By nickzambuto 25 Comments
*Note: Still need to go over the recently released 'Creed' as well as embed videos once Comic Vine fixes the feature which is currently broken. Also, I might be getting my hands on Rocky: The Ultimate Guide come Christmas which I expect to have loads of fun facts. But for now, enjoy the first six films*
Rocky Balboa, the 'Italian Stallion.' One of the most beloved and enduring film characters, coming up on his 40th anniversary next year. For too long this guy and his fellow boxers have been underestimated on the battle forums. In honor of 'Creed' and the revitalization of the franchise, I am here to showcase the true fantastic boxing skill and will power, that is possessed by the fighters of this iconic franchise.
Of course, the best place to start is at the beginning.
...WEIGHING IN AT TWO-HUNDRED AND TWENTY POUNDS
A CHAMPION WHO NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION, ANYWHERE IN THE CIVILIZED WORLD
THE TRUE, MASTER OF DISASTER
THE KING OF STING
THE COUNTE OF MONTE FISTO
The undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world, with a spectacular record of 46 fights, 46 wins, and 46 knockouts. Throughout his entire career fighting in the heavyweight division, no opponent has ever managed to get passed the 12th round with Apollo Creed. Nobody's ever even been able to so much as knock him down. This is because Apollo Creed was not simply the most skilled boxer in the world. he was, to quote Mickey, "The most dangerous fighter in the world!"
Note that Mickey did not specify boxer, he calls Creed the most dangerous fighter, and his use of the word 'dangerous' supports the fact that he was just using the word in general. Meaning this includes not only boxers, but also martial artists, special forces members, everybody. Apollo Creed is the greatest hand-to-hand combatant on the planet, which might come as a surprise to some of you comic book fans, but boxing is in fact one of the most efficient fighting styles that exists.
Apollo was known for his killer speed above all else, as well as his mastery of the boxing style and intelligent strategies. These skills are what made him an undefeated, undisputed, outright unbeatable fighter. He may be flamboyant and arrogant on the surface, but don't let that fool you into thinking he doesn't back it up 100%.
Creed is actually a bit of a blood knight, much more so than Rocky Balboa in fact. Rocky fights because he's a fighter, that's all he can do. Apollo fights because he considers himself a true warrior, and lives for nothing but fighting, as he explains to Rocky in the fourth movie.
One of my favorite quotes comes at the end of Rocky III. Right before the film's iconic ending, Apollo explains why he believes he'll still be able to beat Rocky, even after teaching him "almost" everything he knows about boxing.
Apollo: You gotta remember now. You fight great, but I'M a great fighter.
His son, Adonis Creed, inherited his father's passion for fighting, and is shown to already be one of the greatest boxers in the world before he even receives any training at all. So can you imagine Apollo, in his prime, with all of his natural talent in addition to years of training and experience? It's no wonder that he acts so confident; it's because he deserves to be.
You can see Apollo using his vastly dominant skill and speed to pepper Rocky with blows constantly throughout the fight while literally dancing around him. By the end of the first round alone, Apollo had thrown 49 punches and landed 45, while Rocky had only landed 11. And even those were clearly because Apollo was caught getting cocky. Many people forget that the whole reason Apollo challenged Rocky in the first place was because he had already cleansed the division of any worthy opponents, so fighting Rocky was just a PR stunt, and he wasn't at all expecting this local club fighter to be any sort of challenge. While Rocky trained his heart out, Apollo actually didn't do any training at all. Yet he still managed to go 15 brutal rounds with the stallion, a man who can punch hard enough to break cow ribs, yet never quit or get knocked out and eventually win in the end. That's an impressive feat in itself.
For Rocky's part, people need to remember that the whole point of the first film was that, well, Rocky wasn't actually a good boxer. He's a fighter who doesn't even know what he's doing, just a local club bum and part-time collector for the local loan shark, and he's given a chance to fight the undisputed world champion. Rocky was infinitely less skilled, less experienced, worse trained, much slower, had a much shorter reach, and didn't even possess a weight advantage. He was literally outclassed in every single category, not by a little, but by a mile. Yet somehow, this local club fighter went the distance with the world champ for all 15 rounds, never giving up and never being knocked out, through nothing but .
