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- "You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward."
- ―Rocky Balboa to Rocky Balboa, Jr. in Rocky Balboa
Robert "Rocky" Balboa, Sr. (born July 6th, 1946) is an Italian-American retired heavyweight boxer and former Two-Time Heavyweight Champion. He is famous for his indomitable spirit, extreme tenacity and ferocious body attack. Balboa is the titular protagonist in Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, Rocky V and Rocky Balboa and the deuteragonist in Creed and Creed II.
Rocky: An Opportunity
On November 25, 1975, Rocky Balboa is introduced as a small-time boxer and "leg-breaker," or debt collector, for an apparently "connected" loan shark named Anthony Gazzo. He lives in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Rocky is first seen defeating the boxer Spider Rico in the second round, but is considered by the audience to be a bum. The World Heavyweight Championship bout, with undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed defending against Mac Lee Green, is scheduled to take place at the Philadelphia Spectrum on New Year's Day 1976, the year of the United States Bicentennial. When Green drops out because of an injured hand, Creed and his entourage, and trainer (Tony "Duke" Evers) are stymied on what to do. Other contenders say there is not enough time to get into shape.
Creed comes up with the idea of giving a local underdog a shot at the title and, because he likes Rocky's nickname "The Italian Stallion," he selects the relatively unknown fighter. He puts it in lights by proclaiming "Apollo Creed Meets The Italian Stallion." The fight promoter Miles Jergens says the decision is "very American"; but Creed says, rather, that it is "very smart."
To prepare for the fight Rocky trains with a 1920s-era ex-bantamweight fighter and gym owner, Mickey Goldmill. Mickey always considered Rocky's potential to be better than his effort—telling him he had heart but also calling him a "tomato" and "leg breaker for some cheap second-rate loan shark" among other endearments, and putting Rocky out of his gym locker preceding the "freak luck" opportunity that comes Rocky's way, and Rocky is initially skeptical of Mickey's motives and timing for wanting to train Rocky for the big fight. Rocky's good friend Paulie Pennino, a meat-packing-plant worker, lets him practice his punches on the carcasses hanging in the freezers.
Rocky courts and eventually dates Paulie's shy, quiet sister, Adrian Pennino, who works as a clerk in a local pet store. He draws Adrian out of her shell and, as Rocky's girlfriend, she begins to gain in confidence. Paulie, however, is jealous of the relationship. The night before the fight, Rocky privately tours the Spectrum and notices the photograph of him wearing the wrong coloured shorts. Mr. Jergens tells Rocky the incorrect photograph doesn't really matter. Dejected, Rocky confides to Adrian that he does not expect to beat Creed and that all he wants is to go the distance because no one had ever gone the distance with Creed.On New Year's Day, the climactic boxing match begins. Apollo Creed has never taken the fight seriously, and Rocky unexpectedly knocks him down in the first round (the first time Creed has been knocked down in his professional career), embarrassing Creed, and the match turns intense. Creed's prediction that he would knockout Rocky in three rounds is quickly erased as the two fighters engage in a brutal match. Creed realises that he has underestimated his opponent and desperately defends his title. The fight indeed lasts 15 rounds, with both fighters sustaining many injuries; Rocky suffers his first broken nose and debilitating trauma around the eye, and Creed sustains brutal blows to his ribs with substantial internal bleeding. As the match progresses, Creed's superior skill is countered by Rocky's apparently unlimited ability to absorb punishment, and his dogged refusal to be knocked out. As the final round bell sounds, with both fighters locked in each others arms, an exhausted Creed vows "Ain't gonna be no re-match," to which an equally spent Rocky replies, "Don't want one."After the fight, multiple layers of drama are played out: sportscasters and audience are going wild; the promoter/ring announcer Miles Jergens announces over the loudspeaker that the match was "the greatest exhibition of guts and stamina in the history of the ring"; Rocky calls out repeatedly for Adrian, who runs down and comes into the ring as Paulie distracts the security personnel. As Jergens declares Apollo Creed the winner by virtue of a split decision (8:7, 7:8, 9:6), Adrian and Rocky embrace while they profess their love to one another, not caring about the result of the fight. After that fight, Rocky Balboa became a national celebrity and endorsements poured in for him.
Rocky II: The Rematch
Following the fight at the end of Rocky, in which Apollo Creed has successfully defended his heavyweight title in a split decision, he and Rocky are taken to the same hospital for treatment of their injuries. Apollo challenges Rocky to a rematch in front of the press, but Rocky declines and announces his retirement. Rocky became a national celebrity and a worldwide hero going the distance against Creed. He was offered a lot of endorsements offers after that fight. His girlfriend Adrian supports this choice, as do his doctors, who reveal he will require surgery for a detached retina, which could lead to permanent blindness. After Rocky is discharged from the hospital, he begins to enjoy the benefits of his life's changes resulting from the match: Rocky's new fame attracts him an agent who sees Rocky as a potential endorsement and sponsorship goldmine and his sudden wealth encourages him to propose to Adrian. She happily accepts and they marry in a small ceremony. Soon after, Rocky and Adrian happily learn that Adrian is pregnant with their first child. His first commercial beast after shave commercial was terrible, he care barely read the lines. He quit after that. He couldn't find any other job, since he never graduated high school and they offered him a manual labor job. But Paulie his brother in law gave him his old job in Shamrock Meat. Rocky needed the money and he took it. Rocky loved that job, but he got fired because they were cutting back. He went to Mickey and ask him to train him. He is considering accepting a rematch against Creed. He went the distance last time, maybe this time he will go for the win. But Mickey was against it, tested him that he doesn't have the tools like he used to. Rocky asked him for a job in his gym, Mickey accepted it.
