Charles Sisto Malatesta 5/15/2011

Charles Sisto Malatesta 5/15/2011

Rocky Balboa

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This article is about the fictional boxer. For the sixth film in the Rocky series, see Rocky Balboa (film).
This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. Please help rewrite it to explain the fiction more clearly and provide non-fictional perspective. (October 2010)
This article’s lead section may not adequately summarize its contents. Please consider expanding the lead to provide an accessible overview of the article’s key points. (September 2010)
Robert “Rocky” Balboa
Rocky character
Rocky balboa.jpeg
Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa
First appearance Rocky
Last appearance Rocky Balboa
Portrayed by Sylvester Stallone
Information
Nickname(s) The Italian Stallion, The Iron Horse
Gender Male
Occupation Professional boxer (retired)
Spouse(s) Adrianna “Adrian” Pennino Balboa (deceased)
Children Robert “Rocky” Balboa Jr.
Religion Roman Catholic
Nationality Italian American
Rocky Balboa
Statistics
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Nationality United States American
Birth place Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Stance Southpaw
Boxing record
Wins 58
Wins by KO 54 (95%)
Losses 3
Draws 1

Robert “Rocky” Balboa, Sr. is a fictional southpaw boxer and the main protagonist portrayed by Sylvester Stallone who has appeared in the Rocky series from 1976 to 2006. During the series, he wins the Heavyweight Championship of the World twice.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Fictional character biography

[edit] Rocky (Setting 1975-1976)

Robert Balboa was born on April 6, 1946 as the only child to a Roman Catholic Italian-American family. In the first film Balboa was mentioned to be trained under the tutelage of trainers Brian D and Christo P. These trainers were never again mentioned, but their presence nonetheless significant. During the scene in which Rocky takes Adrian skating on Thanksgiving, he tells her “Yeah — My ol’ man who was never the sharpest told me — I weren’t born with much brain so I better use my body.” This encouraged him to take up boxing. He trained very hard so he could grow up to be like his idol Rocky Marciano. The film begins in 1975, and Balboa is living in the slums of the Kensington section of Philadelphia, working as an enforcer for a loan shark while at the same time fighting the local club circuit, including the Cambria Fight Club, nicknamed “The Bucket of Blood.” Later on in the film, at the beginning of the fight against Apollo, one of the commentators mentions that Rocky had fought in 64 fights, winning 44 (38 knockouts) and losing 20.

Balboa gets his big break when the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed decides that he wants to give an unknown fighter a chance to fight for the title after his intended challenger Mac Lee Green broke his hand while training. After getting picked by Apollo, Balboa reunites with his estranged trainer, grizzled former boxer Mickey Goldmill, who convinces Balboa that he can help get him prepared for this fight. At the same time, Balboa begins dating shy pet-shop worker Adrianna Pennino, younger sister of his friend Paulie. On January 1, 1976 at the Philadelphia Spectrum, Balboa fights Creed, who didn’t take the fight seriously during training. Creed soon realizes that while Balboa doesn’t have his skill, he has a punch like a concrete block and was determined not to quit even when Mickey tells him to. (He previously told Adrian that though he figured he wouldn’t win, he wanted to at least “go the distance”). Although Creed wins the fight by a split decision, it is the first time an opponent has lasted the full 15 rounds against him. Both men, battered beyond belief, agree that there would be no rematch. Rocky was fine with this as he only wanted to go the distance with Creed.

[edit] Rocky II (Setting 1976)

After the match, Creed changed his mind and wanted a re-match under the stress of being humiliated by the press for failing to beat Balboa convincingly, as well as his own knowledge that he didn’t give his best in the fight. Creed demanded a rematch with Balboa, stating that he would fight him ‘anywhere, any place, anytime’ to prove to the world that Balboa’s feat was purely a fluke. At first, Rocky refused. He and Adrian got married, and at his wife’s urging, Rocky tried living outside boxing. However, Rocky, a grade-school drop-out, soon realized he had no skills beyond fighting, and in fact could barely read. The money he made in the first fight was soon frittered away, and despite Adrian’s objections, when Apollo called him out on national television, Rocky agreed to the rematch. Without Adrian’s support, however, Rocky’s heart wasn’t in the training and he was close to quitting until the pregnant Adrian went into premature labor and slipped into a coma after giving birth to Robert. When Adrian came out of the coma, she gave her full support to Rocky. Together, Mickey and Rocky trained hard, focusing on Rocky’s speed and improving his right-handed punching (Rocky being a southpaw). At the same time, the angry Apollo also focused fully on his training, taking this match seriously. The re-match was set for Thanksgiving ’76. The grueling battle was another 15-round war with both Balboa and Creed falling to the canvas after Balboa landed a succession of left hands. Referee Lou Fillipo exercised his 10-count and as both Creed and Balboa struggled to make it to their feet, Creed crumbled back down in exhaustion. Only Rocky was able to get up, getting the better of Creed this time and beating the 10-count, winning the rematch by knockout, thus becoming heavyweight champion of the world.