By the 14th round, Creed had thrown 139 punches and landed 132, most of which were in the face, while Rocky had only landed 28. Rocky took it all, every bit of it, and never quit. He was knocked down plenty, but kept rising back up over and over like a man possessed. And this is just what we see on-screen, since the fight goes into montage and we only catch bits and pieces. Theoretically, if Apollo kept up the pattern from the first two rounds, he could have punched Rocky the better part of a thousand times throughout the whole fight. But of course, that's just a theory.
Notable instances include Apollo breaking Rocky's nose in the very first round (he was the first opponent to ever break Rocky's nose) and Rocky fighting the entire bout with it, and Apollo beating Rocky's eye until it was swollen shut, with Rocky telling Mick cut it open with a razor while he sat stark still and endured it.
For Apollo's part, it was Rocky's ludicrous stamina that allowed him to finally start taking the advantage in the final two rounds. As Apollo slowed down, Rocky was able to start landing more blows, and as we all should know, Rocky might not be very technically skilled, but when he takes it to the body, he takes it savage.
In total Rocky ending up landing about 47 blows on Creed, eventually breaking his ribs and causing internal bleeding. Even one broken rib should be more than enough to totally incapacitate any real boxer, but Apollo states it plural, yet refuses to have the match be stopped and goes out to finish the final round anyway all while coughing up blood.
This is the power Rocky was blasting Apollo with for that entire match. It took until the fourteenth round before Rocky finally broke Apollo's ribs.
The battle ends with both boxers being hospitalized for their wounds, and Rocky's eye never fully heals. The fight is officially designated "The greatest exhibition of boxing stamina, in the history of the ring."
The training scenes in the second movie are when Rocky starts to do more impressive stuff.
1:29 - 60 one-armed pushups (Rocky weighs between 190 and 202 pounds during this training)
1:36 - 50 forty-pound curls
1:45 - Duck walk while carrying a huge log over his shoulders
2:34 - Crazy jump rope speed
2:40 - Catches a chicken (chickens can generally run at around 9 MPH, but more importantly they are very small and maneuverable, meaning you've gotta be moving significantly faster in order to catch it. If anyone's ever had to catch a puppy, which is way slower than a chicken, you'll understand the challenge)
2:46 - Incredible speedbag timing and reflexes (I don't know how Sylvester Stallone did it, but if you compare him here to real championship boxers like Manny Pacquiao, he seems to be going as fast or significantly faster and harder. But whereas Pazquiao is a lightweight and sometimes welterweight, specifically known for his speed, Rocky is a heavyweight who has "no speed" by the standards of the Rocky universe)
3:26 - Rocky's famous 30-mile long run, which he begins in the evening with the sun setting, and completes with the sun still at horizon AKA an hour at most (supporting this is the fact that it wouldn't be very beneficial to run any longer than that).
Of course now that Apollo knew what Rocky was made of, he was taking the rematch seriously and doing his own hard training as well. The last time, he didn't train at all and went in completely unprepared, and still won. This time, he gets into the best shape of his life, packing on 220 pounds to maintain his weight advantage over Rocky while simultaneously keeping up his killer speed, and steamrolling through every professional sparring partner put in the ring with him, one after the other without ever even being touched.
Apollo: GET UP... Get me another one!
Duke: Come on you gotta ease up on these guys partner.
Apollo: You just get me another one!
It was said in the first film that Apollo had no more worthy opponents and everyone was too scared to get into the ring with him, which is why he fought Rocky. These sparring sessions seem to remember that fact.
So last time, out-of-shape Apollo beat in-shape Rocky. Now, they're both in-shape, but Apollo still has his natural advantage. As you would expect, the fight doesn't go so good for Rocky. The beginning stages at least are probably even worse than their first fight, with Apollo throwing a colossal 84 blows in the first round alone, and landing 74 of them. Meanwhile, Rocky lands a total of 12.