Meanwhile, fuelled by hate mail he has started to receive by the outraged fans, who claim that he was defeated and that the judges were voting in his favour, Apollo becomes obsessed with the idea that a rematch is the only way to prove that Rocky's performance was simply a fluke. Determined to rectify his boxing career's only blemish, Apollo ignores all pleas by his friends and family to forget the fight and move on to other potential opponents, and instead, demands his team do whatever necessary to goad Rocky out of retirement and into a rematch with him.
Rocky at first seems unaffected by Apollo's smear campaign, but his inexperience with money causes him to run into financial problems. After largely unsuccessful attempts to find employment, Rocky visits Mickey Goldmill his trainer and manager, at his gym to talk about the possibility of returning to the ring. At first, Mickey refuses, worried about Rocky's health, but changes his mind after Apollo publicly insults Rocky on television. Adrian confronts Rocky about the danger of returning to fighting and reminds him of the risk to his eyesight. Rocky argues he knows nothing else so this is the only way he can provide. Adrian, angry at Rocky for breaking his promise, refuses to support him.
Rocky and Mickey begin training, but it soon becomes apparent Rocky is not focused on the job at hand due to Adrian's disapproval. Adrian's brother, Paulie confronts his sister about not supporting her husband, but she faints during the confrontation and is rushed to the hospital where she goes into labor. Despite being premature, the baby is healthy but Adrian falls into a coma. Rocky blames himself for what has happened and refuses to leave Adrian's bedside until she wakes up, and will not go to see his new baby until they can see it together. When Adrian comes out of her coma, she finds Rocky by her bedside and the couple are shown their new baby, a boy, which they name Robert "Rocky" jr. Adrian gives her blessing to the rematch which enables Rocky to refocus on his training and he quickly gets into shape for the fight.The night of the fight arrives and Apollo has made a public goal of beating Rocky in no more than two rounds to prove the first fight going the full 15 rounds was a fluke. Rocky, fighting right-handed to protect his eye instead of his natural southpaw, is not able to mount much of an offensive effort through the first two rounds but manages to survive them disproving Apollo's theory that the first fight's result was a fluke. As before, the fight once again reaches the 15th round, by which point Apollo has built a lead on points that Rocky cannot possibly beat. However, Apollo's obsession with knocking Rocky out (against the advice of his corner men) leads him to trade blows with Rocky despite his lead.In the final round, Rocky, who switched the tactics and is fighting left-handed again, lands a devastating blow on Apollo that knocks the champ down, but an exhausted Rocky loses his balance and falls to the canvas as well. Rocky manages to stand up before the referee counts to ten, while Apollo is counted out, having his first defeat. Rocky thus wins the fight by knockout and becomes the heavyweight champion of the world. In his post-fight announcement Rocky, who has won back the respect of his fans and Adrian, humbly thanks Apollo for the match.
Rocky III: The New Challenge
In the three years since winning the world heavyweight title, Rocky has had a string of ten successful title defences and has seen his fame, wealth and celebrity increase. Rocky did better in commercials like he did last time and he earned those endorsements when he won the title. Meanwhile, Rocky's trainer Mickey worriedly eyes a young and hungry fighter named James "Clubber" Lang. Lang rapidly climbs the ranks with six consecutive knockouts and is now the number one contender for Rocky's heavyweight championship.
While unveiling a statue of himself at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rocky is publicly challenged by Lang. Lang accuses Rocky of selective matchmaking by intentionally accepting challenges from lesser opponents. Lang also questions Rocky's manhood to his wife Adrian enraging Rocky, who accepts his challenge.
Rocky's trainer Mickey initially wants no part of the match and refuses to train Rocky. After Rocky demands to know why, Mickey tells him that Lang was correct and all of his title defences were fought against handpicked opponents in order to keep him successful, as well as to avoid more devastating injuries, such as the ones he suffered in the fight against Apollo Creed in their two matches. Mickey also tells Rocky that if he fights Lang, he would "kill (him) to death inside of three rounds" because Lang is younger, stronger, and hungrier than Rocky. Knowing this, Rocky questions his whole title reign and Mickey agrees to train Rocky for the fight, which Rocky declares will be his last.
Both fighters go in different directions in regards to their training for the fight. Lang works out alone in a spartan setting with very little equipment. Rocky, on the other hand, rents out a hotel ballroom and opens his training camp to the public with dozens of distractions that frustrate Mickey, who fears they will lead to disaster in the fight.
Lang and Rocky meet at Philadelphia's Spectrum. During a melee before the fight, Lang shoves Mickey, who suffers a heart attack. Rocky decides to call off the fight, but Mickey refuses and implores him to fight and win. As the fight begins, Rocky comes out aggressively and tries to knock out the challenger early. Lang, however, is unfazed by the early assault and quickly takes control of the fight. By the end of the first round Rocky is battered and bloody, and calls for Mickey. The condition of his trainer continues to distract him into the second round, where Lang knocks Rocky out to win the title.
Rocky heads back to his dressing room, where Mickey has taken a turn for the worse. Rocky tells Mickey that the fight ended by knockout in the second round but does not say he lost. He tries to convince Mickey there is more to do, but Mickey simply says, "I love ya, kid," and dies in Rocky's arms. Rocky is devastated at losing his manager, mentor and father figure.