[edit] Rocky III (Setting 1981-1982)

Over the next few years, Rocky successfully defended his title in 10 consecutive defenses against various contenders, amassing fortune and worldwide fame in the process. In addition, Rocky also fought an exhibition bout against the World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan) to a draw. However, in 1981, Rocky was challenged by intense and hungry newcomer James “Clubber” Lang. Rocky had some issues with his trainer Mickey Goldmill due to his revelation of having faced “hand-picked” challengers that were “good fighters, but not ‘killers'” which Lang was; Mickey insisted that he would quit as Balboa’s manager if he chose to fight Lang, but Rocky convinced him to train him for one last match. However, like Apollo in the first movie, Rocky didn’t put his heart into the training, reinforcing Mickey’s belief that Rocky had become too comfortable (or “civilized”) as champion. Lang shoved Mickey out of the way before the match, sending the elderly trainer into cardiac arrest, which threw Balboa, already undertrained, completely off his game. He was then knocked out in the second round, losing his title; adding to his defeat, Goldmill died of a heart attack after the match, devastating Rocky. Despairing, Rocky was met by Apollo Creed, who told Balboa that when they fought, he won because he was hungry. He had the ‘fire’ Apollo no longer had, and the former champion convinced Rocky that he needed to get his fire (“the eye of the tiger”) back. Along with his old trainer Tony “Duke” Evers, Apollo offered to train Rocky for a rematch against Lang, taking Balboa home to his old gym where he first trained to get Rocky “back to basics.” After a while Rocky managed to purge his doubts and get his fire back. Fighting a style very reminiscent of Creed’s own boxing technique mixed with his own style, Rocky won the second match with Lang by KO, taking Lang’s best blows and still standing, regaining his world heavyweight title. After the fight, Rocky and Apollo were last seen alone in Mickey’s Gym, Creed taking his “payment” for his training services: one last rematch, just the two of them, no spectators. But this fight was only a sparring session between two new friends.

[edit] Rocky IV (Setting 1982-1985)

In 1985, Apollo Creed came out of retirement and agreed to fight a Soviet World Amateur Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist-turned-professional fighter Ivan Drago in Las Vegas with Rocky Balboa and Tony “Duke” Evers in his corner. Creed, past his prime and again not taking his opponent seriously, was brutally beaten by massive Drago in the first round but begged Rocky not to stop the fight. In the second round, Creed continued to be beaten by Drago, falling limp in the ring and dying from the injuries. Feeling responsible for not stopping the fight, Balboa set up a match with Drago, which was held on Christmas Day in Moscow. Rocky had to surrender his World Heavyweight Championship crown to accept the bout. With Evers assuming the role as his new trainer, Balboa trained hard using all-natural methods within the mountainous terrain of Krasnoyarsk Siberia, while Drago was shown being trained with state-of-the-art equipment and steroid enhancement.

During the fight, Drago dominated the early moments of the match, but in the second round, Balboa caught Drago with a haymaker to the eye and cut him. The fight continued in a bloody back-and-forth battle, with the Soviet crowd who had originally rooted for Drago began cheering for Balboa while Drago’s handler became increasingly upset over his inability to finish the American. In the end, Rocky’s superior stamina and will to win persevered and he defeated the Russian in the fifteenth round. After the fight, Rocky gave an impassioned thank you speech to the crowd which received a standing ovation both from the crowd and the politicians in attendance, effectively ending the Cold War by catalyzing the thaw in relations that would occur between the United States and USSR. Rocky then retired for the cause of injuries to his head.

