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Sylvester Stallone has announced that he is retiring the Rocky Balboa character, after more than 40 years.
For more than four decades fans have been watching and re-watching the Philadelphia slugge battle it out in the ring, whether it was his titanic tussle with Apollo Creed in the 1976 original, Rocky, or his Cold War clash with Ivan Drago.
The muscle-bound brawler then made a surprising come back in the 2006 film, Rocky Balboa, which saw the aging boxer given one last shot, when he stepped into the ring with cocky champ, Mason "The Line" Dixon.
But in an emotional video posted on the actor's Instagram account, Stallone says it is time to hang up the gloves once and for all and pass the mantle onto another star, for his story to be told.
"Well, this is probably my last rodeo because... I thought Rocky was over in 2006, and I was very happy with that, and then all of the sudden [motioning off-screen to Michael B. Jordan] this young man presented himself and the whole story changed. It went on to a new generation. New problems. New adventures. And I couldn't be happier, because as I step back, as my story has been told, there's a whole new world that's gonna be opening up, for the audience, for this generation."
Loved Creed II.- Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 29, 2018
Better than the first one & right up there with the best of the Rocky movies.
Amazing fight scenes & powerful human narrative.
Congrats @michaelb4jordan @TheSlyStallone - great film. :punch:@creedmovie pic.twitter.com/qGeCgYfOBB
In the post's caption, Stallone wrote: "I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide World for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years. It's been my Ultimate privilege to have been able to create and play this meaningful character.
"Though it breaks my heart, Sadly all things must pass... and end. I love you Kind and generous people, and The most wonderful thing of all, is that ROCKY will never die because he lives on in you..."
The heartfelt goodbye comes ahead of the release of Creed II, a sequel to the spin-off movie Creed, which follows the rise of Adonis Creed - the son of Rocky's former rival and friend Apollo - played by Michael B. Jordan.
Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), who trains Apollo Creed's son in #Creed2, is 2 years older than Mickey (Burgess Meredith) was when he trained Rocky in the original movie. Makes total sense but still a shock reading that :open_mouth: pic.twitter.com/hRFB2kJ2Km- Tom Gray (@Tom_Gray_Boxing) November 19, 2018
A true legend.
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