Yo Adrian!
April 6, 2008 8:00 PM   Subscribe

I watched "Rocky" with my roommate last night and we had a debate about what happened when Rocky was knocked down in the 14th.

Mickey yells "stay down!" to Rocky when he gets knocked down in the 14th round. Personally, I thought he was telling Rocky to stay down and take the knockout. My roommate thought he was telling Rocky to stay down and rest to take full advantage of the 10 count. I just thought that it was an displayed Rocky's determination to get back up even though he had every excuse to stay down.

Does anybody know what Mickey was really trying to say?
posted by PFL to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have to agree with you. Rocky is pretty much beaten to a pulp by that point, and Mickey is telling him to just end it. In our shared understanding, Rocky is a underdog hero. In your friend's, he is a poor strategist, too foolish not to rest for the full count. Which do you think he is?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:11 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I like your interpretation.
Absent direct access to the screenwriter, director and star, I assert that of the two choices it is INHERENTLY MORE DRAMATIC for Mickey, wisest of men, to beg Rock to take the knockout.
To give up.
To save himself.
That makes Sly's rise all the sweeter.
posted by Dizzy at 8:14 PM on April 6, 2008

I had always thought it was Mickey telling him to stay down for the knockout for exactly the reasons already posted.
posted by jmd82 at 8:28 PM on April 6, 2008

I love this kind of question because it reminds me that even something that seems really plain and rock solid to me, like Mickey telling Rock to stay down because he is beat, can be interpreted a different way. And you know, it's not that far out, it makes sense. Mickey is wisest of men, as well as least sentimental, and that's some good strategy that Rock was in no shape to keep his mind on. That's why Mickey is in his corner, right?

So, anyway, I think your interpretation is correct, and I have for basically my whole conscious life, but I am delighted and fascinated with your roommate's interpretation.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:29 PM on April 6, 2008

I've seen Rocky numerous times, including the initial theater run. It never occurred to me that Mickey was telling him anything other than to stay down, period, and forfeit the bout.

Remember, Rocky was new in his career, plucked out of obscurity as a publicity stunt for Apollo Creed. Mickey would not want Rocky permanently damaged in his first big-time fight. Managers are supposed to look after the long-term health and ability of the fighter, not just for obvious reasons, but because it's good business sense as well.

This philosophy is shown more obviously in Rocky III, when Rocky discovers that Mickey had been avoiding putting Rocky up against Clubber Lang (Mr. T) in order to extend his reign as champion. Mickey explains that that's his job, to protect him and help him win. Mickey knew Clubber Lang was too tough for him, and that Rocky had gotten soft. ("He'll knock you into tomorrow, Rock!")

Then... there's this one scene in Rocky IV where... oh... sorry.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:39 PM on April 6, 2008

According to my roommates, if your roommate is right 30 years of Rocky parodies are wrong.

And with that, we are going to watch "Stay Down!" by Kids in the Hall, since we can't stop quoting it.
posted by piratebowling at 9:43 PM on April 6, 2008

Best answer: rocky's hope going into the fight was not so much to win, but to last the full 15 rounds with creed. see this earlier quote from the script:

C'mon, it's true -- But that don't bother me -- I just wanna prove somethin' -- I ain't no bum... It don't matter if I lose... Don't matter if he opens my head... The only thing I wanna do is go the distance -- That's all. Nobody's ever gone fifteen rounds with Creed. If I go them fifteen rounds, an' that bell rings an' I'm still standin', I'm gonna know then I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood...
here is how stallone wrote the scene where rocky goes down in the 14th:

... Rocky is driven against the ropes and receives a devastating beating from the Champion... Rocky is dropped.

Rocky sits stunned in the middle of the ring... Everything is a distortion. He looks for familiar faces as though to ask for help... Mickey and Mike scream frantically for him to stay down.
Six -- Seven -- Eight --

Rocky gets to his feet and tenses with renewed energy. He is like a wounded wild animal. The tide suddenly turns....

given that in the script, mick is "screaming frantically", that implies some sort of panic or at least an emotionally-driven state. mick knew that rocky would take a beating to within an inch of his life in order to last the whole fight with creed, and shouting for him to stay down is basically saying "look, you've made your point, don't kill yourself over one more round". frantic screaming isn't the act of a coolly calculating man!
posted by sergeant sandwich at 1:59 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

It's textbook creation of dramatic tension. This is the moment when even Mickey has lost faith that he can win. By having Mickey switch from cheerleader to protector, we really feel the sense of imminent defeat. By rising to his feet, Rocky surprises all of us.
posted by dhartung at 2:39 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses everyone! I'm glad you all agreed with me.
posted by PFL at 7:12 AM on April 7, 2008

Also to consider - I'm no boxing expert, but I'm not sure that staying on the mat for a long count is ever a wise decision. Too many things can happen when you get off the mat - knees buckle, head spins, &c. I would think a fighter would want to get back up ASAP, just in case he has any trouble standing.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 8:07 AM on April 7, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah Banky_Edwards, I agree. If I see a boxer resting during the count, it's generally while they are halfway upright and sitting on one knee.
posted by PFL at 10:48 AM on April 7, 2008

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