HIGHLIGHTS: Apollo Creed tops a list of Rocky Balboa’s toughest opponents, followed by Clubber Lang and Thunderlips . . . a.k.a. Mr. T and Hulk Hogan . . . both of whom he fought in “Rocky 3”.
FULL STORY: “Creed 2” comes out today, and even though Rocky Balboa isn’t even fighting, it’s important that we rank all of his past opponents. (???)
We’re not talking about the BUMS he fought at the beginning of the first “Rocky”, or all the saps from the montage at the beginning of “Rocky 3”. Just the BIG BADS from each of the “Rocky” movies. Here they are, from worst to best:
6. TOMMY GUNN, from “Rocky 5”: This kid was the heavyweight champ, and he lost to an over-the-hill Rocky Balboa in a STREET FIGHT. Sure, Rocky supposedly had the advantage of being FROM the streets, but still.
5. MASON “THE LINE” DIXON, from “Rocky Balboa”: Another heavyweight champ who fought an even OLDER Rocky. The fight went 15 rounds, and Dixon barely squeaked by on a split decision.
He also had, quote, “arguably the worst nickname in fake boxing history.”
4. IVAN DRAGO, from “Rocky 4”: You’d think he’d be higher . . . I mean, he KILLED a guy in the ring. But check this out: He lost to a middle-aged Rocky on Christmas Day in the capital of his home country.
And by the end of the fight, all his fellow Russians in the arena were chanting for Rocky. Not good.
3. THUNDERLIPS . . . a.k.a. Hulk Hogan . . . from “Rocky 3”: Okay, he was a wrestler, not a boxer, and the match was just a charity exhibition. But Thunderlips remains, to this day, the only opponent to pick Rocky up and toss him out of the ring.
2. CLUBBER LANG, from “Rocky 3”: Remember, there were TWO fights in this movie. And Clubber CRUSHED Rocky in the first one, knocking him out in the second round. Of course, Rocky knocked Clubber out in Round 3 in the second fight.
1. APOLLO CREED, from “Rocky” and “Rocky 2”: The OG . . . and much like Clubber Lang, he BEAT Rocky the first time they fought. Of course, it was by decision after the fight went the distance.
The second time, Rocky beat him by ONE SECOND in the 15th round when both men went down, and Rocky JUST beat the count.
And remember, they had a secret, THIRD fight at the end of “Rocky 3”, but we never found out who won. Until “Creed” came out in 2015, and Rocky revealed to Apollo’s son Adonis that Apollo won. (Here’s the clip. Skip to 2:49.)