Rocky goes into a deep depression fueled by Mickey's death, no longer sure if he was ever truly the champion. One night, he rides to his statue and in a fit of anger throws his motorcycle at it. He then stops at Mickey's now-shuttered gym where he is confronted by Apollo Creed, who tells him that Rocky has lost his edge and needs to get it back. To do this, Apollo offers to train Rocky for a rematch with Lang. Rocky agrees and he, with Adrian and Paulie, follows Apollo to Los Angeles. Apollo's plan is to take Rocky back to the basics, from putting him and his family up in an old, unkempt hotel in Creed's old neighbourhood, as well as returning to his old gym, where he hooks Rocky up with Duke, Apollo's former trainer.
Despite Apollo's best efforts at getting Rocky back into fighting shape, Rocky is still distraught and disillusioned. However, Adrian finally decides to talk to Rocky who, in his frustration, admits to being afraid and feeling responsible for Mickey's death. Through heated compassionate criticism Adrian is finally able to talk him out of his funk and convince him to get back on track, and with Apollo and Duke's expertise, Rocky develops into a completely different fighter by trading his power game for a quick hitting counter-attacking style, which confuses everyone including Lang.
The rematch is held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. At the start of the fight, Rocky sprints from his corner, fighting with a level of skill and spirit that no one expected. As a result, Rocky dominates the first round. After the bell, Lang is in a fit of rage and has to be restrained by his trainers. In the second round, Rocky starts as he did in the first. However, Lang gains the upper hand; from here he dominates Rocky, knocking him down twice. Getting up from the second KD, Rocky adopts a strategy that bewilders Apollo (and Lang) by intentionally taking a beating from Lang while taunting him for being unable to knock him out. The round ends with a verbal altercation between Lang and Rocky.
In the third round, Lang (who is used to winning fights swiftly with knockouts in the early rounds) becomes increasingly angry and quickly exhausts his energy trying to finish Rocky off with repeated knockout blows, most of which miss the newly-agile Rocky. Rocky taunts the champion in order to psych him out, and the aggressive Lang is infuriated. He attacks even harder, walking into Rocky's trap. The tide turns, and Rocky overpowers the winded and outboxed Lang, knocking him out and re-gaining the heavyweight championship of the world.
Afterwards, Rocky fulfils Apollo's vague "big favour": a private rematch with him at Mick's old gym. The film concludes with the fighters throwing their first punch simultaneously, but this time, after the two massive bouts between them previously, this fight is purely for pride and they fight in the spirit of friendly competition rather than as fierce rivals.
Rocky IV: East vs. West
In 1985, Ivan Drago, an immensely muscular 6-foot 5, 261-pound Soviet boxer, arrives in the United States with his wife Ludmilla, and a team of trainers from the USSR and Cuba. His manager, Nicolai Koloff, takes every opportunity to promote Drago's athleticism as a hallmark of Soviet superiority. Motivated by patriotism and an innate desire to prove himself, Apollo Creed challenges Drago to an exhibition bout. Rocky has reservations, but agrees to train Apollo despite his misgivings about the fight. He asks Apollo whether the fight is against the Russian, or "you against you".
During a press conference regarding the match, hostility is created between Apollo and Drago's respective camps. The exhibition takes place at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Apollo enters the ring, wearing his old Uncle Sam outfit, in an over-the-top patriotic entrance with James Brown performing "Living in America" complete with showgirls. The bout starts tamely with Apollo landing several punches that have no effect on the Russian. It soon turns serious though, as Drago starts clobbering hard. Apollo is worn by the end of the first round. Rocky and Apollo's trainer Duke plead with him to give up, but Apollo refuses to do so, and tells Rocky to promise him not to stop the fight no matter what. The second round doesn't go any better, and despite Duke begging Rocky to throw in the towel, he reluctantly honours Apollo's wish. To his ever-lasting regret, this turns out to have fatal consequences as Drago lands a final punch on Apollo that knock him to the ground, killing him.
In the immediate aftermath, Drago displays no sense of remorse commenting to the assembled media: "If he dies... he dies." Rocky gave the eulogy at his funeral, he didn't lose a best friend. He lost his brother figure and he thanked him for making him the greater fighter he was.
Incensed by Drago's cold indifference and feeling a deep sense of guilt, Rocky decides to avenge Apollo's death by agreeing to fight Drago in Russia on Christmas Day in a 15-round bout. As the match is unsanctioned, he is required to forfeit the title. He flies to the USSR without Adrian, setting up his training base in Krasnogourbinsk with only Duke and brother-in-law Paulie to accompany him. To prepare for the fight, Drago uses very high-tech equipment, steroid enhancement, and a team of trainers and doctors monitoring his every movement. Rocky, on the other hand, throws heavy logs, chops down trees, pulls an overloaded snow sleigh, jogs in heavy snow and treacherous icy conditions and climbs a mountain. Adrian shows up unexpectedly to give Rocky her support after initially refusing to travel to Russia because of her doubts on his fighting chances. Her arrival increases Rocky's focus and enhances his training.
