Rocky Balboa pulled off a Christmas miracle when Ivan Drago was beaten in 1985.
There were not many who gave the Italian Stallion a hope of winning, but by the end of the Christmas Day bout, chants of ‘Rocky, Rocky’ could be heard around the arena in Moscow.
America wanted revenge for Drago’s part in Apollo Creed’s death during an exhibition match in Las Vegas and Balboa – possibly feeling guilt for not stopping his friend’s fatal fight sooner – helped exact it.
To prepare, Rocky went back to basics for his training camp, lifting heavy logs and chopping down trees in the snow and his techniques are still being used to this day, with Kubrat Pulev doing similar ahead of his fight with Anthony Joshua.
Drago, meanwhile, used the latest technology to get him in tip top shape.
And the Russian definitely looked the part and when the bell rang to begin the fight, as Balboa was caught on more than one occasion by Drago’s fists of steel.
However, as with all naughty boys at Christmas, the ‘Siberian Express’ was left with nothing at the end.
More than that, though, Rocky – in addition to avenging his pal – appeared to gain the respect of the entire Eastern Bloc with a rousing speech, which clearly had an impact on the watching politicians.
However, instead of celebrating with his corner, he just froze mid-jump with an American flag draped around him.
Years later, Apollo’s son, Creed II aka Donnie, fought Drago’s son, Viktor.
In the aftermath of this Christmas bonanza, Rocky later trained Tommy Gunn before growing frustrated under his tutelage.
DISCLAIMER: we may have had too much mulled wine and mistaken the 1985 film, Rocky IV, for a documentary about a classic fight.