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Ranking Rocky's Opponents


53 replies to this topic

#1 Maithanet

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 12:41 PM

So I just came across this article, and given the discussions about Rocky IV we've had on this board, I had to post it here. The entire article was a hoot, but my favorite part was this gem about the Italian Stallion himself:

“He got a ton out of his talent, had a robot maid, stayed with a woman who was at best a 6 and was beloved in a city that doesn’t like anything. Oh, and he ended socialism. Socialism dude.”

 

Rocky is obviously ranked #1, with a TKO of every boxer except his post-retirement decision against Mason Dixon.  The question is, how would you rank the opponents?

 

5.  Mason Dixon.  Losing to a former champ in his 40s is pretty embarrassing, but has precedent when George Foreman came back to win the title.  But Mason couldn't even put away Rocky when he was in his 50s.  Come on man.

 

4.  Tommy Gunn.  Utterly crushed the reigning titleholder, and is technically still heavyweight champ at the end of Rocky V, but isn't even mentioned in Rocky Balboa.  Presumably he lost as some point. 

 

3.  Ivan Drago.  Wins points for death by knockout of Apollo Creed, and for his before-thier-time advanced training regime.  But beating an over the hill Apollo Creed and losing to an equally over the hill Rocky is not terribly impressive.  Loses points for steroid use, although really, it could have just been his weekly vitamin injection. 

 

2.  Clubber Lang.  The only boxer to score a truly decisive win over Rocky.  Incredible punching power and a little bit crazy.  The problem is, when he faced a well conditioned challenger, he wore down in the third round!  That's just embarrassing for a champ.  

 

1.  Apollo Creed.  When it comes down to it, this guy is the only true champion on the list.  He cleaned up the heavyweight division prior to the first movie such that he was unable to find a real challenger.  Went the distance twice against Rocky, and would have easily won the decision in Rocky II if he had fought more conservatively, but that's not how Apollo rolls, he goes for the win.  No shame in losing in the fifteenth round to an in-his-prime Balboa. 



#2 DanteGabriel

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:06 PM

My 1-2-3 might go Drago, Apollo, Clubber. Because I don't think even an in-his-prime Apollo beats Drago. It'd be the boxing equivalent of the Snake and the Mountain.

 

And where does Thunderlips fit?



#3 Maithanet

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:12 PM

My 1-2-3 might go Drago, Apollo, Clubber. Because I don't think even an in-his-prime Apollo beats Drago. It'd be the boxing equivalent of the Snake and the Mountain.

 

And where does Thunderlips fit?

So you have no problem with Drogo's the steroid use? 

 

In addition, I'm not sure I agree.  Drogo relied on physically overwhelming his opponents.  He wasn't able to do that to Rocky even though he was in his early 40s in Rocky IV.  Apollo fought Rock in his prime twice, and could have easily won them both.  I think that Apollo's speed and footwork would have allowed him to outbox Drogo, in spite of the Russian's superior reach and power. 

 

Thunderlips is ranked just below Paulie's robot.



#4 Jaime L

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:27 PM

So you have no problem with Drogo's the steroid use? 

 

In addition, I'm not sure I agree.  Drogo relied on physically overwhelming his opponents.  He wasn't able to do that to Rocky even though he was in his early 40s in Rocky IV.  Apollo fought Rock in his prime twice, and could have easily won them both.  I think that Apollo's speed and footwork would have allowed him to outbox Drogo, in spite of the Russian's superior reach and power. 

 

Thunderlips is ranked just below Paulie's robot.

 

See, I think Rocky had to train himself to a totally unprecedented level to overcome Drago. The Rocky who beat Apollo Creed in Rocky II, I don't think would've had a chance against Drago. He's just fortunate (in a perverse way) that he got to see what Drago was capable of in that exhibition against Apollo Creed to know how much harder he needed to train to have any chance to withstand the big Russian's barrage.

 

Because you're right, Apollo in his prime had speed and footwork...but even with that he still took a ton of punishment from Rocky in the first two movies and would've done the same from Drago. Infact I think the only thing that could ever possibly beat Drago (and end the Cold War) is someone with Rocky's resolve (which was never higher after watching his friend die in the ring). There's a point in that fight where you can see Rocky has defeated Drago mentally. I don't think Apollo Creed could ever withstand enough punishment to reach that point.

 

 

4.  Tommy Gunn.  Utterly crushed the reigning titleholder, and is technically still heavyweight champ at the end of Rocky V, but isn't even mentioned in Rocky Balboa.  Presumably he lost as some point. 

 

 

Not mentioned because this movie, infact, never happened.



#5 DanteGabriel

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:35 PM

So you have no problem with Drogo's the steroid use? 

 

In addition, I'm not sure I agree.  Drogo relied on physically overwhelming his opponents.  He wasn't able to do that to Rocky even though he was in his early 40s in Rocky IV.  Apollo fought Rock in his prime twice, and could have easily won them both.  I think that Apollo's speed and footwork would have allowed him to outbox Drogo, in spite of the Russian's superior reach and power. 

 

Thunderlips is ranked just below Paulie's robot.

