Rocky III (1982) Ending Explained – Does Rocky beat Lang?

Rocky III

Rocky III Plot Synopsis

Rocky’s fame, family, and entire career are on the line after he accepts the challenge from the number-one contender, James “Clubber” Lang. When he loses the match in an absolutely humiliating manner, Rocky wishes to even the score.

Apollo Creed, his former opponent, offers to help him train for the rematch in return for a favour. However, with personal problems deeply disturbing Rocky, the task appears tougher than initially thought.


Why does Rocky accept Lang’s challenge?

After his victory over Creed, Rocky went on to win a slew of matches. Rocky participates in a charity match – following which he goes to unveil his statue. But he is interrupted by Lang who publicly tries to humiliate him. Lang blames Rocky for choosing weak opponents so he would get easy victories. He also makes indecent comments about Rocky’s wife, Adrian. Rocky loses his cool and accepts the challenge in sheer fury.

Afterwards, Rocky asks his trainer, Mickey Goodwill, whether he really chose easy opponents for him. Mickey confesses he did so, but it was only because he didn’t want to see Rocky get another serious injury.

Mickey further points out that Rocky doesn’t stand a chance of winning because he is civilized and Lang is not. Despite Mickey’s scepticism, Rocky convinces him to help him train for the match.


Rocky loses his strength

In one instance, Lang shoves Mickey violently which leads to a heart attack. Seeing Mickey’s condition, Rocky wants to withdraw from the fight. But Mickey pushes him to prepare for the fight, and he continues with the training with an unstable disposition.

During the match, Rocky is overwhelmed with anger which results in him losing control. Consequently, Lang dominates him with his superior skills and finishes him off in the second round with a fierce knockout.

Post-match, Rocky visits Mickey who is dying. He only tells him that the fight ended in the second round and doesn’t disclose that he lost. Mickey dies telling Rocky he loves him.


Rocky III

Apollo Creed brings the old Rocky back

Mickey’s death plunges Rocky into depression, and he gets at his worst. Rocky meets his former opponent, Apollo Creed, who offers to help him train in return for a future favour. Rocky agrees, but he isn’t able to fully concentrate. Despite Creed’s efforts, Rocky fails to put his all into the training. Ultimately, however, Adrian helps him cope with Mickey’s loss and regain his confidence.

Creed encourages Rocky to get back the “eye of the tiger” he once had. As a result, Rocky begins training in full swing. Creed teaches Rocky the specialities of his own fighting style – the magical footwork, controlled fighting skills, flow, and much more. As a result, Rocky gets in shape stronger and more complete than ever before.


Rocky III

Does Rocky beat Lang?

The night of the match, Apollo lends his iconic American flag trunks to Rocky. Rocky dominates the first round completely – surprising everyone in attendance with his new fighting style. However, Lang turns the momentum around in the second and gains the upper-hand. Still furious at Lang, Rocky mocks him and deliberately takes the beating in order to prove that Lang can’t knock him out. During his daring stunts, he gets knocked down twice. Even so, he doesn’t cease with the taunting.

Creed fears if Rocky continues this way, he wouldn’t last long. However, the teasing turns out to work in Rocky’s favour. Lang gets frustrated with his inability to knockout in the first two rounds and Rocky’s stubbornness. As Lang runs out of juice trying to take Rocky down in desperation, Rocky launches a series of powerful punches knocking out Lang and reclaiming his heavyweight title.

Afterwards, Rocky and Creed are at a gym for Rocky to fulfil his promise – a private, friendly match with no spectators. Well, the fight means Rocky has gained a great friend and trainer in form of Creed.


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