In a long and distinguished career spanning 30 years and 6 films, Rocky Balboa faced a multitude of opponents ranging from a steroid-fueled Soviet killing machine to Hulk Hogan. Nevertheless, there remain several minor characters of the "Rocky" series that our favorite dyslexic underdog never had the chance to fight
1. UNION CANE, "Rocky V"
Introduced briefly in the fifth "Rocky," Union Cane had all the signs of becoming Balboa's next great opponent: a cool name, an impressive record, and he was black. Sadly, Dolph Lundgren-induced brain damage and Adrian's bitching forces Rocky into retirement, and Cane instead settles for a bout against Tommy Gunn, a thickheaded heavyweight who wears tacky FIFA
tracksuits and is naive enough to claim he's "nobody's boy" while under the management of Don King.
2. THE BULLIES WHO BEAT UP ROCKY'S SON, "Rocky V"
When the Balboa family is forced to move back to the low-class Philly neighborhood where the champ grew up, Rocky Jr.'s preppy upbringing invites the finest ass kicking the city's public schools have to offer. Rocky Sr. dismisses his son's pleas for help with all sorts of "you need to, like, use you brain"-style pacifism; still, nothing would have been cooler—or funnier—than to watch a 2-time heavyweight champion pound a bunch of 13-year-olds into a bloody, jean-jacket-wearing mess. Though the lil' Stallion eventually manages to give his peers a good PG-rated beat-down, his newfound street cred is quickly eliminated after he wears one of Adrian's dangling earrings in an ill-advised attempt at rebellion.
3. PAULIE'S ROBOT MAID, "Rocky IV"
Remember that sequence in "Rocky II" where Balboa blows all his fight money on sports cars and diamond-studded dog collars? Apparently the champ didn't learn much about budgeting between then and part IV, in which he buys his drunken brother-in-law Paulie the finest housecleaning automaton 1985 has to offer. The 7-foot droid appears to be an indestructible opponent for the Stallion, but it could suffer in the ring with only two real abilities: saying "Happy birthday, Paulie" in an electric monotone and serving cans of light beer to its master.
4. TIGERS, "Rocky II" and "Rocky III"
A ferocious predator and hands-down the coolest "Animorphs" character, tigers also play a curiously prominent role in the Balboa saga: Rocky taunts the creatures after proposing to Adrian at the zoo, buys a leather jacket with a tiger airbrushed on the back (classy), and re-claims his heavyweight title from Mr. T using what Apollo Creed (and rock band Survivor) calls "the Eye of the Tiger." The cat motif might simply be intended to reflect the protagonist's own primal tenacity, or it may foreshadow a yet-to-be-produced prequel in which the Italian Stallion's ancestor (played by Stallone) battles Bengal tigers in ancient Rome for Joaquin Phoenix's amusement.
5. BALD BULL
, "Mike Tyson's Punch Out"
Fuck Ivan Drago. This is the foreigner Balboa should have gone toe-to-toe with. The "Rocky" franchise was well under way by the time Nintendo released the greatest boxing game of all time, and who better to match the Stallion than a 300-pound deformed Turk whose most complex move is to charge his opponent from across the ring in an impetuous rage, and who bears a suspicious resemblance to Sloth from "The Goonies?"