The speed disparity is on full-display here, and Apollo even finds time to taunt Rocky about it. In this scene, Apollo has just gotten off the ropes, and he calmly stands there with his hands at his sides, and asks a fully guarded Rocky if he's "ready to lay down". In an instant, Apollo brings his fist up and smashes Rocky in the face before he can even make a move. THAT'S lighting-fast strikes.
Apollo proves beyond a shadow of doubt that he is the FAR better boxer between the two, as he once again stands by idly, his guard down, and begs Rocky to come at him. Rocky obliges, but throws a surprising feint with his left hand before coming around with his right. Apollo slides around both completely effortlessly and makes Rocky fall into the ropes like a fool, then tells him he's just too slow.
Apollo starts dancing around the ring with Rocky giving chase, literally announcing to the whole crowd that he's about to punch Rocky. He casually winds his arm way behind his back, looks straight at Rocky and warns him "Here it comes!"... then lands his haymaker right across Rocky's jaw with Rocky being unable to react at all. Apollo did all this just to prove how dominant he is.
The right-feint that Rocky pulled was especially surprising for Creed, because he'd spent all this time preparing to fight a southpaw, or someone who boxes left-handed. Mickey's whole strategy for the rematch was to train Rocky into a right-handed fighter secretly, so that he could surprise Creed and throw him off, essentially throwing all of Apollo's prep down the toilet. The announcers and Apollo's own team were stunned when Rocky started fighting right-handed, but what did Apollo have to say about it?
It didn't bother him. Even though he had spent months specifically preparing for a southpaw, he basically adapted to the new style instantly and kicked Balboa's butt regardless.
There are a lot more highlights from the fight. If you have Netflix, I recommend quickly playing Rocky II and skipping to the fight at 1:41:50 so you can watch it in High Quality, because amazingly enough, the famous fight isn't anywhere on YouTube in half-decent quality. Kids these days amirite? Anyway, you'll see Apollo dancing around every move Rocky makes, throwing sweet combos and overall just devastating the stallion. It's a complete stomp, it's like Spider-Man vs Venom.
...Yet Rocky never stays down.
By the end of the fight, he has taken a total of approximately 243 blows from the world heavyweight champion boxer (out of a total 257), most of which were in the face, and again, that's merely what we see on-screen. We see the first two rounds in full, then bits and pieces of the remaining 13.
By the end of it, Mickey is genuinely fearing for Rocky's life, yet he still refuses to stop fighting. The announcers say they thought he took a beating the last time, but this one was at least twice as bad. Never before have I seen any character defeat such a superior opponent, simply through their endurance. Not Spider-Man, not Batman, not Captain America, never before have they been able to challenge a superior opponent, and defeat them, by taking every bit of their punishment head-on and simply tiring them out. We've established that Apollo Creed is a tough guy, but this makes Rocky exponentially tougher. The only character I've ever seen who can match this endurance... is Superman, during his fight with Doomsday.
For Creed's part, he takes a total of 121 blows, from a guy that can break the ribs of a cow, and again that's just what we see on-screen. The fact that he didn't die is superhuman in itself. In the end, when both he and Rocky fall to the floor, Rocky gets to his feet merely one second faster, a fact that will haunt Apollo and spur him to challenge Rocky to a third fight years later.
Rocky is now the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World.
Let's talk about Thunderlips. This guy is so underrated, but he was the first instance of clear superhuman strength in the Rocky series, and the way Rocky dealt with him was when things first started to get over the top.
I've always loved this scene. Every time I watch it I remember how bizarre and awesome it is.
Anyway Thunderlips is the 7 foot tall, nearly-400 pound undisputed wrestling champion of the world. Apparently he has the world's biggest arm and is the ultimate object of desire. He also claims outright to possess superhuman strength.
Rocky has a nice little speed feat right in the beginning. I don't know if it's just the camera angle, or maybe some special effects at works, but he is able to dodge Thunderlips coming from behind and move to the other side of the ring like a blur.
