Michael B. Jordan certainly got himself in fighting shape for the critically acclaimed and crowd-pleasing boxing film Creed, but all that work in the gym would amount to little in the eyes of Sylvester Stallone and the Rocky franchise family unless he did one thing: take a knockout punch. Stallone talked about this macho and increasingly archaic rite of initiation which led to the “up-for-whatever” Jordan getting knocked unconscious by a blow from British boxing champ and Creed star Tony Bellew. As a bonus treat for fans of slobberknockers, this moment was captured in a behind-the-scenes video during production of the Ryan Coogler-directed movie.
While appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Stallone shared a few of his own knockout stories, including the hardest hit he’s ever taken:
“Dolph Lundgren put me in the hospital for four and a half days. It was unbelievable. He hit me so hard in the chest that the next thing I knew I was on a low-altitude flight to intensive care at St. John’s Hospital surrounded by four nuns!”
Stallone has a few more one-liners and similar stories in his appearance on the talk show, but the real highlight here is Jordan taking one for the team, so to speak. If they’re up for it, I’d like to invite Stallone, Jordan, and Coogler to watch a screening of Concussion; my treat.
Watch Stallone talk about his own experiences as a punching bag in the Rocky series below, just before Jordan himself gets knocked out in the ring:
Here’s the official synopsis for Creed:
From Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures comes award-winning filmmaker Ryan Coogler’s “Creed.” The film explores a new chapter in the “Rocky” story and stars Academy Award nominee Sylvester Stallone in his iconic role. The film also reunites Coogler with his “Fruitvale Station” star Michael B. Jordan as the son of Apollo Creed.
Adonis Johnson (Jordan) never knew his famous father, world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. Still, there’s no denying that boxing is in his blood, so Adonis heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed’s legendary match with a tough upstart named Rocky Balboa.
Once in the City of Brotherly Love, Adonis tracks Rocky (Stallone) down and asks him to be his trainer. Despite his insistence that he is out of the fight game for good, Rocky sees in Adonis the strength and determination he had known in Apollo—the fierce rival who became his closest friend. Agreeing to take him on, Rocky trains the young fighter, even as the former champ is battling an opponent more deadly than any he faced in the ring.
With Rocky in his corner, it isn’t long before Adonis gets his own shot at the title…but can he develop not only the drive but also the heart of a true fighter, in time to get into the ring?