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“His Influence Deserves to Be Highlighted Like Bruce Lee’s in Martial Arts”: Months Before ‘Creed 3’ Release, Fans Credit Sylvester Stallone for Helping Boxing to Rise in Popularity

Published 01/31/2023, 11:00 AM EST

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Last December, an iconic Hollywood movie turned forty-six. ‘The Italian Stallion’, a masterly creation of icon Sylvester Stallone nudged every sports fan like never before. If not openly, every boxer who came after harbors a ‘Rocky Balboa’ in themselves. One, despite heavy odds, pitted against him, cruises through and achieves the dream. How many boxers could claim not having heard Survivor’s soundtracks for ‘Rocky,’ such as Eye of the Tiger or Burning Heart? How many boxing novices embark on a training regimen without hearing Bill Conti’s Gonna Fly Now in their minds?

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While Sylvester Stallone acted, directed, and wrote the first five movies’ screenplays until 2006. Equations changed with the first ‘Creed’ movie. Created from one of Stallone’s original characters, ‘Appollo Creed,’ the third edition of the new franchise sees a March 23 release. However, it would be minus ‘Rocky Balboa’ or, for that matter Sylvester Stallone.

A French tribute to Sylvester Stallone and his creation ‘Rocky’


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When the second part of ‘Creed’ was still in production, Stallone reportedly took to his Instagram handle and announced that he would be pulling out of “Creed III.” He broke the news in a Q&A session on his Instagram account. And fans are not happy. But that hasn’t stopped the adoration and homage to the much-loved character. And it is not restricted to the United States alone. French sports and leisure website “boxe” shared a post through Facebook. It has a pic of young ‘Rocky Balboa’ inside the gym with trainer ‘Micky.’

It read, “Since his first appearance in 1976, Rocky Balboa has continued to fascinate. So much that the fictional character of the cult boxer for over 40 years has earned an award unprecedented in the world of boxing: inducting into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame.”


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“Even as a box-office athlete, Rocky Balboa, and his entourage have been an inspiration to many, including fans of the sport. To many, he is a model of courage, perseverance, and modesty in the American dream mode.”

American actor Sylvester Stallone in the movie Rocky III, USA 1981 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxITA

Soon the crowd milled around the post with their comments. 

Fans turn up to celebrate their hero and praise his achievements

A user couldn’t help but admire the mutual respect and understanding between a trainer and his pupil. But, probably with pun intended, he closed his comments lamenting that, sadly, it’s a “science fiction flick!”

Another user dismissed appropriation of the movie’s legacy only through its music and montages. According to him, most people don’t know how hard Sylvester Stallone struggled to learn how to box and build a fighter’s body. So, per his views, instead of debating whether Sly defeats a real boxer, he merits recognition for his work, and only a few have managed to reach his place.


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The following user emphasized how ‘Rocky’ flicks popularised boxing. He inspired generations and crafted the best boxing movies. The ‘eye of the tiger’ is dramatic and profound. Witnessing a damaged guy repair himself and come back stronger than ever. Likewise, the partnership between people of different races and touching the sensitive Cold War politics was impressive. According to this user, Rocky’s influence “…deserves to be highlighted like Bruce Lee’s in martial arts.”

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One user highlighted how a Muhammad Ali fight inspired Stallone to create the everlasting character. According to him, Ali’s life and journey transcended regular cinematic fiction. The next user took a cue from the film series. He highlighted how it popularized the euphemism – One’s toughness is not tested by how many blows land, but by how many he takes and keeps going.  Another user finally summed it up by saying the character of ‘Rocky Balboa’ exists among us all.

There have been other brilliant movies based on boxing. Who can forget Robert De Niro playing ‘Jake LaMotta’ in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Raging Bull?’ Then there are others like Clint Eastwood’s ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ ‘Southpaw,’ or even Rocky’s cadet franchise, ‘Creed.’ But despite such stiff competition, Stallone’s ‘Rocky’ stands out as a clear fan favorite. While the sport itself, in recent times, might have faced ups and downs in its popularity, ‘Rocky’ and its sequels still are going strong and even gaining new fandom.


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Watch Out for More: Sylvester Stallone on Weightlifting, Change in His Workout Regime and Why He’d Beat ‘Great Bodybuilder’ Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Boxing Match

What is your take on the fans’ comments and reactions? Do share your thoughts and views with us in the comments below.



Jaideep R Unnithan

881 articles

After completing 18 years in the corporate sector, Jaideep decided to make a move out of the comfort zone and follow his heart's calling to becoming a writer. His understanding of Boxing began with Iron Mike's debut as an 18 year old in 1985. Like anyone and everyone else, he holds Muhammad Ali as the greatest, though his personal favorite remains the 'PacMan' Manny Pacquiao for his speed and sheer toughness.

Edited By: Shibu Immanuel