Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



Rocky Balboa Elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame 10

Posted on December 08, 2010 by Dean Hybl

It was quite a journey for Rocky Balboa from a Philadelphia meat locker to the Boxing Hall of Fame.

Since the day he first burst onto the boxing scene with his improbable performance against Apollo Creed on January 1, 1976, it was probably inevitable that one day Rocky Balboa would take his rightful place as a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Of course the only trouble with that hypothesis is the reality that Rocky Balboa was a fictional character created by actor Sylvester Stallone and not actually a real-life boxing icon.

So, instead of actually inducting Balboa, the Boxing Hall of Fame has done the next best thing and bestowed that honor on Stallone, who not only created the character, but then played Balboa in six installments of one of the greatest sports movie franchises in history.

Because all of the Rocky movies have now been on television so many times that even casual Rocky fans can recite most of the lines and the story line has been hijacked in countless other movies, it is easy to forget the initial impact of this Cinderella story.

When Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in the original Rocky in 1976 he was not the internationally recognized action star he has become over the last 35 years.

Rocky was filmed on a budget of $1 million and shot in 28 days. But this dark-horse movie immediately struck a cord with the American public and made over $225 million (a huge box office gross for 1976).

The film was so well thought of that it received 10 Oscar nominations and won three statues, including best picture.

History now tells us that the studio originally looked at such big-time stars as Robert Redford, James Caan and Burt Reynolds for the title role. I contend that had they decided to cast an already established actor the movie would never have reached the iconic level it enjoys today. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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