August Was By Far Rocky Balboa’s Worst Month | Philly Views
August 22, 2017

August Was By Far Rocky Balboa’s Worst Month

Written by Tom English


August can be a tough month to deal with. Summer’s coming to an end, fall is on the horizon. Days are getting shorter, the weather is cooling, the summer breeze is fading. All those fun summer-themed parties and sunny weekends are about to leave us until next year.

August can be a month reflection. We look back on what we have accomplished or missed out on during summer. We think back to our New Year’s resolutions, and how short it took to break them. We think about our summer goals and how we accomplished very few of them.

If you’re suffering from the August blues, we’ve got some sympathy for you, and even our most high-profile fictional hero can relate. 

Philly’s beloved underdog icon, Rocky Balboa, suffered some pretty rough Augusts during his career, too. 

Rocky lost the Heavyweight Championship in August.

How would you feel if you had found your true love, got the highest point in your occupation, and decided to retire on top only to have some knucklehead jerk come ruin the whole damn thing?

Mr. T did just that in Rocky 3.

Clubber Lang (Mr. T) called Rocky out during his retirement press conference with his lady sitting right there. Rocky reluctantly agreed to a title match against Lang to be fought August 15th at the Spectrum.

Unfortunately, Rocky lost his prized heavyweight championship title that night. But he was in for more tragedy after the match ended.  

Mickey also died that night.

To pour a wheelbarrow of salt in that wound, Rocky also lost his trainer and coach Mickey Goldmill that night in August.

Prior to the fight, Lang and Balboa’s entourages got into a scuffle causing Mick to get thrown to the ground. Rocky tried to call the fight off, but Mickey would have none of that.

As Rocky was getting worked over in the ring, Mickey was succumbing to a heart attack in the locker room. In the emotional scene, a roughed-up Rocky pleads with Mickey that there’s more to do.

Mick takes his final breaths and tells Rocky, “I love you, kid”. Rocky breaks down crying, and I’m an emotional wreck every damn time.

As if losing your title and your trainer wasn’t bad enough, Rocky has had even worse luck in the month of August.

Apollo Creed also died in August.

In Rocky IV, Rocky’s former foe and now best friend, Apollo Creed, had decided to take on the Siberian Express, Ivan Drago, in an exhibition match in Las Vegas.

The match was scheduled for August 31st, 1985. Creed stood no chance against the mammoth Olympic gold medalist, and Drago, predictably, pummels him in the ring. Rocky tries several times to stop the fight, but Apollo insists he let it go.

The crowd begins to lose it as a bloodied, defenseless Creed continues to get knocked around. Duke pleads with Rocky to “throw the damn towel,” but Rocky’s hesitation becomes a fatal mistake as Drago connects on a critical blow that would end Apollo’s life.

Creed passes away in Rocky’s arms as Drago tells reporters, “If he dies, he dies.”

But, like any true underdog hero, Rocky always turned things around.

Rocky has had better months outside of August.

He would face Clubber Lang again to win back his title. He avenged Apollo’s death by defeating Ivan Drago. He even won his first heavyweight championship on Thanksgiving.

So keep these things in mind during your bout with the August blues. August may beaten you with one haymaker after another, but now it’s time to take a seat, tell your trainer to cut open your swollen eye, and begin see more clearly.

August will eventually will end.

Here’s to hoping your friends and mentors don’t die, and that you don’t lose some valuable title at your job. If things continue to sink, you can always take a page out of Rocky’s book and succeed in inspirational feats when nobody else thinks you have a shot.

Failing that, September is coming, and it’s pretty beautiful in Philadelphia in the early fall.

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