The match is just for charity though, it's an exhibition, so Rocky isn't taking it seriously and, being the knucklehead that he is, can't pick up on Thunderlips' hostile intents. So without fighting seriously, Rocky is caught off guard when Thunderlips gets his hands on him, and can't fight back through the barrage of pro wrestling moves.
Now, Thunderlips is a guy who can casually throw a 202 pound man across a 15 foot ring hard enough to have him smash into the post, and even lift that 202 pound man straight over his head, and toss him out of the ring, all the way into the fifth row. A whole crowd of cops and civilians couldn't restrain him, he just used his wrestling moves to beat the sh!t out of them all and steamroll through, and when he got angry that Rocky wasn't staying down, he smashed his hands onto the floor and rumbled the entire ring. When Paulie came over and smashed a chair over his head, the chair just shattered against his skin and Thunderlips wasn't even hurt. He also knocked Paulie out cold with one punch, which confirms that he's at least stronger than Tommy Gunn.
So with all that said, how in the world did Rocky take all of these pro wrestling moves and not friggin die?!?!?!? Thunderlips even broke Rocky's back over his knee, we the cracking sound for god sakes, but Rocky just gets up like oh no big deal, cut my gloves off so I can completely lay waste to this monster with a couple gut shots.
Although it's arguable that Rocky needed Paulie's help in order to survive, I would say the stallion still hadn't gotten over the ridiculous beating he took earlier. If Rocky were taking things seriously from the beginning, who knows what would have happened, I'm inclined to believe Thunderlips wouldn't have ever gotten his hands on him at all (don't let the Apollo fight make you think Rocky is slow or unskilled. He's clearly not, Apollo was just that much better). Regardless, Rocky shows the strength and skill to lay Thunderlips out, and even get revenge by picking him up and throwing him out of the ring, seemingly without too much strain. That's a pretty decent lifting feat (Thunderlips weighs nearly 400 pounds) but the striking is a lot more impressive.
In the end, the match is officially declared a draw and neither fighter seems to be in any pain whatsoever. They take a polaroid together, which after much detective work I have found is a weird way of saying photograph.
OKAY time for Clubber Lang.
As Apollo Creed later explains, Rocky lacked "the eye of the tiger" during this fight, his will power that makes him unbeatable and allowed him to win the championship in the first place. So this fight was a test of straight up strength, speed and skill, all of which Clubber had Rocky outclassed in.
Clubber might not be a traditionally skilled boxer like Apollo was, he lacks the technical finesse obviously, but don't think that makes him unskilled. He was a hard-hitting brawler with a character that is much like his boxing style: direct, aggressive and brutal. His fighting style and record show a similarity to a young George Foreman, and perhaps even Mike Tyson.
He gave Mick a heart attack by pushing him, and even Apollo Creed admitted that Clubber was way stronger than himself. He was at the exhibition bout between Rocky and Thunderlips and didn't seem at all impressed with what happened, so coupled with the fact that he actually knocked Rocky out, it seems as though Clubber is even stronger than the wrestling champion was.
Instead of a more in-depth analysis, I'm just going to leave it to a YouTube comment I stumbled across that sums it up.
Round 1: Clubber took 14 hooks, crosses / overhand right punches to the face. Rocky received 18.
Round 2: Clubber took 1. Rocky took 11.
No jabs, no partially blocked hits, no glancing blows. All face punches were direct hits, very hard. And this is not even counting the body blows. It seems that about 3 of those hits in a row would have knocked a heavyweight fighter down, maybe out. But Rocky took 29 before he even fell once. The lack of realism drains a lot of the tension out of the scene, and I stopped caring about whether anybody got punched hard. It's like a Michael Bay movie where everything explodes because he thinks anything less would bore the audience to death. It seems that this director was afraid that the audience would get bored with realistic boxing!
So even without his will power, Rocky is still a naturally durable guy as shown in his previous fight with Thunderlips, so Clubber KOing him in merely two rounds goes to show the guy is no joke. That's when Apollo Creed comes back into the picture, and offers to train Rocky to help him get back his Eye of The Tiger. But the training also included Rocky learning Apollo's style, enhancing his speed and boxing technique... It becomes quite clear early on that Rocky isn't very graceful, but he gets the hang of it eventually.
