23
Oct
2019

Rocky Balboa: The Philly fighter with a 57-second pro career

Phil Jay 27/03/2017

Shrouded in mystery is the eye-catching yet deflated career of a young fighter named Rocky Balboa who made his debut as professional in 1981, six years after the famous Oscar-winning movie was first released.

The original ‘Rocky’ was a worldwide smash hit and spawned several successful sequels to become one of the most lucrative franchises in history, although one check at the boxing records sees the name ‘Rocky Balboa’ produced on a solitary occasion.

Campaigning at welterweight, ‘Rocky Balboa’ made his on November 7th against future 154lb world champion Robert Hines, losing in 57 seconds via knockout and would never again grace a boxing ring.

A little more digging into his blink-and-you-miss-it career, to find out whether that truly is his real name, came up fruitless – but it would certainly be intriguing to know whether the name was adopted or Balboa was the victim of a massive coincidence – presumably the former.

It’s highly unfortunate Balboa’s career lasted less than a minute, and no one else since has been bold enough to carry the same mantle. Any contender – even with the surname bestowed on him – would potentially be a promoter’s dream and the subject of early career publicity.

If there was any for this Balboa, it seems to have disappeared without a trace.

Amazingly, Balboa was billed form Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – the same city and state as his fictional namesake, although what happened to him after that single bout against Hines remains a mystery.

Opponent Hines would go on to fight another nine years, culminating in an IBF super-welterweight title triumph against Matthew Hilton in 1988 before retirement followed 18 months later following two losses from three subsequent bouts.

Hines has laughed off talk of facing Balboa in some Q and A’s that followed his bout 26 years ago, having been as confused as everyone else as to how the boxer came to the ring bearing that name…of all names.

If you have any idea what happened to ‘Rocky Balboa’ after his pro debut in the early eighties please contact WBN at phildjay@worldboxingnews.net

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