Sylvester Stallone as Rocky and Mr. T as Clubber Lang in Rocky III
Movies - TV
Decades Later, It's Clear That Clubber Lang Isn't The Real Villain Of Rocky III
One character in the “Rocky” movies that’s been treated like a villain was definitely full of rage, and it's easy, but not entirely accurate, to accuse him of murdering a beloved “Rocky” character. He was Clubber Lang, and despite 30 years of misinterpretation, he was not a villain, and although he was Rocky's antagonist, Clubber was justified in what he said and did in “Rocky III.”
When Clubber confronted Rocky at the dedication of Rocky's statue and announced to the whole world that Mickey, Rocky’s manager, denied him a well-earned title shot, he was rude but not evil. Clubber had earned a title shot and was denied because Mickey thought Rocky would lose, so if Clubber sounded angry about that and got in Rocky's face, he had good reason.
Just before Clubber’s fight with Rocky, Clubber shoved Mickey aside after Mickey called him an “ape,” but it was chaos spurred by their natural antagonism and reporters making a scene, not an intentional attempt on Mickey's life. As a result of his underlying heart condition, Mickey died, but only after he refused to go to a hospital and a doctor took too long to get there.
Clubber psychologically tore Rocky down because he was right about Rocky having lost his hunger for boxing and his need to prove himself. Rocky had been coasting for so long on celebrity and easy match-ups, which he knew deep down. Rocky was a great guy, but he was no longer a great boxer — and Clubber Lang wanted it more and deserved it more.