- "Touch me and I'll sue. (laughs) C'mon, punk, touch me and I'll sue."
- ―George Washington Duke[src]
George Washington Duke (born January 15, 1943) is the main antagonist in Rocky V, who, by 1990, had at least 20 years of promoting some of the biggest fights in history. However, he never could get Rocky Balboa to fight any of his fighters. He is accompanied by a beautiful, statuesque, buxom redhead assistant named Karen (played by actress Delia Sheppard).
Right before New Year's Eve in 1985, Rocky returned home from Russia, after his match against Ivan Drago; with both Mickey Goldmill and Apollo Creed now deceased, Rocky was now with no management whatsoever, and Duke saw this as an opportunity to get Rocky to participate in a fight he would promote. Unfortunately for him, however, upon returning home, Rocky was announced to be retiring, as Duke himself found out the very moment of that declaration, he who came to challenge Rocky to battle his fighter, Union Cane.
In reply to Rocky's retirement and thus, refusal of taking part of this promoted fight, Duke began hounding the Balboa family in hope to pull Rocky into fighting again, even despite Rocky's medical situation that prevented him to fight again (namely, brain damage). He even took advantage out of Rocky's recent bankruptcy by telling him he could get all his money back from fighting again. Adrian continuously intercepted Duke's attempts to pull Rocky back into fighting.
Soon after Rocky re-opened Mickey's former gym, a man named Tommy Gunn approached him and eventually convinced him to be his manager. However, no formal papers were signed between the two, and as soon as Gunn climbed quickly in boxing fame, and nearing a shot at the title, Duke saw such a lack of papers as an opening, and convinced Tommy to let him be his manager and promoter, promising him the fame he wanted so much that he felt he couldn't acquire from being with Rocky.
When Tommy Gunn became champion, he was ridiculed by the media, who said he was no real champion and should actually come to really deserve and earn his belt. Duke attempted to use Tommy's frustration towards being in Rocky's shadow, and him being the champion so belittled, to convince him to pull Rocky in the ring with him so he could earn his respect by beating him, but this greatly backfired when he, Tommy, and a little camera crew went to hound Rocky in town that night.
After Tommy and Rocky's conversation became heated, they engaged in a street fight, despite Duke's attempts to prevent it from happening anywhere outside the ring. After Rocky defeats Tommy, Duke dumped Tommy Gunn and strip him from the title. Rocky approached Duke, who threatened to sue him if he touch him. Rocky, despite this, knocked him down with an uppercut, nonchalantly replying, "Sue me for what?", since Rocky was broke.
Behind the scenes
He is based on real life boxing promoter Don King and portrayed by Richard Gant.
He is the second character in the series to be called "Duke", the other being Tony "Duke" Evers, a character who was once Apollo's trainer and later on Rocky's.