Stallone’s portrayal of the popular character in the latest edition of the franchise is unlike anything he’s done before. It garnered him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie, not Best Actor in a Movie, and it’s not even a Rocky film: it’s a Creed film, presumably the start of a new series of boxing epics.

Rocky Balboa has traveled a long way since the first Rocky film was released, far more than most movie characters. We will be talking about Stallone as Balboa and the life lessons he’s given us.

1. You’re not out just because you’re down.

Rocky should have given up long before the events in the first film occurred, according to all accounts. His boxing career, like his life in general, was a flop.

By persevering, he is given two fortunate breaks: being picked to face Creed, the world heavyweight champion, and meeting Adrian, a bashful pet store clerk (Talia Shire). These two occurrences signal the start of a positive trend, and it doesn’t matter if Creed wins or loses since he has Adrian in his life.

2. Victory is sweeter when it comes later.

Rocky’s win in Rocky II is all the more dramatic since he didn’t beat Creed in the previous film. Waiting for it – and working for it – makes you appreciate the victory much more.

3. “It ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Rocky has a heart-to-heart with his now-adult son Robert (Milo Ventimiglia) in a scene from 2006’s Rocky Balboa about the most important lesson he’s learned from a life in the ring. “That’s how you win,” says the elder Balboa.

4. Recognize when it is time to call it a day.

Ivan Drago, a Soviet fighter, faces Creed in Rocky IV. When it’s apparent that Apollo’s life is in jeopardy, Rocky, as Apollo’s trainer, has the power to stop the battle, but Apollo insists on going on, and Rocky lets him. Rocky must accept responsibility after Apollo dies in the ring; if he had given up, his friend would still be alive.

5. “It’s your right to listen to your gut; it ain’t nobody’s right to say no.”

Rocky Balboa’s address to his son isn’t his only oratory triumph. Rocky is told he won’t be able to renew his boxing license in another scene, and he responds with a passionate defense of his rights. What is the takeaway?

Even if you’re renowned for throwing fists, stand up for yourself and have some excellent words prepared.

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