Drago is introduced with an elaborate, patriotic ceremony that puts the Russian crowd squarely on Drago's side. Rocky turns up more muscular and confident than ever, but is booed by all in attendance. In contrast to his fight with Apollo, Drago immediately goes on the offensive and Rocky takes a fierce pounding. Rocky comes back toward the end of the second and silences the Russian crowd by landing a strong right hook that cuts Drago just below his left eye. While Drago is visibly shaken, Rocky is fired up and assaults Drago, which continues even after the bell rings. While Duke and Paulie cheer Rocky for his heroism, they remind him that Drago is not a machine, but a man. Ironically, Drago comments that Rocky "is not human, he is like a piece of iron" with his own corner reprimanding him for being "weak" in comparison to the "small American."
The two boxers continue to hit each other over the next dozen rounds, with Rocky holding his ground despite Drago's powerful punches. His resilience rallies the previously hostile Soviet crowd to his side, which unsettles Drago to the point that he shoves Koloff off the ring for berating his performance. Rocky finally takes out Drago in the 15th and last round, winning by knockout to the shock of the Soviet Politburo members watching the fight.
A bloody and battered Rocky gives a victory speech that's translated to Russian, acknowledging the mutual disdain at first between himself and the crowd. He says it is like the wider disdain between Russians and Americans, but that he and the crowd have come to respect and admire each other during the course of the fight. Rocky adds that the crowd has seen "two guys killin' each other, but I guess that's better than 20 million". Rocky finally declares, "If I can change, and you can change, then everybody can change!" The Soviet General Secretary stands and passionately applauds Rocky, and his aides follow suit. Rocky ends his speech by wishing his son a Merry Christmas, and throws his arms into the air in victory as the crowd applauds on Christmas Day.
Rocky V: Retirement and Return to South Philadelphia
At the press conference held at the airport upon returning home, a flamboyant promoter named George Washington Duke showed up and challenged Rocky to fight Duke's protege, Union Cane who had been declared the new heavyweight champion. Rocky, however, easily blew off the challenge and headed back home with his family.
That evening, Robert overheard an argument between Adrian and Paulie. It turned out that during their stay in Russia, Paulie had inadvertently given power of attorney to the Balboas' shady accountant, who then disappeared with their fortune when the accountant duped Rocky and Paulie to sign a tax extension, but it wasn't a tax extension it was power of attorney. Rocky's accountant embezzled his fortune and had invested it in a real estate scheme that had crashed, which he hoped that he could make quick cash and cover his track by using his expected profit to pay back to Rocky's family. He lost a lot of money on that investment and made Rocky broke. The family's lawyer also revealed that he had filed 8 criminal acts against the accountant but their mortgage was not entirely paid off, and that Rocky still owed six years of back taxes because of the accountant. The family's lawyer had a solution, if he accepted the fight against Union Cane, the ticket money from the event will enable him to be out of this debt no time. Adrian didn't want him to fight again, but Rocky refused and is considering called Duke to schedule a fight against Union Cane. That would get his fortune back. But Adrian stopped him and asked him to see a doctor first. Rocky refused, but decided to go through with it for Adrian. There was bad news from the doctor, as he confirmed that Rocky was suffering from Cavum septum pellucidum, a condition common to boxers who take too many hard hits to the head. Now coming to grips with the fact another fight would mean certain death, not to mention against a skilled ranked heavyweight like Cane, Rocky publicised his retirement, effectively ending his fighting career. The announcement of Rocky's official retirement made headlines. Rocky declared himself bankrupt leading to his mansion and almost all of his possessions being repossessed, leaving him and his family broke. The only asset remaining was Mighty Mick's Gym, which had been willed to Rocky by Mickey thereby keeping it safe from the accountant. 
Luckily, Paulie had kept his old home in South Philadelphia, and in 1986, the family packed up and moved back into the modest home. Rocky assured Adrian that the move would only be temporary. 
Some time later, Rocky reopened Mickey's old gym, Mighty Mick's Gym, and was approached by a young fighter named Tommy Gunn. Tommy came from Oklahoma, and was eager to meet Rocky, with the intent of showing him how good of a fighter he was and hoped Rocky would become his manager after seeing him in action. At first, Rocky was unsure about the idea, not considering himself manager material, but he eventually began to see his younger self in Tommy, and feeling he could pass on some of Mickey's teachings to Tommy, he not only accepted to become his manager, but also offered him to stay with his family. Tommy could have helped Rocky get his fortune back if Rocky leads him to the heavy title. Starting then, Rocky began to relive the older days; he was Mick, and Tommy was Rocky, and since he had to retire, he felt that through Tommy, he would feel like he would win again, feel in his prime again. This unfortunately had a bad side effect, as Rocky became so focused on his role as Tommy's manager, and Tommy himself, that he began to neglect his son, rapidly severing the bond between the two. That bond would be rekindled later.
The more Tommy fought, the more he became famous, but all for the wrong reasons. If the media referred to Tommy, it was indirectly through Rocky (i.e. "Rocky's Gunn aims at the title!"), and Tommy became frustrated for being trapped in Rocky's shadow. George Washington Duke tempted him with promises of fame and riches, and Tommy aligned himself with him instead of Rocky. Tommy dumped Rocky as his manager for Duke. He was also given a chance at the title, something he wanted very eagerly. During the match between Union Cane and Tommy, Rocky watched the match through television rather excitedly, cheering him on and even punching his punching bag in symmetry with Tommy's punches.
