- "I'm the champ, I mean I get p****d this guy gets hurt."
- ―Mason Dixon to Rocky Balboa
Mason “The Line” Dixon (born July 4th, 1971) is an American former professional boxer who competed in the Heavyweight division during the 2000s. He reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion from 2003 until 2011. He is the main antagonist in Rocky Balboa (film)
In 2006 (Rocky Balboa (film)), 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 10 rounds. Dixon earned the respect of the media, fans and proved that he can battle through adversity.
We learn about Dixon's past when he revisits his old trainer Martin at his gym in Rocky Balboa (film). The gym seems to be in a small neighborhood due to its condition and size, on top of that Martin lives there. Martin mentions that Dixon walked into the gym by himself at the age of 10, hinting at the fact that Dixon grew up fighting for himself and that he put many hours into that gym. It is also implied that Dixon had a rough upbringing and that Martin was always there for him, basically watching him grow up. Dixon has been fighting his whole life; eventually, his hard work paid off, and he turned pro, dominating the heavyweight division with a 33-0 record, 30 knockouts and becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion.
Number One Boxer in the World
In 2006, Mason Dixon (35 years old) was at the height of his career at 33-0-0 with 30 KOs. He was a Tampa, Florida native who now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite the initial promise of his career and the fame that came with being undisputed champion, over the years, with the decline of the Heavyweight division and boxing in general, he had failed to capture the fans of the sport due to a lack of worthwhile contenders. He had the media questioning "is Mason Dixon that good? Or is his competition that bad?" Dixon had yet to face a real challenge and people believed that if Dixon was tested, he would lose. This is most evident in his latest title defense before the Balboa fight, where after a quick knockout win, the spectators showered him with boos and even pelted him with ice.
Dixon lived a lavish lifestyle; even his training facilities were high-tech, a stark contrast to his old Tampa gyms. Dixon acts as if all the comments from the media and fans don't get to him, shrugging them off when other people are around, but it's evident that the comments mean something to him when he tries 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 Martin. It seems that Martin has played a pivotal role in Dixon's life, Martin mentions that Dixon walked into the gym at 10 years old, meaning that Martin has practically watched Dixon grow up. He then mentions that he has always known what's best for Dixon, finally mentioning that soon enough, he will be tested by a formidable opponent, and his history can be written in that moment.
ESPN Simulated fight against Rocky Balboa
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 with the decline of boxing. The simulation ended in an 11th round knockout victory of Balboa over Dixon, with fans and media already disliking Dixon, they ran with this simulation and supported the Balboa victory. 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 with the intention of fighting a few small local fights re-applied for his boxing licensed and got it renewed since he passed his physical, Balboa passing made it onto the front page of the paper, alerting Dixon's managers. Dixon initially scoffs at the idea of fighting a 59-year-old Rocky Balboa, claiming he would beat Balboa "with his arms tied behind his back'' but his managers remind him that the last two PPV's were in the toilet and that there are no worthy challengers out there, meaning that nobody will pay to watch Dixon fight, they urge Dixon to capitalize on the computer fight, capitalize on nostalgia, telling him that he would make an easy $20 million from the fight, and have the chance to reinvent his image. Dixon's managers journey down to Philadelphia to try and talk Rocky into an exhibition match, they mention that a portion of the fight will be donated to charity and that Balboa wouldn't be brutalized because it will be an exhibition, like a glorified sparring session.
Challenging Rocky Balboa
The fight was marketed as "Will (Balboa) vs. Skill (Dixon)". The press conference took place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Dixon's manager opened the conference by stating the fight was Mason Dixon's idea, calling it the "brainchild'' of Mason Dixon as he hopes to honour past heavyweight champions, warriors like Rocky Balboa. Dixon seemed relaxed and chilled out, he was asked what would happen if he lost, in which he responded with a laugh and said ''You know that'll never happen'' Dixon lost his cool when a reporter questioned that Dixon's legacy and popularity were in doubt, causing Dixon to stand up, and take stance at the podium. He mentions that he is ''33-0, with 30 knockouts, what else do I have to do?" Dixon then goes on to say that he is having this exhibition for the fans and they still want to make a mockery out of him? Balboa and Dixon speak off the record at the weigh-ins, Dixon tells Balboa that he will do his best to carry him through the fight and that he won't get embarrassed, but if Balboa tries to press him, hurt him or hit him low, he will ''Get [Balboa] outta there'' meaning he will quickly KO him. Balboa tells him that he came to win, Dixon fires back by telling him it's already over, prompting Balboa to say it ain't over till it's over. Balboa then asks Dixon if he gets scared to which Dixon replied ''I don't get scared."