The races are the most notable bit. At first, Apollo is fast enough to leave Rocky in the dust, Rocky can only catch up when Apollo starts running backwards. Pretty impressive for Apollo given Rocky's 30 mile jog feat. This is not their first race, and earlier on Rocky was even less of a match for Creed. But gradually, throughout the course of their training, Rocky eventually grows fast enough to surpass Apollo.
Rocky also displays his newly enhanced agility, dancing around the speedbag and dodging all around Apollo during their sparring session.
So with his motivation back and newly enhanced speed and skill, Rocky was ready to take back the title from Clubber Lang.
Round 1 - Speed
Rocky's enhanced skill and speed are on full display here. Watching this, right after his fight with Apollo, is really quite startling. It's almost as if the roles have been reversed; faced with a man who's an even bigger tank than himself, Rocky had to become Apollo. Now he's out there, dancing around every move, almost untouchable, all while virtually blitzing Clubber Lang with jabs and hooks.
Clubber's fists miss, and they audibly slice through the air like a whip. We KNOW this guy is far from slow, yet here's Rocky making a fool out of him anyway. That's real combat speed.
Round 2 - Endurance
Now Clubber is mad. It takes three boxing trainers to restrain him, and when he comes back out, he comes out swingin'. His punches sound like explosions.
At one point, he even punches Rocky into the ropes so hard that Rocky bounces off, and lands all the way in the middle of the ring.
But what happened to all that speed and skill Rocky displayed earlier? Well as soon as he sits down, we find out he might not be utilizing that speed, but he isn't being any less skilled. He's found Clubber's weakness; stamina. The guy relies entirely on knockout punches, so if he can't end his opponent early, he'll lose all of his energy. This is exceptionally clever strategy on Rocky's part, and he manages to make it work, taking every one of Clubber's incredibly strong blows head-on and never giving up. I think the fight is relatively self explanatory just by watching; those are powerhouse blows Rocky is soaking up.
Round 3 - Eye of The Tiger
Rocky knocks out powerhouse Clubber Lang in the third round. Never before in a Rocky movie has the antagonist been defeated so quickly and easily. I mean, Clubber had nearly 40 pounds on Rocky AND a reach advantage, making such short work of a guy like that is unheard of. That is serious skill and strength the stallion must be packing. Nothing more to be said.
In return for training him, Rocky owes Apollo one favor. Apollo confesses that he hasn't gotten over his loss to Rocky, stating that he "lost by one second" and feels he can do better this time, even though Rocky has improved massively and even surpassed his speed. Apollo simply states that he hasn't taught Rocky everything he knows. So, he wants to have one final fight with the stallion, behind closed doors, just the two of them. No cameras, no newspapers, just two warriors. For decades, this iconic ending has been left in the air for movie fans to debate about. Recently, 'Creed' actually revealed who won.
It was Apollo.
Time for the big one.
Alright, obviously we'll start with Ivan Drago. Let's see; trained Soviet military Captain and gold medal winning Olympist, standing at 6'7 and weighing 268 pounds with a reach of 80 inches, later defeated every boxer in Russia and became the undisputed world amateur champion, THEN was enhanced by the Soviet government into a truly unbeatable Russian super-boxer with blood doping, anabolic steroids, and the most high-tech training equipment available.
Interestingly enough, Ivan Drago is the only Rocky antagonist to get somewhat of an epilogue, with Rocky: The Ultimate Guide stating that he wasn't permitted to resume his boxing career after assaulting that official during the match with Rocky. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Drago returned to boxing and accumulated an impressive record of 31-0 with 31 KOs while also winning the heavyweight title, possibly defeating Tommy Gunn for it. Although this was after being rejected by the Soviet government, meaning no more blood doping, no more steroids, and no more high-tech equipment. Drago was a champion before his enhancements, and he was a champion after them as well, all through his own merits.
