'Creed II' smashes into cinemas this weekend with all the intensity and drama you'd expect from another entry to the 'Rocky' / 'Creed' franchise.
Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) takes on Viktor Drago (Florian Muntenau), the son of legendary Soviet boxer Ivan Drago, in an epic confrontation that pushes both men to their limits.
Of course, if you've watched a 'Rocky' movie, you know these things go. With that in mind, we're doing a hard analysis on Rocky Balboa's opponets through the years, going from Apollo Creed in 'Rocky' and 'Rocky II' right up to Mason 'The Line' Dixon in 'Rocky Balboa'.
Here we go.
Thunderlips from 'Rocky III'
Played by: Hulk Hogan
Stats: 7'0, 390lbs.
Far and away, Rocky's easiest opponent - simply by virtue of the fact that he's not a boxer, has no skill in the ring and really just took to throwing the Italian Stallion all over the place. Sure, he's got the height and weight on the champ, but Rocky should have put him down easily. Interesting tidbit - the fight in 'Rocky III' was inspired by a real-life exhibition match between Muhammad Ali and Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki, and was widely considered to be one of the most embarrassing moments in Ali's illustrious career.
Tommy 'The Machine' Gunn from 'Rocky V'
Played by: Tommy Morrison
Stats: 6'2, 268lbs.
Although putting real-life boxer Tommy Morrison into the role, Tommy Gunn was a pretty lousy opponent and didn't make much of an impact in the overall series. Not only that, it became pretty clear that throughout the film that Gunn was basically representative of where boxing was headed. They even had a Don King-alike in the film too. Sure, he might have had the age on Rocky, but he'd have knocked him clean out in his prime.
Mason 'The Line' Dixon from 'Rocky Balboa'
Played by: Antonio Tarver
Stats: 6'2, 221lbs.
Another real-life boxer was airdropped into the film by Stallone. Sure, it adds realism and actors don't have to train half as much as boxers or athletes, but where's any of the heart or drama in it? Can you remember literally one line from this guy? Nope. Plus, Rocky Balboa was well into his fifties at this point - so it wasn't even a fair fight. The whole thing was based on the so-called Super Fight, a probability formula that had been used in 1970 to determine who'd win in a fight between Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano. It wasn't a great idea then and it wasn't a great idea in 'Rocky Balboa'.
Clubber Lang from 'Rocky III'
Played by: Mr. T
Stats: 5'11, 231lbs.
SHUT UP, OLD MAN. I AIN'T GOIN' NOWHERE. What made Clubber Lang such an effective opponent was the fact that Mr. T was, in a lot of ways, everything that Rocky had left behind. It's basically the whole premise of Rocky III; that Rocky had gone soft and taken the easy fights, refusing to push himself any further than he already had. No question about it, had Clubber Lang been given a rematch, he could have won. GIVE 'EM GUTS.
Apollo Creed from 'Rocky' & 'Rocky II'
Played by: Carl Weathers
Stats: 6'2, 221lbs.
He's the King of Sting, the Master of Disaster, the Count of MonteFisto, and by far the most charismatic boxer in the entire series. Apollo Creed had the stamina and hard chin to go fifteen rounds, twice, with Rocky and he had the smarts and courage to get in the ring with Ivan Drago - even though his best years were behind him. There's no doubting that Apollo Creed was a skilled boxer, but compared to Drago? No contest.
Ivan Drago from 'Rocky IV'
Played by: Dolph Lundgren
Stats: 6'5, 261lbs.
Let's make this clear - Ivan Drago should have won in 'Rocky IV', but that'd likely mean the rise of international Communism and the fall of Western capitalist society in the process. In every possible metric you can think of, Drago should have won in 'Rocky IV'. For one thing, Drago's power was 1,850 pounds per square inch / psi. Let's say that Drago landed in and around fifty or so punches to the face at around 1,400psi throughout his fight with Rocky. The laws of physics dictate that Rocky would be dead by the end of the match. Just like Apollo Creed. Too soon?