Dixon vs. Balboa
On the night of the fight, many were predicting a 1st, 2nd or 3rd round TKO victory for Mason Dixon, with the commentators calling it an ''execution'' before the fight began. The fight went exactly as experts predicted in the fight two rounds, Balboa was far too slow for the ultra-fast Dixon, Balboa was throwing hooks that weren't landing anywhere near Dixon, meanwhile, Dixon used his distance to slowly pick apart Balboa with his jab. Balboa landed a quick 1-2 towards the end of the first that shocked Dixon, causing him to push Balboa back and unload with strikes, knocking Balboa all the way back to the corner and unloading in the final 10 seconds of the round, this calls back to when Dixon told Balboa that if he pressed him, he will get him out of there. The stats for the first round had Balboa land 9 out of 13 punches compared to Dixon's 59 out of 69. Dixon's corner man Martin told Dixon that Balboa came to battle and that Dixon needs to show Balboa some respect. Dixon replies with ''What about my respect?'' pushing past Martin as the second round begins, clearly wanting to end the fight.
Dixon opens the second round with the same game plan, using his range and distance to keep Balboa at bay with jabs, but Dixon is clearly more agitated this round and is firing off a lot more quick jabs, hoping to end the fight. Dixon lands a right hook, dropping Balboa for a five count. Dixon immediately rushes Balboa, landing combinations to the gut and head, dropping Balboa for a second time with a left and right hook combo. The commentators, audience, and Dixon are all adamant that the fight is over, but Balboa is able to get up at the count of nine. Dixon argues with the referee to stop the fight, but as he does this Balboa catches him with a right hook, followed up with a left and right hook combo, pushing Dixon into the ropes. Dixon fights back and lands another combo, but breaks his right hand after a shot to Balboa's ribs. Dixon in clear pain backs away, but Balboa rushes him, unloading with shots to the ribs and head. Finally, Balboa traps Dixon in the corner and pummels him with shots to the ribs, causing Dixon to drop. Dixon is able to get back up at eight and the two fighters trade strikes until the end of the round.
Dixon fought the next three-four rounds with one hand, unable to throw his right hand. Due to this, Balboa won the third and fourth rounds by trapping Dixon in the corners and unloading with rights and lefts to the body and head. Balboa was able to close the range and distance easier as well because Dixon couldn't throw his right jab, the jab that kept Balboa at bay. Balboa's speed was a huge negative earlier in the fight, but now he didn't need to worry as much because he was able to get in close and catch Dixon because Dixon couldn't defend himself with that jab. In the 5th round, Dixon was able to fight back slightly, his right hand was beginning to numb up and he was slowly starting to use it again. Dixon used his evasive skills to dodge Balboa and pick him apart to win the round.
The 6th round was evidence that Dixon's right hand was not fully numbed yet as Balboa was able to again close the distance and trap Dixon in the corner, unloading with rights and lefts to the body. Finally, Dixon's hand was fully numbed in the seventh round and this was evident as Dixon began picking Balboa apart with right and left combos from a distance, just like he was in the first and second rounds. Dixon almost knocked down Balboa, landing a combo that caused Balboa to stumble into the ropes, almost falling, but quickly grabbing onto the ropes and keeping himself up. Round 8 was more of the same with Dixon brutalizing Balboa with some heavy right and left hooks, but as demonstrated throughout his entire career, Rocky has an iron jaw and was able to sustain all the punches. Round 9 reminded the world of how tough Rocky Balboa is, it reminded the world of the underdog, and how Balboa always digs down deep. Balboa dug down deep and really took it to Dixon in this round, landing some heavy punches and winning the round.