[edit] Rocky V (Setting 1985-1990)

After the fight with Drago, Balboa stays in Russia for an extended period to recover from the beating he sustained. After returning to the United States, Balboa’s doctor discovered that he had apparently suffered brain damage, caused by repeated blows to the head, and which he decides to retire. He then lost his fortune after his brother-in-law Paulie mistakenly granted power of attorney to their accountant, who subsequently embezzled Rocky’s money in a housing deal gone bad. His only remaining asset was the now closed Mickey’s Gym, which had been willed by Mickey to Robert. Rocky was forced to return to the Philadelphia slums in which he had been raised. He reopens Mickey’s Gym as a means of income, and Adrian returns to work at the pet store she was working at when she first met Rocky. Rocky asks Adrian “Did we ever leave this place?”

Though retired from boxing himself, Balboa starts training an up-and-coming fighter, Tommy Gunn. Gunn slowly becomes an excellent fighter, but suffers some from being constantly put in Rocky’s shadow; he is nicknamed “Rocky’s Robot” by the media. Gunn is wooed by seedy promoter George Washington Duke and leaves Rocky after an argument about whether Balboa is holding him back. At the same time, Robert also has problems adjusting to the new, less-than-lavish lifestyle his family was now leading, and by his father’s distance. After a while, Rocky realizes the damage he is doing to his relationship with his son and makes amends.

Gunn wins the World Heavyweight title from Union Cane in 1990. However, he is ridiculed in the press—since he had never fought a “real contender”, he is not regarded as a real champion or heir to the belt. This motivates Gunn, with prodding from Duke, to publicly challenge Rocky to a fight. Balboa initially declines, but when the hot-tempered Gunn punches Paulie, Rocky accepts, telling Gunn his ring is in the alley right outside. The two engage in a street brawl which quickly gets the attention of the locals, the police (who allow the fight to continue) and the media. In the end, Rocky defeats his protege, then punches Duke (who had obnoxiously threatened to sue if Rocky touches him), telling him “Sue me for what?”

[edit] Rocky Balboa (Setting 2006)

Rocky Balboa statue

After the events of Rocky V, Rocky eventually opened up a restaurant called ‘Adrian’s’ in 1995, named after his wife. In 2002, Adrian dies of ovarian cancer.

Robert “Rocky” Balboa, Jr., who unlike his father goes by Robert, with whom Rocky has an eroding relationship, has since moved out to become a struggling corporate employee. 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 profound 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, which is when Robert announces he has quit his job to be at Rocky’s side.

In 2006, ESPN’s program Then And Now featured a computer animation about a simulated fight between Rocky (in his prime), and the current champion, Mason “The Line” Dixon. The fight simulated Rocky winning by knockout in the 13th round, which stirred up a great deal of discussion about the result if such a fight ever occurred.

Inspired by the simulation and feeling he still has some issues to deal with (“stuff in the basement”), Rocky (who is now 58 years old) decides to return to the ring. Rocky applies for a boxing license and though passing the physical with flying colors the Licensing Committee denies his license, however they change their minds and give him his license after Rocky makes an impassioned speech to them. The brain damage suffered in Rocky V is not addressed; Stallone has said that the storyline explanation would’ve been that Rocky’s brain damage was within the normal range for boxers, and that he was suffering the effects of a severe concussion as a result of the Drago fight but he never sought a second opinion because he intended to retire anyway. He had said (via the TV commentators that no matter what it would be his last fight)[1] Rocky’s intentions were originally just to compete in small, local fights for fun and charity. However with the publicity of Rocky’s return Mason Dixon’s promoters convince Rocky to face The Champ in an exhibition bout in Las Vegas. Despite being champion, Dixon is haunted by criticism, claiming that he has never had a truly great opponent or memorable match. Originally against fighting an aged Balboa, Dixon recognized the opportunity to fight a legend and hoping to end all prognosticating about who would win and agreed to the fight.

In the press, commentators dismiss Rocky’s chances, assuming that the fight will be one-sided due to his age. Robert is also against the fight, believing himself held down due to his father’s shadow, though after a confrontation with Rocky he realizes that the only one holding him back is himself. Rocky, reunited with his old trainer Duke, works hard on his one major remaining weapon: power. The fight initially seems lop-sided with Dixon’s speed allowing him to dish out all of the damage. However Dixon soon realizes Rocky isn’t going down and that the old man “has bricks in his gloves.” The tide turns when Mason injures his hand while punching Rocky. This evens the playing field and allows Rocky to mount an offense. In the end, the two fighters go the distance with Dixon winning by split decision . Dixon is finally recognized as being a warrior for fighting through and Rocky proves to the world that he is no joke, mirroring the ending of the first Rocky .

