Thursday, April 27, 2023

Real World Champions Fight the Fictional Gauntlet


While it is true I am wasting time here by posting about my video game playing activities, I could be wasting far more of it.

I do not automatically photograph and video every time I blow off my writing duties to play games in an effort to preserve what little sanity I have left on weekend evenings.

Sometimes, I simply have fun while blowing off my writing goals. 

I've run a couple of the most famous heavyweight champions through the Rocky Movie "Gauntlet" of fights, without a single snap shot.

This is because, although I was having fun, the outcomes were on the repetitive and dull side for what would be outside observers.

"Iron" Mike Tyson, early in his career under the training of Cus D'Amato and Kevin Rooney cut a swath through opponents that struck fear into the hearts of many. I spent a very entertaining evening controlling his actions fighting against the Rocky franchise characters.

However, every fight looked pretty much the same. 

The battles consisted of dodging and blocking while working inside to unleash combinations, counters and uppercuts into the body of the other fighter. Once the opponent was worn down, battling inside instead switched to a means to fire off power hooks to the ribs and head shots to flatten the other man.

Playing as Muhammad Ali was even more fun. I used his speed, his dancing and his taunts to spend most of the match out of range, then waltz in close enough to land immense barrages of jabs and crosses to the face of the confused opponent. Eventually, those straight shots would lead to stuns and knock outs.

Yes, I do realize I chose pictures showing Tyson and Ali throwing the punches I said the other fighter used. I'm confusing like that.

Now playing as Archie Moore, that led to some interesting moments. His career spanned long enough that the Old Mongoose is the only fighter to go up against both Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali. He had all around boxing skill, and holds the record for the most knockouts by a fighter who competed in the higher weight classes. (The only man above him for knockouts in general is Billy Bird, a welterweight.) Moore brought a combination of skills, endurance, and finishing power.  Also, my Dad liked him and I read his there's that.

Note- Times have changed. I think if I followed his diet, I would be in medically induced crazy-hungry land constantly, while still ending up needing another stent. 

However, the version I have of him in the game is from his decade long reign as Light Heavyweight champion. (He held the record for oldest Light Heavyweight champion until only ten years ago... and boxing ain't what it once was.)

This grants extra power, and "stun-ability" to his heavyweight movie opponents in the game, adding to the challenge.

Most of the boxing matches were entertaining (for me), and took a bit of thinking and planning to win. I had a fun time, but they didn't reach exciting enough levels to get me up off the couch to record it. There were some cool moments, though.

The first was early on in the Apollo Creed fight. Due to the weight class discrepancy, when the Master of Disaster caught Moore with a flurry of stunning punches that finished up with an overwhelming hook, Mr. Moore found himself unceremoniously seated. At this point, I remembered a section of Moore's book where he talked about the fact that being knocked down, but not out, in a fight let him know his opponent didn't posses finishing power and he knew he could win if he fought smart.

Therefore, I had him fight smarter the rest of the way (meaning staying the heck away from those high speed combos) and eventually reach victory.

Most of the other matches went as usual, but two did merit recording.

The first was the (yet again) ALWAYS difficult match against Ivan Drago.

This one lasted eleven grueling rounds and went exactly like the fight in Rocky IV only more so.

Moore spent the whole time trying to avoid shots from the big Russian, and relying on his crab shell defense while concentrating on landing devastating counters and combinations to the body...

The tide started to turn in the sixth, but Drago came back stronger in the seventh. Then Moore took control. I may have yelled "He's cut!" in the same tone as the film announcers when a well placed head shot eventually did its work. 
Then Archie dropped him once in the ninth, and twice in the tenth, but the Siberian Express kept on coming!

It was a return to attacking the body, with a well placed right cross to the face in the middle of it that brought he victory in the eleventh round.

The other match with a story was the final one against "young upstart" Mason Dixon. 

The fight started with a lot of back and forth trading, the Old Mongoose biding his time against his younger opponent, and trying to punch with more accuracy if less frequency. While Dixon was ahead on points, Moore was competing and starting to catch up.

Then in the fourth round the unspeakable happened. Dixon landed a lucky counter that knocked Moore down to the ground.
As a fellow "old guy" there was no way I was going to let that moment stand for this whippersnapper. 
The Old Mongoose chased down "The Line," beat him around the ring in the fifth round, and knocked him down once in the sixth. Then Archie Moore finished things off with two knock downs in the seventh, the final one chasing his rude young foe into the corner and decking him out of the ring entirely.

A victory lap was required. I had already watched (and played both ways) Moore's fights with Ali and Marciano as soon as I downloaded him. Therefore Archie, Moore took on the blistering speed of heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, dealt handily with that speed, and redeemed his fifth round knockout from 1953.

Not only did he redeem it, he dominated the match, and knocked Paterson down twice and then finally out in one round less than his real world loss. (Pardon the speed changes, it's almost the whole round.)

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