Ladies and Gentlemen! I bring you a match-up that will get your heart a-pumpin and your voice a-screamin! This is between the most famous fictionalized boxers of all time, Rocky Balboa from the Rocky movies and Little Mac from the Punch Out video games! They are known for their indomitable will, their stubborn tenacity, and the ability to beat the odds no matter what against larger-than-life opponents. Both of these boxers never met each other in the ring but what if they did? Who would win between these two boxing legends?? Let’s find out folks! Only canon sources are applied and no items will be used, let’s determine whose will and fortitude is stronger in a fantastic, 12-round, battle of Rocky the Two Time Heavyweight Champion vs. Little Mac the Champion of the World Video Boxing Association!
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Let’s start off with Rocky! A native Philadelphian, Rocky’s humble origins were eventually thrown into the spotlight when Apollo Creed, the Heavyweight Champion, handpicked him to fight in a special match. Since his legendary battle with the Champion, Rocky has faced tough opponents over the years such as the vicious Clubber Lang and the monster Ivan Drago. He even faced the new Champion, Mason Dixon, when he was 60 years old! He has had several trainers over the years such as Apollo’s trainer Duke, Apollo himself and of course, Mickey Goldmill played by Burgess Meredith. All of these trainers had imparted their boxing wisdom onto Rocky and he would have definitely not been the champ if it wasn’t for them.
Rocky’s main strength as a boxer is the ability to tire out his opponents. This is thanks to his iron jaw but especially to his will of steel. Even when faced against stronger opponents, he’s able to tire them out and finish the job. He actually uses this to his advantage by taunting some of his opponents, like Clubber Lang, and make them wear out faster by aggressively attacking him. One of Rocky’s main traits is his “southpaw” fighting, better known as fighting primarily with your left hand. It’s quite unorthodox in the boxing world and supposedly can throw off your opponent. In the end, Jim Lampley in Rocky Balboa said it best that Rocky has a “cast iron jaw, ferocious body attack, and will of steel; all of which carried him to victories over the years against physically superior opponents.”
Despite his talent as a great boxer, Rocky has some bad shortcomings that saw him some of his defeats. Rocky’s ego can get the better of him at times whether he either lacks or has too much of it. He had too much ego going up against Clubber Lang for their first fight and too little shortly before his first fight against Apollo Creed. Rocky also has a bad right eye which he got fighting his first match against Apollo Creed. He lacks some peripheral vision for that eye and that can be an almost literal blind spot for him. Also, Rocky seems to forget that he has hands and on those hands are gloves and he can use those gloves to block. He’s like Homer Simpson when he decided to take up boxing in “The Homer They Fall,” boxers punch him in the head but Rocky doesn’t seem to care.
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Little Mac hails from the Bronx and is primarily known for his short height. In the NES version of Punch Out he was 4’ 8’’ but then he was buffed up to 5’ 7’’ in the Wii version. Little Mac has faced many vainglorious opponents that were much bigger than him during his boxing matches. They’ve all been diverse and use unique techniques even to the point that some of them use magic to help them win. As such, Little Mac has valuable experience that was bestowed to him by his opponents and has prepared him for any kind of situation.
Little Mac’s main strength is his fast reaction. Some of his tougher opponents have punches that can strike fast and hard. However, all of them have tells that indicate their plan of action and Mac is good at picking those up. Depending on how well Mac knows his opponent, he can leave a match unscathed with another KO under his belt. Sometimes, Mac knows the tells so well that he’s able to hit his opponents at the right time to give him star punches. Star punches are extra strong punches that can do a lot of damage on his rivals. If he saved up three star punches he can knock them down with one blow. What’s more, if he’s out of hearts (basically his level of fatigue) only one star punch is needed to knock down the opponent and if he uses all three then that can knock them out for good.
However, if Little Mac is hit once after he gets a star punch he loses it. As such, he has to be careful to hold onto those star punches and use them when appropriate. Little Mac is also not the best defender as he can get knocked down by a few strong moves or even with one special move such as Bald Bull’s charge. If Little Mac gets hit, or if he blocks, or if he hits a blocking opponent then he’ll lose his hearts. If he reaches down to zero hearts, Mac will have to rest a bit and dodge his opponents until he can recover his hearts. During this critical time, Mac can’t throw any punches (except the star punches).
Doc Louis, his trainer, is also not the most helpful trainer at times. He’s good at getting Mac into shape and he was the one who taught Mac his star punches. However…Doc will give Mac cryptic advice how to beat his opponent in-between rounds and even then that doesn’t happen too much. Sometimes he’ll say what his favorite flower is (chocolate) or that he should join the Nintendo Fun Club. Other times he just commenting on how Mac is doing, the rival, or that Mac should finish this fight up. So yeah…not really the best support…
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Alright, now that we have our introductions aside, we can begin the match! Before we begin we’re going to level the playing field a bit and say that Rocky or Little Mac do not know each other at all going into the ring. All they know is their height, weight, age, and Win-Loss ratio. With that said, let’s get ready to rumbleeeeeeee!
