- "I'm the champ, I mean I get pissed this guy gets hurt."
- ―Mason Dixon to Rocky Balboa
Mason “The Line” Dixon (born July 4th, 1971) is a retired heavyweight boxer and former lineal/undisputed Heavyweight Champion (series is yet to specify the end of Dixon's reign). He is the main antagonist in Rocky Balboa (film)
In 2006 Dixon had cleared out the entire heavyweight division accumulating a perfect record of 33-0 with 30 knockouts, despite his dominance Dixon was not accepted by the fans or media as a legitimate champion due to his poor competition. The heavyweight division was viewed as being at its worst ever due to Dixon defeating all opponents with ease, the lack of challengers had the media and fans questioning if Dixon was that good or if it was just because of the weak competition. Dixon had never been tested or pushed to his limits, many fans believed that if he was pushed that he would lose. During this time, ESPN aired a simulated fight between Rocky Balboa and Mason Dixon, both in their primes, Balboa won the simulated fight via knockout. Around the same time that the simulated fight aired, Balboa requested a boxing license, due to feeling that he had some frustrations locked away and that a few small, local fights would help him let those frustrations out. Dixon’s manager frightened that nobody wanted to watch Dixon fight anymore due to the predictable outcomes proposed that Dixon fight Balboa in an exhibition, expressing that it will help with Dixon’s image and make him millions. Reluctant at first, Dixon accepts.
Dixon breaks his hand in the second round of the fight, but he fights through, taking all that Rocky has to offer and wins the fight by split decision after 12 rounds. Dixon earnt the respect of the media, fans and proved that he can battle through the adversary.
Mason Dixon (25 years old) was at the height of his career at 33-0-0 with 30 KOs, and became the heavyweight champion of the world after defeating Mike Tyson. He was a Tampa, Florida native who resided in Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite the initial promise of his career and the fame that came with the title, over the years, with the decline of the Heavyweight division and boxing in general, he had failed to capture the fans of the sport by due to a lack of worthwhile contenders.
This is most evident in his latest defence, where after a quick knockout win, the spectators pelted him with ice.
Dixon lived a lavish lifestyle; even his training facilities were high-tech, a stark contrast to his old Vegas and Tampa gyms. Well aware of his status in the eyes of boxing fans, he tried to escape his entourage, retreating to his fleet of cars to watch videos of his latest match and listen to the comments from Jim Lampley. Upset that many feel him the product of an inferior division in a corrupt sport, he retreated to his old gym once more, and confided in his former trainer, who mentions that soon enough, he will be tested by a formidable opponent, and his history can be written in that moment.
Meanwhile, ESPN broadcasted "Then and Now", a segment pitting the best athletes of the past against the best of the present, and Dixon was matched up against Rocky Balboa, the former two-time champion whose fame has also faded after retirement and with the decline in the sport's popularity. After the simulation ended in a 11th round knockout victory of Balboa over Dixon, Dixon's promoters went public with a strong denouncement of the simulation, going as far as to insult Balboa for owning a small successful Philadelphia restaurant.
Rocky Balboa re-applied for his boxing licensed and got it renewed since he past his physical. Without Dixon's authorisation, his promoters, desperate for a moneymaking fight, journeyed to Philadelphia to try and talk Rocky into an exhibition match. Since Dixon has no offers right now, he initially refused to fight Balboa, arguing with his managers that he would easily defeat Rocky. Angry that they went behind his back, he dismissed his promoters, but accepted the bout nonetheless and gets back with his old trainer (although his training wasn't particularly serious.)
Despite the match being only a ten-round exhibition, Rocky was well aware of what happened to Apollo when he was unprepared against Ivan Drago and made it clear that he was training his heart out. Meanwhile, Dixon slacked off, stating to the press that the boxing community in general should only be worried about Balboa's health, not how hard Dixon would fight. He became enraged when the press continued to question his ability to win, stating that he was only fighting Balboa for the fans, and that his goal was to appease people who questioned his toughness, as despite Rocky Balboa's age, he is regarded as one of the toughest boxers in the history of the sport.
Still, when confronted by the evidence of how hard Rocky was training, Mason was privately impressed. Off the record, he confronted Balboa, reminding him that this is just for Dixon's own prestige and Rocky to get a paycheque. Dixon went even further to insult Balboa, saying that if the former champion pressed him, he would quickly end the fight.
When the match came, however, the outcome was alarming to most. Although Dixon landed a barrage of punches in the first round, and knocked down Balboa twice in the second round, Dixon struggled in the rounds to come. Rocky, despite having lost a great deal of speed, still had his trademark power, enhanced even more by training with Apollo's old trainer Duke. Mason, who was visibly out of shape, suddenly found himself in trouble, and pressed too hard to end the fight quickly throws a low hook to the body that connects with Balboa's hipbone, breaking Dixon's hand. Rocky knocked down Dixon, Dixon was knocked down for the first time in his career and he almost lost the fight when he got up on time. Until the hand numbed from the pain several rounds later, Dixon had to fight essentially one-handed, and lost most of the early rounds. Late in the fight, however, his speed, striking ability and confidence returned, and in the decisive final round he defiantly stood toe to toe with Balboa, trading powerful punches ferociously until the final bell (accomplishing something that even Balboa's great nemeses of the past couldn't do). The fight went to the judge's scorecard; before the scores were read, Rocky walked out of the ring with his friends and family, knowing that the match was about retiring on his own terms with one final inspirational showing. And Dixon, exhausted, celebrated as Michael Buffer announced his victory by split decision, knowing that no one would question his toughness again. After the fight, he congratulated Rocky and told him he was a good fighter. Rocky told him he was a good champ and a good fighter to give him the opportunity to say good bye.
After Rocky Balboa
After Dixon's fight with Rocky in 2006, he earned the respect he deserved as champ. However, the series is yet to specify what happened to Dixon afterwards.
Behind the scenes
- His flashy ability to knock out opponents quickly and then seem indifferent about the achievement is based on the early performances of Mike Tyson. Roy Jones, Jr. is another boxer Dixon was perhaps patterned after because Stallone originally wanted Jones for the role but the boxer did not return Stallone's phone call, so it went to Tarver. His public image in the film of being spooned his opponents and undefeated record is based on Welterweight fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr.
- Of the three on-screen opponents who managed to defeat Rocky in the ring (the other two being Apollo Creed and James "Clubber" Lang), Dixon was the only one not to be defeated in a subsequent rematch. An alternate ending shot for the film, however, did, in fact, had the split decision go to Rocky, instead of Dixon.
- Rocky Balboa (First appearance)