Home Entertainment Sylvester Stallone officially lists best fighters in Rocky films, mocks co-star claims

Sylvester Stallone officially lists best fighters in Rocky films, mocks co-star claims

Sylvester Stallone 2024

Sylvester Stallone still packs a punch in 2024 (Image: GETTY)

Sly Stallone turns 68 this weekend and you still wouldn’t want to tussle with him in a ring – or dark alley. The Hollywood hard man looks like he still packs a pretty hard punch and certainly never shied away from the blood, sweat, tears and PAIN when filming the many iconic fight scenes of the Rocky franchise.

Not only did Stallone suffer numerous horrifying broken bones, internal injuries and hospital visits, he has always openly talked about what he went through – and usually used the actual footage in the films.

The actor has always been happy to give credit to others where it is due, but he also did not mince worlds when the star who brought to life one of Rocky Balboa’s greatest rivals publicly declared his own superiority.

Three of Stallone’s Rocky co-stars put him in hospital and he has described each in excruciating details, but he still only regards one as a better all-round fighter.

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Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers fight in the Rocky films

Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers fight in the Rocky films (Image: GETTY)

The original 1976 movie introduced the world to the plucky Philadelphia slugger and stunned audiences with the spectacular fight sequences. Stallone meticulously choreographed the fights in every film, making sure they never looked ‘staged.’ So much so, that real injuries were frequent, as were breaks for urgent medical treatment and recovery.

Apollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers, was Rocky’s regular antagonist in the first two films (before they built a friendship) and the jaw-dropping smackdown in 1979’s Rocky II was also fuelled by a real-life fight between the two actors.

Stallone said soon after: “I took a terrible beating. I let Carl Weathers really pound me. It was the most gruelling thing I’ve ever been through. Broken bones, the works… A lot of those shots aren’t faked. It’s as hard to learn not to hit somehow as to hit them, Right now my health is pretty bad. I have to go in for extensive testing. They talk to me about enlarged intestines, rearranged insides…I’ve lost a lot of weight. Don’t worry. I’ll get it all fixed up.”

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Hulk Hogan chokes Stallone in Rocky 3

Hulk Hogan chokes Stallone in Rocky 3 (Image: GETTY)

Three years later, Stallone was “mangled” but not in a boxing match. Rocky III introduced 6’7 pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips and the two characters had an exhibition match that left Stallone in the worst agony of his life.

He said: “I remember a violent move where he threw me into the corner, charged across the ring like an ENRAGED bull and leaped so amazingly high above me that his shin-bone actually came down (like a) giant tree on my collarbone, and I tumbled to the floor.

“I was afraid to look at my shoulder for about 10 minutes… I said, ‘Don’t roll me over, don’t move me,’ because I was sure there was bone protruding through my upper chest! Of course, there wasn’t, but I have never felt such a mind-numbing pain from a massive hit before or since that day!”

“Believe it or not, when he jumped into the audience to fight with the stuntmen, three of them had to be treated at the hospital!”

The film also introduced Laurence Tureaud, aka Mr T. The bouncer and bodyguard was spotted on NBC’s America’s Toughest Bouncer and brought in to play bruiser Clubber Lang.

Sylvester Stallone and Mr T in Rocky III

Sylvester Stallone and Mr T in Rocky III (Image: GETTY)

Stallone and Lundgren as Rocky and Drago Rocky 4 fight

Stallone and Lundgren as Rocky and Drago Rocky 4 fight (Image: GETTY)

The pain simply continued in 1985’s Rocky IV when Dolph Lundgren’s terrifying Ivan Drago kills Weather’s Apollo Creed and pulverises Stallone, on-screen and off.

Stallone said: “In the first round, I thought these two characters should hate each other so much that they should just attack each other like pit dogs… professionalism be damned. So what you see in the first twenty seconds is real, and after the third take of taking body blows, I felt a burning in my chest, but ignored it. Later that night, I couldn’t breathe very well, and they took me to the emergency room. My blood pressure was 200+, and the next thing I knew I was on a low-altitude flight from Canada to St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, and there I resided in intensive care for eight days.

“What had happened is he struck me so hard in the chest that my heart slammed against my breastbone and began to swell, so the beating became laboured, and without medical attention the heart would’ve continued to swell until it stopped. Many people that have car accidents die like this when the steering wheel slams into their chest. So in a sense, I was hit by ‘a streetcar named Drago.”

Sylvester and Frank Stallone with Carl Weathers

Sylvester and Frank Stallone with Carl Weathers (Image: GETTY)

Rocky and Paulie actor Burt Young

Rocky: Paulie actor Burt Young (Image: GETTY)

Years later, Stallone was told that a fan had asked Weathers who he thought would win in fights between all the Rocky franchise stars. He’d replied that Mr T was the toughest, followed by himself, then Dolph Lundgren and finally Sly.

Unsurprisingly, Stallone was not impressed and hit back: “Absolutely not. First of all, my brother Frank used to spar with Carl and chase him around the ring like a fox running from a hound. I saw Dolph Lundgren pick up Carl and heave him three feet into the corner when I was directing the scene between them; rather than retaliate, Carl got out of the ring and said something ferocious like, ‘I’m calling my agent… I quit!’

“So in order of boxing skills and fighting ability, I would say Dolph Lundgren, myself, Mr T, Paulie, and then Apollo Creed (Weathers).”

Rocky himself has spoken and looking at those 68-year-old biceps, who is going to argue with him?


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