In front of a large, screaming crowd, Rocky and Little Mac are introduced and they meet each other for the first time in the ring. Rocky is initially surprised that his opponent is so small while Little Mac is relieved that for once his rival does not initially seem wacky or loud. As they step forward for the referee to explain the rules, Rocky notices that Little Mac means business, he’s got the Eye of the Tiger. Already, Rocky is breaking down his opinion that maybe he shouldn’t go easy on this guy.
They step back to their corners and the bell rings.
The crowd screams as the two opponents warily step forward. They test the waters by jabbing at their opposites. Little Mac in particular is trying to find the chink in Rocky’s armor. He jabs at his stomach and at his head, trying to determine where is the sweetest spot to hit. Rocky blocks the stomach punches and returns with some counter punches of his own.
But Little Mac is fast, he has reacted to opponents much quicker than Rocky before and he easily dodges his punches. After he dodges one, he returns back with a solid uppercut to Rocky’s face. Rocky is momentarily dazed and now Little Mac is wailing on him. Mickey screams at Rocky while Paulie clutches at the loose strands of hair on his balding head. Rocky finally regains his composure and steps back from Mac to regain his senses.
Rocky is now no longer going to take it easy on Mac. Mac means business and he can hit hard at that. Rocky is now dancing the ring trying to determine what to do. Little Mac sweeps in though and starts pummeling him in the face. Little Mac has picked up that Rocky’s face is the best part to hit as he rarely blocks it. Rocky responds with a hook onto Mac and he finally hits him squarely on the side.
Little Mac is momentarily stunned and now has to dodge Rocky’s punches. As he wonders what to do next, the bell signaling the end of Round 1 rings out.
Understandably, Mickey is more than pissed at Rocky and fiercely shouts that Little Mac is not some shrimpy punk; Mac has what it takes to beat him. Meanwhile, Doc Louis cheerfully talks riddles to Little Mac leaving Mac once again frustrated and confused towards his trainer.
Round 2 begins and now everything is changed. Rocky has regained his desire to win and he’s no longer treating Mac as a fragile, plaything. He goes out there like a bull in a china shop and is now throwing punches fiercely at Mac. Mac is dodging, dodging, dodging. He’s pondering hard where to strike the now serious boxer.
And now, an opening! When Rocky lets loose a right hook, he leaves the right side of his face open for a surprise attack. Mac dodges the right hook and strikes an uppercut at Rocky.
Ding! Little Mac just got his first star punch. Before Rocky knew what literally hit him, Mac decides to let go while he still has the chance and release the star punch onto Rocky.
Bam! Rocky stumbles back and hits the ground hard. The ref starts counting and before he even reaches three, Rocky is back up again. He’s ready to dance with Mac again.
Little Mac throws another uppercut at Rocky but he blocks it. Little Mac throws another one and Rocky blocks it as well. Rocky then lets loose a series of jabs at Little Mac and for once the Bronx-fighter was too slow. Little Mac is getting slammed repeatedly and can’t break away from Rocky’s onslaught. Rocky lets loose another punch and Little Mac is the one to go down this time.
Little Mac climbs back up, now bruised and badly hurt, and decides to step off from the attacks to analyze his opponent some more. Rocky comes back with his own attacks and he misses again and again. Another right hook from Rocky is responded by a counter from Little Mac to his face again. Ding! Little Mac gets another star punch but he’s holding onto it this time.
The bell rings and it’s the end of Round 2.
“Hey, Mac!” says Doc to Mac, “Chisel away at Rocky with your uppercut punches.”
Round 3 begins and now the bruised fighters are coming back out again. Rocky is about to attack but he’s surprised by Mac as he took the initiative and punched him right in the stomach. Ding! Another star punch for Little Mac. Little Mac now proceeds to let a storm of punches onto Rocky. Left, right, left, right. Some to the face and some to the stomach. Rocky tries to respond with some punches of his own but Little Mac dodges it with ease. Another uppercut sends Rocky back down.
This time the referee gets to four and Rocky is back up. Rocky is about to attack again but Little Mac surprises him by jumping his star punches early and taking him down a second time.
Little Mac thinks that will keep Rocky down but he is surprised that Rocky comes back up, though admittedly struggling.
Rocky is now in full swing, he is in the zone, he can now visualize himself winning.
“Come on!” Rocky taunts to Little Mac as he starts dancing around him, “come on! Is that all you got??”
Little Mac swings at Rocky but he dodges and counters back with two quick blows to the head.
Little Mac is unsure what to do now and steps off from attacking his now loud mouthed opponent, waiting to see what he does now.
Rocky comes back in with a series of jabs and Little Mac dodges. Rocky let’s loose a series of punches that are entirely random. Left, left, right, left, uppercut, right, left hook. Rocky is successfully confusing Little Mac. He can’t dodge all the punches.
Bam! A solid punch to his stomach sends Little Mac down.
