There are certain fights which will live forever. Ali-Foreman, Hagler-Hearns, Duran-Leonard, and so many others. But none have had the same sort of impact as that legendary fight in the USSR. Now, thirty years on,
CollegeHumor ESPN remembers Balboa vs. Drago.
In this installment of the venerable "30 for 30" series, the likes of Max Kellerman and Dan Rafael join fellow sportswriting veterans break down the bout, which ended with a shocking fifteenth-round KO from the aging American. Despite the great triumph, there remains a bittersweet air about the fight; the great Apollo Creed had to die for it to happen, after all, and Balboa never got the credit he truly deserved for ending the Cold War.
In addition, while the fight itself represented boxing at its best on a metaphorical level, it also exposed the sport's fundamental brutality. We fans praise competitors for putting their health on the line to deliver excitement, but it's difficult to watch these men land 91% of their power punches, especially considering Balboa's later brain damage.
At the end of the day, however, the bout remains a stirring example of how a man, his friends, his family, and his robot can stand up to a great nation. While many here are too young, I'm certain the veterans among us still remember where they were when Rocky Balboa's fists cracked the Berlin Wall.