On Tuesday, the International Boxing Hall of Fame announced its 2011 class, including Mike Tyson, Kostya Tszyu, Julio Cesar Chavez and actor/screenwriter Sylvester Stallone. When I first heard the news, I thought, "Really? Sylvester Stallone? He's an actor, not a boxer!" But then I thought about it for another few minutes and changed my mind. It makes perfect sense for Sly Stallone to be a boxing Hall of Famer.
Stallone -- who goes into the Hall of Fame as a screenwriter -- created and brought to life one of the most iconic sports figures in the last forty years. Despite being a fictional character, for many 25-to-40-year-olds, Rocky Balboa is the closest -- if not the only -- connection to boxing. I was a young girl when "Rocky" first came out in 1976, and, to this day, I remember watching the training scene for the first time. When I went to college in Philadelphia at Penn, I made a point of seeking out the Rocky statue at the old Spectrum and the "Rocky Steps" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I'm not a boxing fan, but I certainly am a "Rocky" fan.
Mike Tyson was a once in a lifetime boxing phenomenon and his induction is no doubt well deserved. I'm thankful I got to see Mike Tyson fight in his prime, but I won't watch a Tyson fight over and over again on DVD with my family and friends. I will watch (and have watched) "Rocky" many times. It's a classic. Congratulations to Stallone for creating an iconic figure whose legacy as a boxer will continue to live on for generations to come.