Alex Podlogar is the media relations manager and Pinehurst Resort and County Club in Pinehurst, N.C. Here, he explains why we need to see Rocky Balboa and Clubber Lang fight a third time.
The level of absurdity throughout the Rocky series escalates with each entry into the canon (if we’re allowed to call it that). And considering the Oscar-winning first film centers on a small-time hoodlum who then ultimately fights for the heavyweight championship of the world, that seems to be a rather loaded assertion.
Remember, though, in a few short steps, we somehow reach a point where Rocky ends the Cold War.
Yet that’s not even the most ridiculous moment in the series.
No, the most mystifying moment in the documented life and career of Rocky Balboa is actually a moment that never takes place.
Two fights, one thrilling win for each fighter. One, though, is an aging former club fighter-turned-champion. The other is a rising star with more charisma, talent, and—perhaps most importantly, youth—since … well, since Apollo Creed in his prime.
And yet, Clubber Lang not only doesn’t get a third fight, his career apparently is immediately over. We never hear from him again after his one loss to a distinguished champion in a rematch. Hell, even Peter McNeeley got more fights.
So, too, did Creed. And not just the tragic Drago fight. (Throw the damn towel, Rock!) Perhaps the best scene in all of Rocky III is the final one, when Apollo and Rocky hit a darkened gym (with lots of body oil) for a few rounds to settle things. It’s Creed-Balboa III, and even though the action freezes with the simultaneous first punches of each fighter, it’s satisfying to know the two settled it like fighters would.
But we’re left with a big hole in Rocky’s resume. Surely, Rocky’s rope-a-dope wouldn’t have worked a second time against Clubber, who likely would’ve trained harder and not taken Rocky so lightly in the third fight. So how would Rocky adjust this time? And would it again involve poor choices in training fashion and a beach?
Then again, the guy ended the Cold War, so perhaps this is moot. Rocky would’ve figured out a way. He did, after all, chop the Russian down.
Still, the public deserved Balboa-Lang III.
Thankfully, this is the Rocky series.
Which means there’s still time.