"Sure, I wish I was fighting today," he says. "What a picnic I would have. But I've done it all. I went from the top to the bottom, from champion of the world to a chain gang. Then I picked myself up. I made a lot of mistakes, but I tried to correct them. I took one step forward, then another one, and it's been a steady grind like that right up to this day. I realize today—I've been realizing this for a while now—that everybody needs peace of mind. And I needed peace of mind, too."
Downstairs, where he told his jokes earlier, is a blowup of the Jan. 23, 1943, Detroit News: JAKE LAMOTTA SCORES SIX-ROUND KNOCKOUT AND SMILES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS CAREER.
"Back then, I never smiled. I was always worried about somebody coming up behind me. Now I stand up there and joke around and enjoy it as much as the audience." The Bronx Bull smiles. "I guess, today, I got peace of mind."