Sylvester Stallone was always a Hall of Famer in my book, but today it became official, as he was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Officially, he enters the Hall as a Screenwriter — he was nominated for an Oscar for writing Rocky — but that doesn’t really begin to describe his role as an all-around boxing ambassador during the last 35 years. If anything, I have to ask, What took them so long? Rocky Balboa has been an American hero since he went the distance with Apollo Creed in 1976; he went on to win the Cold War in 1985 when he chopped down the big Russian, Ivan Drago. Do you really think the stogie-wielding Boxing Writers Association of America voters were on the fence about Stallone until the fifth Rocky sequel pushed him over the top? Or was it Stallone’s involvement with NBC’s boxing reality show, The Contender, that finally earned him the nod? Please. Maybe they decided they needed an inductee who can deliver a speech without subtitles: He’s being honored alongside two Mexican greats, a Russian (how ironic), and the ever-loquacious but often-inscrutable Mike Tyson.
Whatever the reason, a hearty congratulations to Sylvester Stallone, for creating the most iconic Hollywood boxer ever, for making the Philadelphia Art Museum famous, and for always sending Rocky back out there, even when some critics wished he’d throw in the towel. Yo, Adrian!