Heading into the tenth and final round, Dixon had won five rounds, presumably the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 8th. Balboa had won four, presumably the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 9th. At the beginning of the final round, Dixon chuckled as he called Balboa "One crazy old man'' Balboa responded by saying "You'll get there'' Balboa and Dixon mostly traded strikes for the final round, but Dixon was able to drop Balboa down to one knee at one stage with a heavy hook. Balboa was able to get back up and they continued to trade punches until the end of the round. At the end of the fight, Balboa and Dixon hugged, with Balboa calling Dixon a great champion, telling him that he has heart, and thanking him for the opportunity. The fight goes to the judge's scorecards, Michael Buffer announcing that it is a split decision, Dixon seems annoyed and shocked by this, Buffer begins reading out the scores, 95-94 Dixon, 95-94 Balboa, and 95-94 Dixon, giving Mason Dixon the split decision victory. It seems Dixon proved that he can battle when he is faced with adversity.
Events After Rocky Balboa
After Dixon's fight with Rocky in 2006, he earned the respect he deserved as champ, proving that he can go the distance. Over the next five years, Dixon won ten consecutive knockout victories before retiring undefeated in 2011.
Personality and Traits
- "Doubt? Upside? I mean what do I have to do? I'm 33-0 with 30 knockouts, and I'm doing you people a favour, I'm doing this exhibition for you all, and you gonna get up here and make a mockery outta me? I'M THE CHAMP!"
- ―Mason Dixon to Press
Dixon lives a lavish lifestyle, he has a big house, fancy cars, and is always followed around by his huge entourage. In connection to those things, he seems to flash his wealth around similarly to real-life boxer Floyd ''Money'' Mayweather''. Dixon's flashy knocks out mixed with how he acts indifferent about the victories, shrugging them off like nothing, and not respecting his opponents is similar to Mike Tyson early in his career. Overall Dixon shows little respect to his opponents due to his belief that he is that much better, making him an arrogant, cocky fighter; but in the end, he shows great respect towards Rocky after the latter thanked him for the opportunity, also because he underestimated his opponent as the veteran Rocky proved to be his toughest challenger despite the age, giving him a hard time in the ring and nearly losing the fight at the end.
In alternative scene where it showed Dixon losing the fight, he has a humbled side where shows great respect, not using the obvious his hand was injured or that he took it easy on an old man excuses, instead taking his hat off to Balboa and accepting what the senior fighter said that "Nothing's over till it's over."
Dixon's boxing style is reliant on speed He is ultra-quick and uses his speed to slice and dice opponents, evading their strikes and cutting them down with combos. He also uses his reach advantage to keep opponents at bay, popping them with countless jabs and awaiting the opening to strike with a hook. Dixon has a smooth slashing offence that is very difficult to counter.
Professional Boxing Record
|34||Win||33-0-0||Rocky Balboa||SD||10||2006||Las Vegas, Nevada||Balboa's return to the ring. Dixon won but does count towards his record for this fight was an exhibition.|
|33||Win||33-0-0||Mason Dixon's unnamed opponent||KO||Early rounds||2006||Las Vegas, Nevada|
Undisputed WBA, WBC, The Ring & Lineal Heavyweight Champion (2003 - 2011; titles vacated)
''I'm the champ, I mean I get pissed this guy gets hurt." - Mason Dixon to Rocky Balboa
[Before final round] ''You one crazy old man" - Mason Dixon to Rocky Balboa
''But you know that ain't never gunna happen, there ain't anybody out there Martin." - Mason Dixon to Martin
"Ay man don't talk to me like I'm stupid'' - Mason Dixon to his Manager
"I'm doing you people a favour, I'm doing this exhibition for you all, and you gonna get up here and make a mockery outta me?" - Mason Dixon to the Press
- 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.
- Mason Dixon is easily the least vile Rocky antagonist, aside from maybe Apollo Creed.
- Dixon's victory over Rocky was not added to his official record due it being an exhibition fight.