Sylvester Stallone took to his official Instagram to drop some candid fight choreography against a real-life professional boxer. Fans are eager to see the superstar debut his Paramount+ show Tulsa King this fall. In the meantime, some nostalgic Rocky clips will have to tide them over.
The throwback footage is from behind the scenes of 2006’s Rocky Balboa. In the 6th installment of the Rocky series, the Italian Stallion faces off against reigning champ, Mason “The Line” Dixon. Dixon was played by light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver. The footage shows Stallone rehearsing with Tarver for the film’s climactic fight.
“This is what goes into choreographing a fight much more is added later on, but it definitely hurts along the way,” Stallone captioned the clip. The footage shows Sylvester Stallone throwing punches to Tarver’s face. The blows land audibly. Stallone seems to notice the champ isn’t pleased with the punches he’s landing. “He didn’t like that one,” Sly jokes in the clip. The pair then share a laugh. All kidding aside, the brief video shows how much dedication Stallone had as a director of the film.
Rocky Balboa jumpstarted Sylvester Stallone’s slumping career
Rocky Balboa was a return to form after a bit of a career slump for Sylvester Stallone. The star had not had a box office hit as the headliner since 1993’s Cliffhanger. Some of his films leading up to Rocky Balboa even went straight to video, like 2002’s Avenging Angelo. Balboa went on to be a box office success and earned the writer/director critical praise. Rocky Balboa boasts a 77% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Though Sly vowed it would be the last Rocky movie, a spin-off called Creed followed in 2015. It was followed by a 2018’s Creed II.
Sylvester Stallone has racked up too many injuries to count during his action star career. However, his most serious occurred during the production of Rocky IV. “Dolph Lundgren put me in the hospital for nine days,” Stallone told The Hollywood Reporter. “I knew I was in trouble when I showed up and nuns met you at the ICU.”
On the day of the injury, Stallone said he told co-star Lundgren to drop the choreography. “Just go out there and try to clock me,” he told Lundgren. “For the first minute of the fight, it is going to be a free-for-all.” Later that evening, Stallone knew he was seriously injured. The actor reviewed the footage and decided the punch that did all the damage was an uppercut that “caught the ribs and hit the heart against the ribcage.” The doctors told Stallone that sort of injury normally happens in head-on collisions. Stallone joked, “I said, ‘Close. I did hit a bus, of sorts.’”