Was Rocky Balboa a great boxer or a lucky son of a gun? In the original movie, it was his loser status that earned him the big fight with Apollo Creed. When he started training with Mickey, he couldn’t slug hard enough to last a single round. It was only through the magic of a training montage that he became a formidable foe.
But boil down those spliced feats of strength -- a staple of any Rocky film -- and you'll find yourself questioning Balboa's exponential rise from muscle-laden Gomer Pyle to Italian Stallion. Even in later installments, our hero looks like he's going to crack in half. So how did he do it? The mystery is why the Rocky movies prevail; Balboa is always the underdog. The perfect squinty, straining Sylvester Stallone face can convince us that anything is possible.
Where are we going with this? See the above video, assembled from Rocky’s rockin' training sequences.
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment Editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. He has scaled the Philly art museum's stairs and done the Rocky cheer. Find him on Twitter @misterpatches.