WITH the enhancements though, on top of his already championship-worthy abilities, he became nearly unstoppable. He had a punching power of over 2,000 pounds per square inch (stronger than a point-blank shotgun blast) and trained by running up a near-vertical treadmill. Drago gives a whole new meaning to the word super soldier.
My favorite feat is when he and Apollo touch gloves before their match, Apollo is all arrogant and trying to humiliate Drago, so he smashes his hands over Drago's as hard as he can, and Drago's arms don't even budge.
Although Creed is more skilled, the Russian doesn't seem to be at any disadvantage in terms of actual speed. He parries many of Apollo's blows during the first round, and in the second round after Apollo is injured, he can't lay a hand on Drago at all. Drago's own punching speed is remarkable, with Apollo failing to dodge even a single strike throughout the entire fight.
Of Apollo's punches that DO connect, they don't even harm Drago, and in the end Drago actually beats Apollo to death by just the second round.
For Apollo's part, he's taking barrages of shotgun-punches to the face and refuses to quit. Despite not possessing the strength to combat Drago, Creed is still a true warrior, and would sooner choose to die in the ring than throw in the towel. That's will power.
Of course Rocky's gotta come along and avenge his friend, but everyone needs to consider just how impossible the odds Rocky was facing really were.
Drago was inhuman, he took drugs to enhance himself, while Rocky needed to match his progress strictly through natural hard work... And he succeeded. Rocky goes to Russia, trains with only the bare essentials, and gets stronger than he's ever been before. Rocky essentially matches superhuman enhancements through sheer will power.
1:21 - Rocky pulls Paulie and his sled through the snow on his hands and knees, which would require a LOT more force than just simply lifting it because he had zero traction or leverage.
2:44 - Crazy jump rope speed.
4:42 - Rocky lifts a carriage with Adrian, Duke, and Paulie all piled in it. Estimated weight to be near 800 pounds.
5:11 - Rocky outraces a KGB car, the car eventually spins out and crashes but Rocky keeps going, and instead of climbing the Rocky steps, this time he climbs a whole mountain with just his bare hands.
...And even after all that, Drago is still way stronger than Rocky, as shown when he completely smashes down Rocky's hands during their glove touch... Yeah, things aren't looking good for the Italian Stallion.
I'll just cut to the chase. Drago punched Rocky... well over 200 times. I counted 236, to be exact, but that number probably isn't 100% correct since I only bothered to count once this time (sorry for lazing out). It's in the ballpark though, I'll say I'd be surprised if the exact number wasn't in the 230s. And, once again, this is only what we see on-screen. The first two rounds, and the final round, plus bits and pieces of the rest. Like with Apollo Creed, Rocky could be looking at the better part of 1,000 punches during this fight, all from a guy packing over a ton of force, per square inch of his fist.
Drago's fighting style really is unorthodox. It reminds me a lot of Dolor from Undisputed III, if anyone's ever seen that movie. All the dancing and unpredictability, coupled with such aggression. Drago really is a highly skilled boxer, and his ludicrous stats just put him over the map. He actually had feats within this fight itself.
In the first round, when Rocky went to town on Drago's ribs with his famous body blows, Drago barely even felt it. He pushed Rocky off, only to stand open and goad him to come back, tanking more shots without defending just to prove that he can.
At one point, Drago punches Rocky 15 feet across the ring, and he would have gone even farther had he not hit the post. Rocky probably weighs well over 200 pounds at this point like he did against Apollo, since he bulked up so much to fight Drago.
Drago is even able to lift a man, who looks to weigh well over 200 pounds, straight over head into the air with one arm, and then throw him, completely effortlessly.
This is probably Drago's least impressive feat, and it's still easy peak human. His next least impressive feat, having his gloves smashed by Apollo without budging, I would consider superhuman. So Drago is very consistently a superhuman.
Yet, what did he have to say about Rocky Balboa?
Anyway, Rocky eventually manages to knock the guy out, like always. It might have taken him 15 rounds, but the striking power to lay out a 6'7 Russian super soldier is nothing to scoff at either way.