 

Drago's steroid use is irrelevant to me in this discussion -- we have no evidence of what Drago would have been like without the Hot Borscht Injections, so we only can judge them by the condition they were in when they had their fights.

 

Jaime already went into plenty of detail about why Rocky was much better suited to defeat Drago, but I'll add that Rocky probably absorbed as much damage in one round with Drago as Apollo took in the entire fight with Drago, which killed him. Rocky's toughness and ability to absorb punishment and stay upright was more or less his chief strength as a boxer.

 

Thunderlips would crush Paulie's robot, and have sexual congress with the rubble pile.



#6 polishgenius

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:38 PM

I hate to ask this heretical question in this topic, but does the actual boxing in the series get any better past the first one? Because listening to the commentators describe a really exciting fight while watching one that was not only spectacularly unrealistic but rather boring kind of knocked my suspension of disbelief in the first one, despite the fact that I like it overall.



#7 sperry

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:44 PM

I hate to ask this heretical question in this topic, but does the actual boxing in the series get any better past the first one? Because listening to the commentators describe a really exciting fight while watching one that was not only spectacularly unrealistic but rather boring kind of knocked my suspension of disbelief in the first one, despite the fact that I like it overall.

 

 

No, it's still just 10 rounds of wild haymakers with no attempts to parry at all.

 

 

But taht's fine, since real boxing is worse than watching paint dry.  I can't believe people pay money to watch Floyd Mayweather fight.



#8 Maithanet

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:45 PM

Because you're right, Apollo in his prime had speed and footwork...but even with that he still took a ton of punishment from Rocky in the first two movies and would've done the same from Drago. Infact I think the only thing that could ever possibly beat Drago (and end the Cold War) is someone with Rocky's resolve (which was never higher after watching his friend die in the ring). There's a point in that fight where you can see Rocky has defeated Drago mentally. I don't think Apollo Creed could ever withstand enough punishment to reach that point.

But everyone takes punishment from Rocky because Rocky's greatest strength is:

 

Rocky's toughness and ability to absorb punishment and stay upright

Which means that using the jab to keep Rock at bay simply doesn't work.  This is not the case in a theoretical Apollo vs Creed fight when both are in their prime, Apollo's superior footwork would make a big difference.  Apollo took a ton of punishment in both his fights against Rocky, and kept right on going. 

And are you questioning the chicken-chasing and shoestring training that Rocky was undergoing in Rocky II?  The man could spit lightning and crap thunder! 

 

I hate to ask this heretical question in this topic, but does the actual boxing in the series get any better past the first one? Because listening to the commentators describe a really exciting fight while watching one that was not only spectacularly unrealistic but rather boring kind of knocked my suspension of disbelief in the first one, despite the fact that I like it overall.

This question is disturbingly close to heresy, but overall if you are watching the Rocky movies for realistic depictions of boxing then you are probably going to be disappointed feeling less excited and patriotic than you normally would. 



#9 Sivin

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:46 PM

You're all forgetting the most dangerous foe...

 

Spider Rico.



#10 DanteGabriel

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:49 PM

 

 

No, it's still just 10 rounds of wild haymakers with no attempts to parry at all.

 

 

What are you talking about?!? After Apollo trained Rocky for his rematch with Creed, he was a defensive technician on par with Mayweather.



#11 polishgenius

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:50 PM

This question is disturbingly close to heresy, but overall if you are watching the Rocky movies for realistic depictions of boxing then you are probably going to be disappointed feeling less excited and patriotic than you normally would. 

 

 

It's not so much the lack of realism in itself, it's that it was less interesting than a realistic depiction of the same sort of thing would have been.

A better question, I guess, would be 'do the fights get more exciting'?



#12 DanteGabriel

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:53 PM

A better question, I guess, would be 'do the fights get more exciting'?

 

If you don't find the Rocky-Drago fight exciting, then some East German scientist has surgically removed your heart.



#13 Primus

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 02:01 PM

It was impressive of Rocky to beat Drogo, being away from his own stash of HGH. :D



#14 The Great Unwashed

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 02:11 PM

 

 

No, it's still just 10 rounds of wild haymakers with no attempts to parry at all.

 

 

 

This is just a common misapprehension of Rocky's attempts to take the sport to a higher level by parrying with his face.



#15 Arch-MaesterPhilip

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 04:00 PM

I would love to see Drago vs. Clubber Lang.



#16 Myshkin

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 04:05 PM

Is it even in question?  Ivan Drago all the way.  That man was scary.



#17 DanteGabriel

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 04:05 PM

Yeah, Drago would crush him.



#18 Rhom

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 04:45 PM

I would love to see Drago vs. Clubber Lang.

 
 

Is it even in question?  Ivan Drago all the way.  That man was scary.

 
 

Yeah, Drago would crush him.


But I'd love to see Clubber hitting on Drago's wife...

#19 Veltigar

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 05:08 PM

Always loved the Rocky movies (double so, since I avoided the fifth installment) don't know much about boxing though. I'd say that Apollo was Rocky's best opponent, but that's more because I found their fights more satisfying than an actual judgement of fighting prowess.



#20 drawkcabi

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 06:00 PM

All of Rocky's opponents fought great, but Apollo was the only great fighter.





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