Cane had an early lead, and almost knocked Tommy down, but Tommy made a sudden comeback toward the end of the round, and knocked Cane out. After Tommy won the match, Rocky literally screamed and jumped in joy, and when Tommy was about to thank the man whom he described as the one that got him there, and Rocky smiled as he knew he was talking about him, or so he thought. Hearing Tommy give all the credits to Duke and thank him for everything, followed by the crowd showing great displeasure towards Tommy, and praising Rocky instead, while on his end, Rocky lost all the excitement and his smile from the event, and after his son tried to comfort him, Paulie asked him to go out with him to take his mind out of all of this.
After being insulted by the media in comparison to Rocky, they told Tommy that Cane was a paper champion that he never won the belt from Rocky. He never fought a real champion and his frustration and rage fuelled by Duke in his scheme to get Tommy to taunt Rocky into a ring, they both went to look for Rocky in town with the press and the camera crew, and after finding him, began taunting him into fighting him in a ring; Tommy, however, vented off his anger at Rocky, the very man who trained him to become the fighter that he is and the one who genuinely cared for him, who was prepared to ignore him until Paulie began criticising Tommy. The new champion's response was to punch Paulie down, resulting in an angered Rocky to challenge him into trying to knock him down now. Duke tried to stop the imminent fight by saying that Tommy would only fight in the ring. Rocky followed by saying, "My ring's outside." This triggered a street fight between the two former friends.
Surrounded by a crowd, which was entirely on Rocky's side, Rocky took the initiative by punching Tommy down, then expressed his disappointment in how they should've been friends, like brothers, two fingers of the same hand, and walked off. However, Tommy got back up and attacked Rocky from behind. A few of the crowd attempted to help Rocky out of this back attack, resulting in them being punched out by a wild Tommy. After taking a brief beating from Tommy, Rocky began having flashbacks of his horrifying fight with Ivan Drago, and lost his focus almost completely over what was happening until he began having flashbacks of Mickey instead, with the words, "Get up and fight, you son-of-a-bitch, 'cause Mickey loves ya!" echoing through his head.
Completely rejuvenated, Rocky got back on his feet, and taunted Tommy into fighting "one more round" with him. Cheered on by the crowd, which now included his wife and son, Rocky eventually knocked his former pupil out. Duke dumped Tommy Gunn and strip him from the title when he lost that street fight against Rocky. He then approached Duke, who threatened to sue him should he lay a finger on him, but Rocky knocked him down with an uppercut and nonchalantly asked him, "Sue me for what? Since he is broke"
Rocky completely moved on from the boxing world after the Tommy Gunn incident, and in 1995, opened a small but successful restaurant named Adrian's, after his beloved wife. The walls of the place were adorned with several family photos as well as magazine covers and pictures from throughout Rocky's fighting career. The patrons loved it when Rocky would visit their table and tell them stories about his past fights.
Rocky's world came crashing down in 2002 when Adrian succumbed to ovarian cancer. Every year afterward, on the anniversary of her death, Rocky would visit Adrian's grave and tour all of the places (Rocky's old apartment, the site of the old skating rink and J&M Tropical Fish, the pet store where Adrian worked for years) that held some significance to them.
By early 2005, Rocky was pushing 60 and living out his days mainly focusing on his restaurant, he is no longer broke and doing a lot of better than he is now. He was content with the modest life he'd been living for the past fifteen years, and he continued to be recognised on the streets and received friendly greetings from fellow Philadelphians. He even managed to reconnect with a woman named Marie, who, as a young girl, Rocky had saved from going down the wrong path in life.
Rocky Balboa: The Final Round
In 2006, Rocky Balboa has been retired from boxing for twenty years and lives a quiet life as a widower. His wife Adrian Pennino Balboa had died from cancer four years earlier. Adrian's is still very successful, where he regales his patrons with stories of his past. He is still a big shot celebrity and Philadelphians have never forgotten him wherever he goes. He also battles personal demons involving his grief over Adrian's death, the changing times, and his eroding relationship with his son Robert, a struggling corporate employee. Paulie Pennino, Rocky's brother-in-law and best friend, continues to support him whenever he can. Paulie went back to his old job at Shamrock Meat.
Late one night, Rocky reunites with a much older "Little" Marie, a once mischievous neighbourhood girl that Rocky met when she was a child, now working as a bartender at the Lucky Seven (a bar Rocky once frequented in the mid-1970s), and a single parent of a teenage son born out of wedlock: Stephenson, nicknamed "Steps". Rocky's friendship with the two quickly blossoms over the following weeks, and Steps takes to him as a father figure.
Meanwhile on the professional boxing circuit, Mason "The Line" Dixon reigns as the undisputed world heavyweight champion. ESPN broadcasts a computer simulation of a fight between Rocky (in his prime) and Mason — likened to a modern-day version of The Super Fight, a 1970 computer simulation of a 15-round fight between Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali in their prime (that Marciano "won" by a KO in the 13th round) — which ends in a controversial KO victory for Balboa, riling the champ. In contrast, the simulation inspires Rocky to take up boxing again — an intention that goes public when he successfully renews his license. Dixon's promoters pitch the idea of holding a charity exhibition bout at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas to bolster Dixon's falling popularity. Rocky was reluctant at first, when they came to his restaurant and offered him the proposition. But talking to Marie, he decided to go for it and take that exhibition fight. Rocky became a bigger celebrity and was offered a lot of endorsement deals with that fight thanks to Paulie.