When Rocky was so outclassed by this guy that his best combos to the ribs couldn't even phase him, and throughout the whole battle he could only just barely react to Drago's movements, the fact that he stayed alive and even somehow won in the very end is nothing short of insanity.
Nobody really cares about this next guy so let's keep it short. If Rocky can somehow beat crazy Russian super-boxer Ivan Drago who's whole thing was that he was meant to be invincible, how do you possibly top it? Simple, you create the anti-Rocky. Somebody who knows all of Rocky's moves, has trained the same way Rocky has, yet has no hesitation or restraints. No morals whatsoever. Oh, and give Rocky severe brain damage that causes him to seize up in agony just by running on top of that. Yeah, great idea. . Yes, brilliant.
This one here was all about skill. Nobody likes Tommy Gunn as a character, but give credit where credit is due. His total annihilation of an undefeated titalist should not be dismissed.
This was Rocky's protege, Rocky taught him everything he knew. Not only was it specifically stated that Tommy was physically superior to the older and out of practice Balboa, but it was proven on-screen when Tommy beat Rocky at a pushups contest and outraced him up the Rocky steps, and while Rocky was doubled over exhausted from it, Tommy was jumping around and doing cartwheels.
Definitely not quite as physically dominant as Drago was, but that's where the deadly brain damage comes in.
From a sheer skill perspective, Rocky proved at the end of the film that Tommy was still like a child to him. His vastly greater experience was just too much. Tommy needed to cheapshot Balboa multiple times just to trigger his brain damage, and finally give himself some kind of an advantage.
Tommy's other feats include tackling Rocky and busting down an iron grate without stopping, and wrecking all the fodder in the crowd who tried to stop him including Paulie.
Yet here is Rocky, literally resisting death itself so that he can stand up and fight the guy with crazy leg sweeps and suplexes. Rocky's skill is supreme.
And last, but certainly not least.
Rocky's final comeback. His last big fight. At the age of 60, with arthritis, calcium deposits on most of his joints, bad knees, and, to quote Duke, "no speed", Rocky Balboa comes back for one last hurrah to fight the current world heavywiehgt champion, Mason "The Line" Dixon. A man who began boxing training when he was 10, and possessed crazy hitting power, heart, the speed to throw 7 blows in one second, and, get this, was a very unpopular champion because he would always beat every opponent way too quickly and way too easily, and therefore never had any good fights. Wow. Stuff like this just doesn't happen in real life.
So they got Rocky Balboa to come out of retirement because they figured, even with his age, he'd be the only person in the world who can give Dixon a good fight. The interesting part is that in the film, a group of experts actually compiled data to create a simulation that portrayed a fight between Mason against Balboa in his prime, as ending with Rocky knocking him out in the very first round.
So that's another fantastic skill feat for Rocky. The champion who beats everyone too easily, gets beaten too easily.
Age does a lot to effect people though. Rocky is a mere shadow of his former self, so with Mason being 30 years his junior, he's back to being the underdog.
The entire training was dedicated solely to building muscle mass, because according to Duke, Rocky "already knows all there is to know about fighting."
Most notably, at 2:57 we can see that Rocky's big weights are 45 lbs a piece.
That means old man Rocky can lift 270 pounds off the ground, and straight over his head, while at 2:04 when he has a total of 10 weights, he's lifting 450 pounds off the ground and over his shoulders.
Yet when the fight with Mason comes... he loses.
Don't get me wrong, Rocky displays absolutely phenomenal heart and skill, and Mason even comments that "He's got bricks in his gloves." Goes well with Drago's comment that Rocky is made of iron. But even with brick-punches, after 15 rounds Mason was still standing, and won narrowly by points.
Yet prime Rocky lays him out in the first round? This means that prime Rocky is stronger than old Rocky, so if we take into account old Rocky's feats of hefting 450 pounds and punching like he's got bricks in his gloves... laying out titans like Thunderlips, Clubber Lang, and Ivan Drago becomes very consistent.