The man who brought us the Rocky movies has named a current fighter as the greatest heavyweight of all time, picking him over the likes of Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis.
If Tyson Fury ever needed a boost in confidence – which is unlikely – he should save Sylvester Stallone’s number. The actor, filmmaker, and boxing fanatic has named ‘The Gypsy King’ as the best heavyweight to ever do it. He spoke to Fury on The Jonathan Ross Show to deliver his verdict.
“I mean this, Tyson. I think you’re the greatest heavyweight that ever lived, and I’m a boxing historian. I study this closely. When you put together all your skills, and plus your heart, and your ability to recuperate, and how you can move around so well at your size, there’s no one that could’ve beaten you in any era.”
“People go ‘oh that’s not true’ – it’s totally true.”
The judgement was greeted by a big smile from ‘The Gypsy King’ and a round of applause from the audience who, whether or not they knew it beforehand, were in the presence of the best ever according to Sly Stallone.
It will come as no surprise that Rocky Balboa himself is actually well-trained in the sport. His appreciation for it is perhaps the reason that his characters and their world have stood the test of time, with Creed 3 due to be released early next year – 45 years on from the original Rocky – despite no direct involvement from the Hollywood legend.
Despite playing a world champion on the big screen though, he found out that it was still very different from the real thing. He told Ross about mixing it with some legends in the gym.
“I sparred with [Muhammad] Ali, and Joe Fraser gave me eleven stitches. That was in about two seconds.”
“Earnie Shavers literally almost beat me to death without trying. [He was] wearing 20-ounce gloves. Imagine if he was angry!”
Stallone has said in the past that a sparring session with the great Roberto Duran – despite the size difference – made him realise that the former champion known as ‘Hands of Stone’ could finish him in a second.
“The way he could move his head just an inch it’s impossible to hit him. This man would demolish me in 11 seconds, including the count.”
Fury returns to the ring against Derek Chisora on December 3 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, now perhaps with an Expendable guest at ringside.