With some hesitation, both men agree to the match, creating a media buzz that stabs at Rocky's has-been status and Dixon's credibility; Dixon having yet to face a challenging opponent. Robert later makes an effort to discourage Rocky from fighting, blaming his own personal failings on his father's celebrity shadow, but Rocky rebukes him with some advice: that to succeed in life, "it ain't about how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward", and that blaming others won't help him. The next day, father and son meet over Adrian's grave and reconcile; Robert has quit his job to be at Rocky's side. Rocky sets straight to training with Apollo Creed's old trainer Duke who quickly surmises that the slow and arthritic Rocky can only compete by building his strength and punching power as much as possible.
The fight becomes an HBO pay-per-view event. Dixon easily dominates the first round only to injure his left hand against Rocky's hip in the second, after which Rocky makes a dramatic comeback: he manages to knock Dixon down once and then continues to surprise the audience with his prowess and chin against the much younger and faster fighter. Dixon sends Rocky to one knee in the final round, but the elder fighter pulls himself to his feet for one last assault. The two opponents then continue to punish each other severely throughout the remainder of the final round, ending with the two fighters both still standing. Rocky thanks an appreciative Dixon for the fight and leaves the ring to the adulation of the crowd as the result is announced: A win for Mason Dixon by split decision. The fans still cheered for Rocky and he became a bigger celebrity for going the distance against Dixon. He finally got a chance to say goodbye to boxing for good. He never had a chance to back then after fighting against Ivan Drago.
In the closing shot, Rocky returns home and visits Adrian's grave again; thanking her for helping him.
Creed: Training Adonis Johnson Creed
Nine years after the Mason Dixon fight, Rocky still lived a quiet life in an nicer house back in upper-class Philadelphia. Adonis Johnson Creed never knew his famous father, World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. Still, there’s no denying that boxing is in his blood. After arriving from Los Angeles, Donnie tracks down Rocky at Adrian's just before closing time and asks Rocky to become his trainer. Rocky is reluctant to get back into boxing, having already made a one-off comeback at a very advanced age despite having suffered brain trauma during his career as a fighter. One reason why he doesn't want to manage Adonis Creed, because of Tommy Gunn, where George Washington Duke stole his prize pupil from him. He can also immediately tell just by the way Donnie talks that the young man has a higher education, and doesn't get why he wants to be a boxer when he really doesn't have to. However, Rocky still feels guilt about Apollo's death, and seeing that the son is determined to box decides that he will train Donnie the very best he can, as his knowledge will help keep the young man safe in the ring. On November 19, after Donnie has been training solo at Mighty Mick's Gym for some time (using drills he got Rocky to write out for him), Rocky drops by after visiting Paulie's and Adrian's graves for Paulie's birthday. Rocky finally agrees to train him under the condition that Donnie gives his all and oversees his basics. He also has him on runs outdoors, and just as Mickey did, catching chickens.
Balboa allows Donnie, now known as "Hollywood Donnie," to fight against Leo "The Lion" Sporino in six weeks, a local fighter who's the son of Mighty Mick's manager Pete Sporino, a childhood friend of Rocky's. As Leo is already a fighter at Mick's, Balboa moves Donnie to train at the Front Street Gym in north Philadelphia, with several of his longtime friends, and agrees to have Donnie move into his home. On the day of the fight, Pete confronts Rocky, not pleased to have uncovered through calls to LA that Donnie is a Creed, and Rocky asks him to keep it quiet. However, after Donnie wins, word gets out "anonymously" the next day that he is Creed's illegitimate son.
Rocky gets a call from the trainer/manager of IBF, IBO, WBO and the Lineal light heavyweight champion "Pretty" Ricky Conlan, who is due to be forced into retirement by an impending prison term. In a meeting at Adrian's, he offers Donnie to be Conlan's final challenger—provided that he change his name to Adonis "Hollywood Donnie" Creed. Donnie balks at first, wanting to forge his own legacy, and Conlan's trainer leaves the offer on the table for 24 hours so Donnie can think about it. Rocky gives his support to whatever decision Donnie makes, but can see that he's interested. After asking Rocky about the factual disadvantages of fighting someone bigger and more experienced, let alone the champion, Donnie decides he can do it only because his trainer is Rocky Balboa.
While helping Donnie train, Rocky collapses, and from hospital tests learns he has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He is unwilling to undergo chemotherapy, remembering that it was not enough to save Adrian when she had ovarian cancer. His diagnosis and the fact that his best friend and brother-in-law Paulie Pennino, Adrian's brother, has now passed away in addition to Adrian, Apollo and his old trainer Mickey Goldmill further force him to confront his own mortality. Seeing Rocky shaken, Donnie urges him to seek treatment; as long as Rocky agrees to fight his cancer, Donnie will train for the fight, and Rocky agrees. Donnie trains at the hospital and the gym, in addition to assisting the weakened Rocky at home and going over fight strategies.Donnie fights Conlan at Goodison Park in Conlan's hometown of Liverpool, and many parallels emerge between Apollo and Rocky's first fight forty years earlier. First, before going into the ring, Donnie receives a present from Mary Anne — new American flag trunks similar to the ones Apollo and later Rocky wore. Additionally, to the surprise of nearly everyone, Donnie goes the distance after giving Conlan all he can handle. Conlan wins on a split decision (just as Apollo retained his title by split decision against Rocky), but Donnie has won the respect of Conlan and the crowd. As Jim Lampley puts it while calling the fight for HBO, "Conlan won the fight, but Creed won the night." Conlan tells Donnie that he is the future of the light heavyweight division, and to wear the Creed name with pride.
