmes won the 100 yards ahead of the Australian pair John Mumford and Eddie Best. All three finished in the same order in the 220 yards. Holmes played rugby for England after the War. John Loaring of Canada finished 15 yards clear in the 440 yards hurdles to win the first of his three gold medals at the Games. Decima Norman went two better. She won five golds in these championships, including the 100 yards ahead of 16-year-old fellow Australian Joyce Walker.

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