Sylvester Stallone aka Rocky Balboa: Pummeled by fight legend... in real life?
Although most die-hard fans of the famed Rocky series know fight legend Roberto Duran played a small role as one of Rocky Balboa's sparring partners in Rocky II, few probably realize Sylvester Stallone and the boxing legend actually sparred... for real.
A few weeks ago, TMZ caught up with Stallone who recounted his pseudo rumble when then top 5 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Roberto Duran.
When asked if he thought he could hold his own in a ring session with 49 year old fight legend and then-light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins who was fighting on HBO that weekend, Stallone replied:
"No. I learned my lesson from Duran."
"Professionals and [acting] are two different things," Stallone uttered ... "I kind of interpreted it. They're the real deal."
In Rocky II, Stallone's character, Rocky Balboa, is seen sparring with Roberto Duran who was most likely around 27 at the time. According to rumors, the sparring got out of control a few times and the much bigger Stallone paid the price.
During that famous scene (below), Mickey, Rocky's trainer, reminds his fighter, "If you can catch that little speed ball, you can catch [Apollo] Creed easy."
"You're sparring and you say to yourself, 'Hey, maybe I can go with this guy.' Then you trade a few shots, and you realize you're an actor again," Sly admitted years ago when referencing the event.
In boxing, of course, it's not uncommon for fighters to spar with smaller, quicker guys during training to prepare themselves for a faster opponent. It is rare, however, for actors with little or no boxing experience to attempt to 'throw down' with elite-level prizefighters.
Movie: Rocky II
Story line: Rocky struggles in family life after his bout with Apollo Creed, while the embarrassed champ unrelentingly goads him to accept a challenge for a rematch.
Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers and Burgess Meredith