[edit] Personal life

Balboa married Adriana “Adrian” Pennino in 1976 during Rocky II. Adriana suffered from ovarian cancer. They were married for 26 years. The two have a son, Robert “Rocky” Balboa, Jr., who unlike his father goes by Robert. He was born in 1976. As evidenced by conversations with his priest, Father Carmine, Rocky understands Italian very well; however, it is unknown whether or not he speaks the language because his responses are in English.

[edit] Boxing Record

  • Before fighting Apollo Creed: 64 Fights, 44 Wins (38 KO), 20 Losses and 0 draws.
Professional Record (including unsanctioned): 82 Fights, 58 Wins (54 KO), 23 Losses and 1 Draw
Exhibition record: 2 Fights, 0 Wins, 1 Loss, 1 Draw
Res. Opponent Type Rd Venue & location Date Notes
Loss Mason Dixon Split decision 12 Mandalay Bay Resort and CasinoPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania Feb 26 2006 Charity Exhibition Rocky makes a comeback.
Win Ivan Drago KO 15 Luzhniki Palace of SportsMoscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union Dec 25 1985 Rocky retired from Boxing in 1986 for medical reasons
Win James “Clubber” Lang KO 3 Madison Square Garden — New York City, New York Jan 12 1982 Wins World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine) (WBC & WBA titles stripped in 1983. Also in 1983, Balboa was awarded the inaugural IBF championship, but was also stripped due to not being defended)
Loss James “Clubber” Lang KO 2 Spectrum—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Aug 15 1981 Loses World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Philip Hammerman KO 3 Palazzetto dello sportRome, Italy Apr 29 1981 Retains World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Matt Delarue KO 5 MGM Grand Hotel and CasinoLas Vegas, Nevada Nov 07 1980 Retains World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Joe Green KO 2 Korakuen HallBunkyo, Tokyo, Japan Jun 17 1980 Retains World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Flip Folsom KO 2 Milwaukee ArenaMilwaukee, Wisconsin Oct 24 1979 Retains World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Dave Fossan KO 2 Nassau ColiseumLong Island, New York Feb 9 1979 Retains World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Bobby Jalali KO 3 Royal Albert HallLondon, England Oct 3 1978 Retains World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Vito Soto KO 1 Monte Carlo CasinoMonte Carlo, Monaco Feb 16 1978 Retains World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Big Yank Ball KO 6 Caesars PalaceLas Vegas, Nevada Nov 13 1977 Retains World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Joe Czak KO 2 Radio City Music HallNew York City, New York Aug 1 1977 Retains World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Trevor Faus KO 1 Spectrum — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Apr 6 1977 Retains World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Apollo Creed KO 15 Spectrum — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Nov 25 1976 Wins World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Loss Apollo Creed Split Decision 15 SpectrumPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania Jan 01 1976 For the World Heavyweight Championship (WBC, WBA & The Ring Magazine)
Win Spider Rico KO 2 Philadelphia Chapel — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Nov 25 1975  
Awards
Preceded by Honorary IBF Championship
1995
Incumbent
 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Apollo Creed
WBC World Heavyweight Champion
November 25, 1976 – August 15, 1981
Succeeded by
Clubber Lang
 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Clubber Lang
WBC World Heavyweight Champion
– January 12, 1982 – April 19, 1983
Succeeded by
Vacant (Next held by Tim Witherspoon
 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Apollo Creed
WBA World Heavyweight Champion
November 25, 1976 – August 15, 1981
Succeeded by
Clubber Lang
 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Clubber Lang
WBA World Heavyweight Champion
January 12, 1982 – April 19, 1983
Succeeded by
Vacant (Next held by Gerrie Coetzee
 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Apollo Creed
Ring Magazine World Heavyweight Champion
November 25, 1976 – August 15, 1981
Succeeded by
Clubber Lang
 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Clubber Lang
Ring Magazine World Heavyweight Champion
January 12, 1982 – February 2, 1986
Succeeded by
Vacant (Next held by Union Cane

[edit] Character origin

While the name and iconography of Rocky Balboa are obviously inspired by the legendary heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, it was Chuck Wepner who inspired Balboa’s underdog personality.

