Traveling a Rocky road to Hall of Fame
(Reprinted from Dec. 10, 2010)
Rocky Marciano, Rocky Graziano, Rocky Balboa.
One retired an undefeated heavyweight champion, one spent some time as a middleweight champion before eventually becoming an actor and one was a box-office champion who was never anything but an actor. And all three are now in boxing’s Hall of Fame.
Marciano and Graziano, a winner of 67 fights during his career, receiving their sport’s highest honor is understandable. Placing Rocky Balboa — or, more accurately, his creator — there is a bit more mind-boggling.
But that’s what happened last week when actor Sylvester Stallone was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum at the same time as real-life boxers Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez. To his credit, Stallone was properly respectful about his unexpected prize, saying in a statement that it was his “privilege to have been blessed with the ability to write about the incredible courage and commitment of the many thousands of real-life Rockys whom we have watched perform honorably in the ring.”
Truth be known, most Rockys never do all that much within the squared circle. For example Chuck Wepner, the fighter on whom the Rocky character is supposedly based, served as a punching bag for Muhammad Ali in a 1975 bout.