He climbs back and starts aggressively attacking Rocky again to the face. But Rocky responds by putting his hands up again and again and again. He then hits Little Mac back with another left hook.
Little Mac glows pink as he his fatigue takes a hold of him. Rocky sets up a right hook but Little Mac is ready this time. He dodges it, recovers, and hits Rocky again squarely below his right eye.
Ding! Another star punch. And just in time too, Round 3 just ended.
Round 4 begins and Rocky, after some encouragement from Mickey, begins taunting Little Mac again. Little Mac swings at Rocky but Rocky blocks and hits Mac in the head. Rocky randomizes everything now. He comes in close, he dances around Mac, he punches low, he punches high, he blocks his stomach and sometimes his face.
It’s too much for Little Mac, he can’t hit Rocky at the right times, he can’t figure out when he should dodge and when he should counter.
Little Mac goes down again. He’s struggling hard to get back up. He tries to attack again but it’s fruitless. Rocky has this fight. After a series of dodges and blocks, Rocky punches Little Mac one more time and he’s down and out. KO.
The winner is Rocky.
via Rocky II.
So why do I think Rocky would win this fight?
There are several reasons why I think he would win. First off, let’s look at Rocky IV. Ivan Drago has a punching strength of 2,150 psi, well above what even the strongest boxers can achieve. This punch was so devastating that it even killed Apollo Creed in the second round. Rocky was able to take Drago’s punches to his head multiple times, went the full 15 rounds, won it, and lived long enough to make two more movies. Even Drago commented how Rocky had a body made of iron.
If Rocky was an opponent in Punch Out, he’d probably be one of the most frustrating opponents ever. His health bar would barely decrease after every punch. Even when he’s knocked down multiple times, he will be able to get back up and keep fighting.
Little Mac on the other hand has a weaker body. One strong blow from Mike Tyson can lead to an instant knockdown. Little Mac can also go down so many times before he is KO’d for good. He is definitely a short-term fighter.
That’s not to say it was all in the bag for Rocky. Little Mac was definitely the faster of the two. He could dodge many of Rocky’s attacks with ease and respond promptly as well. True, Rocky got a speed boost in Rocky III but even then, Rocky’s agility does not compare to some of Mac’s more tricky opponents such as Mike Tyson, Mr. Sandman, and Bald Bull.
And if Little Mac was able to figure out what the hell Doc Louis means when he talks about Rocky’s Northeye, then he could exploit Rocky’s bad peripheral vision for his right eye and get a few good star punches from it as well.
I think though the real reason why Rocky would win between the two is that Rocky is human. He doesn’t have a set pattern like all of Mac’s opponents do. He can change things up and randomize his attack pattern to the point that Mac couldn’t keep up with him. At the heart of the matter, Little Mac is a responder. He doesn’t have the hearts to waste by senselessly attacking his opponents. He has to gauge when to accurately use them or not. Rocky would realize this halfway through the fight and would just go crazy in the ring. From southpaw to orthodox, from swarmer to out-boxer, he would just mix things up so much that Little Mac wouldn’t know what to do.
So Rocky wins in the end but…
…what about a rematch?
In true Punch Out and Rocky fashion there has to be a rematch. It’s funny because whenever I would look up what other people would say who would win between these two titans (or one titan at least) no one would talk about a rematch. I guarantee you that no matter who would win the first fight, the loser would win the rematch.
Besides the fact that’s the way underdog stories go, there is a clear reason why I think the loser would win the rematch. First off, if Mac won the first match, Rocky would go on a training montage and change up his fighting style just like he did for Apollo and Clubber Lang. He was able to win both rematches. This new style would throw off the pattern-loving Little Mac and Rocky would win.
But in this case, Little Mac would win because Doc Louis has a trump card that helps Little Mac through any trouble.
You see, in Punch Out for the Wii, Doc has an awesome training simulation machine that helps Mac through some of his more tricky opponents. He can practice again and again with them until he’s able to take the opponents in real life with ease. In this case, Rocky would practice against a Rocky simulation.
But how? How could Mac win against Rocky’s iron will and body?
The best method is to build up his star punches as fast as he could and knock Rocky down in a TKO. Three knockdowns in one round would satisfy a win for Mac. Mac would endlessly test against the simulation to determine weaknesses that even Rocky doesn’t know about.
And when that rematch happens, Little Mac would be ready and he would take Rocky down in a surprise upset in the first round.
And here, dear readers if you have managed to read this 3000+ word article, I leave you with this. I seriously believe that after that second match, Rocky and Little Mac would become friends similar to Rocky’s relationship with Apollo. Rocky would enjoy finding time to spar with a friendly rival while Mac would revel at the chance to be with a boxer that was not crazy or mean. Cause their burning hearts are, after all, made of gold.
Thanks for reading my longest article yet! This article was a culmination of research done on my free time by watching Rocky fights, playing Punch Out, learning boxing terminology, and watching Mike Tyson fights. Do you agree or disagree with who you’d think would win? Say so in the comments! I would be more than willing to hear what you think!