The film ends with Donnie and a frail but improving Rocky climbing the "Rocky Steps" at the entrance of the Philadelphia Mu
seum of Art.
Creed 2: Facing his nemesis again
Following the events of Creed (Creed II), Adonis won a knockout victory at light-heavyweight before moving up to cruiserweight where he won four consecutive knockouts. He then moved up to heavyweight where he won a title eliminator by knockout, earning himself a shot against the heavyweight champion, Danny Wheeler. Adonis defeated Wheeler via a 4th round KO to become the new WBC World Heavyweight Champion.
Upon winning the championship, Adonis decides it's the right time to propose to Bianca Taylor (Adonis' longtime girlfriend). Adonis seeks advice from Rocky, but it doesn't seem to help his nerves. Finally, Adonis pops the question to Bianca in the hotel room, and she says yes. Bianca suggests to Adonis that they could start a new life in Los Angeles, begin building their family. Adonis is reluctant at first, not wanting to leave Rocky behind, but he agrees to think about it.
Viktor Drago (Ivan Drago's son) had been dominating the Heavyweight Division in Ukraine, stringing together several knockout victories before deciding to arrive in the United States and challenge Adonis thanks to the promoter Buddy Marcelle. Adonis infuriated visits Rocky's home in the middle of the night and tells him that he needs to take the fight. Rocky urges him not to take the fight; Balboa feared that what happened thirty-years ago would happen again. Adonis becomes upset that Balboa doesn't think he can win and gives Rocky an ultimatum that he will take the fight with or without Rocky, who declines. Adonis and Bianca Taylor head to Los Angeles where they buy a spacious apartment and then visit Mary Anne Creed. Not long later, it is revealed that Bianca is pregant.
Adonis trains under the wing of Little Duke in the high tech gym. Adonis overwhelmed, rushes into the fight and gets seriously injured. Viktor Drago pummels him over three rounds, breaking his orbital bone, ribs, rupturing his lung and giving him a Grade A concussion. However, despite the domination, Adonis wins the fight by disqualification because Viktor punched him when he was down on one knee, knocking him out.
Later, Mary Anne reaches out to Rocky, who comes out west to reconcile with Adonis. Bianca goes into labour and gives birth to a healthy baby girl named Amara Creed. However, Adonis and Bianca's fears are realised when the child is born with progressive hearing loss, with Amara now in his life, Adonis comes to terms with the fact that he needs to be more open with the people closest to him. He also comes to terms that he has to fight Viktor again, and win. He promises to be there for his family but asks them to be there for him.
Rocky and Little Duke take Adonis to the desert to rigorously train his body from within to prepare for the fight, while Mary Anne, Bianca, and Amara provide a stable support system. In the desert, Balboa and Little Duke prepare Adonis's body to be able to take extreme amounts of force and damage, preparing him for Viktor's powerful and deadly strikes.
In the second fight, Adonis is more accustomed to Viktor Drago by fighting more comfortably in close range, and due to his sessions training his body to absorb substantial impact repeatedly he is able to withstand Viktor's deadly strikes. Viktor has never had to fight past the 4th round, and while Viktor is winning on points, Adonis uses his stamina to his advantage later in the fight despite having his ribs broken again. After a knockdown in the 10th round, Adonis unleashes a furious rage on Viktor, knocking him down twice and forcing Ivan Drago to throw in the towel to protect his son. At the end of the fight, Rocky tells Adonis that this is his journey now, hugging him, and giving his farewell.
Adonis, having retained the title, visits Apollo's grave with Bianca Taylor and Amara Creed, where he makes peace with his dad for carrying on his legacy while also building his own. Meanwhile, Rocky finally visits his son and grandson in Vancouver.
Although Rocky is a southpaw, he will often switch stances and fight right-handed. He's a hybrid-fighter, possessing the qualities of an inside-fighter, brawler and swarmer. With the exception of his rematch against Clubber Lang where he fights as an outside-fighter, he advances quickly upon his opponents, driving them into the ropes and setting upon them with a devastating body attack. Rocky is well known for wearing opponents down over the course of a bout.
Balboa's iron jaw allows him to take brutal punishment throughout his fights. With a will of steel, he is known for overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to triumph over his opponents. It is this trait that inspires fans worldwide, sending the message that nothing is out of reach if one believes in himself. Balboa, as stated by Jim Lampley during the fight against Mason Dixon, is renowned for his "cast iron jaw, ferocious body attack, and will of steel". All of these traits carried him to victories over the years against physically superior opponents. Rocky has an uncanny ability to sense weakness in his opponents, seizing every opportunity to capitalise on a momentum shift in his fights. No matter how exhausted and battered, Balboa pushes his offensive edge. In the first title fight with Apollo Creed, announcer Stu Nahan refers to Rocky as a "bull in a china shop" after witnessing the offensive onslaught. Rocky retired as a 2 time world heavyweight champion and with a pro record of 58 wins, 23 losses and 1 draw with 51 wins by knockout.
The fight scenes in the last movie, Rocky Balboa, are considered to be the most realistic in film history, with many boxing experts considering Stallone's in-ring performance to be his best ever.
- "Ah come on, Adrian, it's true. I was nobody. But that don't matter either, you know? 'Cause I was thinkin', it really don't matter if I lose this fight. It really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood." Rocky
- "What did you say to the kid? It ain't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. Get up!" Rocky Balboa
- You ain't gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here, I'd hold you up to say to your mother, "this kid's gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid's gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew." And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilige. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you're no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that! Rocky Balboa
Skills and Attributes
- Iron Jaw: Rocky is known for his iron jaw.
