?Rise up to the challenge coz there is no tomorrow? ? no one would have forgotten these lines by the famous Apollo Creed of the Rocky series or the ?There ain?t gonna be no rematch, there ain?t gonna be no rematch??????..? when he leaves the arena. It is the famous character played by Carl Weathers in the movie series ?Rocky? of John G Avildsen which became the base for the sequel series Creed. The boxing fans around the world would never forget this man as this movie is often referred to as the classic textbook of boxing.
Remember the scene in Rocky IV where Apollo Creed faces the mighty Ivan Drago carrying the pride of his country and ultimately dies in the ring as he is outweighed by his opponent Drago. What if I say that this scene is inspired from a true event that marked one of the greatest tragedies of boxing?
Yes! The event took place almost 23 years before Rocky IV. It was a title defense match between the then world welterweight champion and the famous boxer Bernardo ?Benny the Kid? Paret and Emile Griffith in the Square Garden on 24 March 1962, Saturday. It was a live event telecasted by ABC all around the world.
In the twelfth round of the fight, Griffith backed Paret into the ring corner and unleashed a massive fury of punches to his head. But the champion couldn?t do anything in his defense as was dizzy. Here came the usual human mistake, the referee allowed Griffith to continue punching not knowing that the champion was unconscious. Griffith landed almost 29 punches right on Paret?s head after which he collapsed down.People all around the arena thought that it was due to exhaustion and he was later taken to the hospital. Sadly Paret passed away ten days later due to brain hemorrhaging caused by those heavy punches on the head by Griffith. This fight marked the first tragic death of a boxer due to the game.
Again here Paret was a champion before the game, was fighting to keep up the pride of his city and had his favorite friend on his ringside who was once his opponent. Striking isn?t it? Yes the same happens in Rocky IV too. Cinema is inspired by true events! This is just an example to prove it.
Such tragedies happen with each and every sport today just because safety is not kept in mind in the race to win or monitoring is not done properly, best example would be that of Phil Huges of Australian cricket team.What we and the director of the film indirectly wanted to convey is Play bold! Play safe! Spirit of the game and safety will take the game to newer levels and will sustain providing everyone a greater experience!