'I naïvely said why don’t we get into the ring and move around a little and see how we look together. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was like going into a lions cage covered in steak sauce and asking, ‘how do you think I will taste?’ This was a very dumb idea…very bad.' - Sylvester Stallone
In 1981, filming of the third installment in the Rocky franchise began, and Stallone already had someone in mind to play Clubber Lang - Joe Frazier.
When Stallone approached Frazier for the part he was said to be very excited by the idea of starring in the movie and an audition was arranged. After an informal chat, Stallone suggested the pair spar to see how they'd gel together. Stallone later said of the moment; 'Once in the ring, I figured I just move around and avoid his punches. That idea worked well for about two seconds. Simply, because the next thing I knew there was a thunderous left hook planted extremely deep in my body, (followed by) an overhand right that resembled a falling piano landing just above my left eye. The world was now spinning in several directions at the same time.' With that, Stallone decided that he wouldn't be able to withstand too much of Frazier's punishment during filming and decided against casting him, then promptly checked in to the hospital to get 6 stitches above his eye.
Mr T. was eventually cast for the role of Clubber Lang and turned out to be the perfect choice but one can't help but wonder how the film would've turned out having a genuine Heavyweight Champion in the movie.
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