Early in my acting career I realized the only way I would ever prove myself was to create my own role in my own script. On my 29th birthday, I had $106 in the bank. My best birthday present was a sudden revelation that I had to write the kind of screenplay that I personally enjoyed seeing. I relished stories of heroism, great love, dignity, and courage, dramas of people rising above their stations, taking life by the throat and not letting go until they succeeded. But I had so many ideas in my head, I couldn’t focus on any one. To cheer myself up, I took the last of my entertainment money and went to see the Ali-Wepner fight on closed circuit TV. Chuck Wepner, a battling, bruising club fighter who had never made the big time, was having his shot. It wasn’t at all regarded as a serious battle. But as the fight progressed, this miracle unfolded. He hung in there. People went absolutely crazy. Wepner was knocked out in the 15th and final round, almost lasting the distance. We had witnessed an incredible triumph of the human spirit and we loved it.That night, Rocky Balboa was born. People looked on him as the all-American tragedy, a man without much mentality and few social graces. But he has deep emotion and spirituality and good patriotism. And he has a good nature, although nature has not been particularly good to him. I have always seen him as a 20th Century gladiator in a pair of sneakers. Like so many of us, he is out of sync with the times. To all this, I injected doses of my own personal life, of my frustration at not getting anywhere.
—Sylvester Stallone[2]

[edit] Boxing style

Balboa fights as a southpaw (left-handed). He is 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 often advances quickly upon his opponents, driving them into the ropes in order to attack the body. Balboa’s best attribute is without question his near-superhuman ability to absorb a multitude of the hardest hits without falling — an attribute he often employs on purpose to wear down his opponents, sacrificing defensive strategy to land his own punches. Because of this rare talent, Balboa can afford to keep his hands in position to strike rather than up high to block. Because he takes more punches than he throws, it is easy to overlook his incredible punching power. Rocky has an uncanny ability to sense weakness in his opponents, often capitalizing on every shift in momentum possible. He is also acknowledged as having the most devastating body attack in the sport, breaking Drago’s ribs and causing internal bleeding in Creed. Boxer Mason Dixon once remarked about Balboa, “…that guy’s got bricks in his gloves.” These qualities, in concert, helped land him a high percentage of KO victories over the course of his career.

Height 5’11

Reach 74 inches

191 pounds for first Apollo Creed fight

202 pounds for Apollo Creed rematch

201 pounds for Clubber Lang fight

191 pounds for Clubber Lang rematch

204 pounds for Ivan Drago fight

217 pounds for Mason Dixon fight

[edit] Honors

Rocky Statue, situated just northeast of the Rocky Steps.

Rocky Balboa was named the 7th greatest movie hero by the American Film Institute on their 100 Years… 100 Heroes and Villains list.[3] Additionally, he was ranked #34 on Empire Magazine‘s compilation of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters.[4] Premiere magazine ranked Rocky Balboa #64 on their list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.[5]

The Rocky character is immortalised by a bronze statue erected near the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia recalling the famous scene from the original Rocky movie.

In December 2010 it was announced that the Rocky Balboa character was going to be inducted into the boxing hall of fame.

[edit] Notes

Rocky Balboa’s birth date is, at present, unclear. In Rocky, he tells Paulie he is 30. This is in November, 1975, so his year of birth would be in 1945. In Rocky III, he is revealed to be 34. This is in August, 1981, which suggests his year of birth as 1947. In Rocky Balboa, a reporter during the press conference states that Balboa is still in his 50s.

Hasbro intended to license Rocky and make him a member of the G.I. Joe toyline, as they had with wrestler Sgt. Slaughter. A toy prototype was produced.[6] Marvel Comics’ G.I. Joe: Order of Battle profile book came out during the negotiations and included Rocky as a current Joe member, specializing in hand-to-hand combat training and an example of what it means to persevere under seemingly impossible odds. As the negotiations then collapsed, due to Stallone licensing Rambo to another company, Marvel had to run a retraction in the third issue of the limited-run series indicating that the character was never a part of G.I. Joe.[7]

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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About Charles Sisto Malatesta

I love boating, the beach, traveling, soccer, volleyball, pretty women...lol, food, wine, walks on the beach......
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