Who ya got at No. 1?
With “Creed” coming out this year, let’s take a look back at what helped define the “Rocky” films: his badass opponents.
This is a definitive order, think what you want, but imagine if these pugilists had to fight each other. Who would win? As it is, these rankings are based how dangerous they were inside and outside the ring.
Whoa, the Ultimate Male. Standing at nearly 7 feet tall and 390 pounds, Thunderlips is a ranking all in its own. The fight didn’t really count since it was professional wrestler against the Italian Stallion, all for charity, of course.
Played by Hulk Hogan, Thunderlips would smash the hell out of Rocky and probably any other human simply by battering his opponent with titan-like force. A fight between Thunderlips and anybody wouldn’t be so much a fight as it would be an eradication of life.
Thunderlips gets an asterisk on this list since he’s just too much man (and he’s not a boxer).
5) Mason “The Line” Dixon
What is there to know about this guy? He’s dead last on the list because he had zero personality and never posed a serious threat. Did you feel as if he could kill someone in the ring? “Rocky Balboa” isn’t a very loved “Rocky” film; it wasn’t bad, it was just overshadowed by better predecessors and much more dangerous opponents.
And what about Dixon struggling to put away a 58-year-old Rocky? Dixon (pro boxer Antonio Tarver) won against a hulkingly buff version of Rocky — what happened to a lean Italian Stallion? Still, Rocky was 58 years old, and probably not very nimble in the ring.
4) Tommy Gunn
The one guy with potential to top this list, Tommy Gunn (Tommy Morrison), under the tutelage of Rocky himself, was a fierce fighter. Gunn could definitely knock your block off. But he never beat Rocky in the ring for the heavyweight championship since Balboa had retired after “Rocky IV.”
Fame and jealousy soured the relationship of Rocky and Tommy Gunn, prompting the youngster to side with another promoter. That jealousy forced Gunn into a street fight with Rocky.
Although Rocky and Gunn never officially fought, their street fight was brutal. Remember, Gunn was in his prime and trained by Rocky. But come on, Rocky is Rocky, he wasn’t gonna lose to this chump.
3) Clubber Lang
I pity the fool who steps in the ring with Clubber Lang. Yes, Mr. T portrayed perhaps the meanest mofo in the “Rocky” universe. Perpetually angry, Clubber Lang was out to make it to the top of the boxing world — and he did.
Lang beat the shit out of Rocky; beloved trainer Mick died from a broken heart or a push by Lang, whatever you wanted to believe. Of all the movies, this was the only one in which Rocky got his ass kicked. Some “Rocky” fights have been rough, but Balboa-Lang I was a bloodbath.
Eventually, Rocky prevailed thanks to the training of his nemesis in the first two films, Apollo Creed. Did you see where Clubber Lang trained? What a dump, poor lighting, old equipment, probably a backed-up toilet that spills shit every other day, it’s no wonder Clubber Lang lost the rematch.
Still, look at the fear in Mick’s eyes when he sees what a monster Clubber Lang is. He will knock you into next week if you’re not careful.
2) Apollo Creed
The Master of Disaster is probably the most technically sound fighter out of this whole group. Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is the only guy to fight Rocky in two different movies. He played prominent roles in four “Rocky” films and was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in the original.
If not for Creed’s expertise, Rocky would have never beat Clubber Lang. In his prime, The Count of Monte Fisto probably would have beat Lang and anybody else on this list.
He had power, speed and swagger. So why is he only No. 2 on this list? Simple. The No. 1 man on this list would have beat Creed in his prime (at least The King of Sting would have escaped with his life).
1) Ivan Drago
Nobody has more credentials than this guy. He never won the heavyweight title, but he is the only fighter on this list who has fucking killed a guy. Killed another guy on this list! In the ring!
While not as technically sound as these other boxers, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) is the most impressive specimen in these rankings and could even give Thunderlips a run for his money in an actual fight. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 261 pounds, it’s hard to fathom how Rocky beat this guy.
Had Mick been alive to see The Siberian Bull, he would have shit his pants on the daily and simply retired, saying “fuck it, Rock, you do this on your own.” Drago had no remorse (“if he dies, he dies”) for anybody in the ring.
If “Rocky IV” were made in any country other than the United States, Drago would have destroyed Rocky in just a few rounds. Damn the Cold War, we’re talking about who’s best. Rocky has heart and experience, but Drago shoots ’roids and delivers a punch with a measure of more than 2,000 psi.