- Speed: Rocky gains dominating speed he demonstrates in Rocky III.
- Power: Rocky is capable of brutally attacking his opponents in the ring.
- Indomitable will: Rocky never gives up a fight unless knocked out or dazed to a point where he can't recover before the count.
- Rocky (First appearance)
- Rocky II
- Rocky III
- Rocky IV
- Rocky V
- Rocky Balboa
- Creed II
- Rocky novelization
- Rocky II novelization
- Rocky III novelization
- Rocky IV novelization
- Rocky (1987 Video Game)
- Rocky video game
- Rocky: Legends
- Ivan Drago: Justice Enforcer
- Rocky was a smoker. He gave up the habit when he began his training regiment for Superfight 1. He relapsed back in Rocky V, but he gave it up for good when he trained Tommy Gunn.
- Though he fights as a southpaw, Rocky writes with his right hand.
- His car's registration plate reads "S0THPAW."
- Rocky wears black and gold because those were the same colours of the high school he never graduated from.
- Though he is responsible for the popularisation of the red, white and blue trunks in popular culture, Balboa wore a combination of black and gold for the majority of his career, including the rematch with Apollo Creed. The red, white and blue trunks were - in fact - a present from Creed for the rematch against Lang, and a tribute following his death.
- Authorities in the Serbian village of Žitište have built a monument to Rocky.
- Rocky had defeated 3 previously undefeated fighters: Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, Ivan Drago, and Tommy Gunn, though the fight wasn't official.
- Rocky was mentioned in Mims' song Like This.
- Although it is common knowledge that the screenplay for the first movie was the Ali/Wepner fight, Rocky the character is probably a combination of Rocky Marciano, Jake LaMotta, and Joe Fraizer.
- Rocky was on the muppet show.
- Rocky was originally meant to die in Rocky V where he would have lost the street fight and died as a result of Tommy Gunn's punches and the brain damage, dying in Adrian's arms.
- In real life the Rocky Statue is still in the Philadelphia Museum of Art next to the Rocky Steps. In the movie it was taken out in Rocky Balboa, since Rocky's retirement lasted for 16 years, but it returned after Rocky's fight with Mason Dixon, for it's seen in Creed.
- Sylvester Stallone got the idea of Rocky Balboa from the Chuck Wepner and Muhammad Ali fight. Wepner lasted until the fifteenth round against a famous fighter like Ali and knocked him down in one round.
Before the movies (1966-1975)
- 43-20 (36 KO)
During the movies
1975: Spider Rico-Winner by KO in Round 2 of 8 (44-20) 37 KO
1975: Dipper Brown-(Informal match, Rocky won)
1975: Apollo Creed-Loss by Split Decision of 15 Rounds (For Heavyweight Title; 44-21) 37 KO
Rocky II (1976)
1976: Apollo Creed-Winner by KO in Round 15 of 15 (Won Heavyweight Title; 45-21) 38 KO
Rocky III (1976-1984)
1976: Flip Folsom-Winner by KO in Round 1 of 15 (Retained Heavyweight Title; 46-21) 39 KO
1977: Dave Fossan-Winner by TKO in Round 2 of 15 (Retained Heavyweight Title; 47-21) 40 KO
1977: Ernie Roman-Winner by KO in Round 3 of 15 (Retained Heavyweight Title; 48-21) 41 KO
1978: Mac Lee Green-Winner by TKO in Round 6 of 15 (Retained Heavyweight Title; 49-21) 42 KO
1978: Vito Soto-Winner by KO in Round 6 of 15 (Retained Heavyweight Title; 50-21) 43 KO
1979: Big Yank Ball-Winner by KO in Round 5 of 15 (Retained Heavyweight Title; 51-21) 44 KO
1979: Joe Czak-Winner by KO in Round 2 of 15 (Retained Heavyweight Title; 52-21) 45 KO
1980: Philip Hammerman-Winner by TKO in Round 2 of 15 (Retained Heavyweight Title; 53-21) 46 KO
1980: Billy Snow-Winner by TKO in Round 10 of 15 (Retained Heavyweight Title; 54-21) 47 KO
1981: Big Chuck Smith-Winner by KO in Round 8 of 15 (Retained Heavyweight Title; 55-21) 48 KO
1981: ”Thunderlips"-Draw of 1 Round (Exhibition fight; 55-21-1) 48 KO
1982: James "Clubber" Lang-Loss by KO in Round 2 of 15 (Lost Heavyweight Title; 55-22-1) 48 KO
1983: James "Clubber" Lang-Winner by KO in Round 3 of 15 (Won Heavyweight Title; 56-22-1) 49 KO
1984: Apollo Creed-(Informal match, Rocky later claims Apollo won the fight)
Rocky IV (1985-1986)
1986: Ivan Drago-Winner by KO in Round 15 of 15 (57-22-1) 50 KO
Rocky V (1986-1990)
1990: Tommy Gunn-(Street fight, Rocky won)
Rocky Balboa (2006)
2006: Mason Dixon-Loss by Split Decision of 10 Rounds (57-23-1) 50 KO
- Report on Rocky 6 and comparison to Rocky Marciano
- AUDIO: Sylvester Stallone on boxing and faith
- Statue Photo of Rocky Balboa statue at Philadelphia Museum.