HomeBOXING

The Argentine boxer who fought Stallone in Rocky

This is Peter Lovell. He appeared in the first and sixth films of the historical saga. Rocky is one of the most extensive and iconic sagas in wor


This is Peter Lovell. He appeared in the first and sixth films of the historical saga.

Rocky is one of the most extensive and iconic sagas in world cinematography. The story of a mediocre boxer who became world heavyweight champion, after epic battles, was conceived, written and starred by Sylvester Stallone. In two of the six films that make up the saga, an Argentine boxer appeared who, due to those things of fate, landed in Hollywood: Pedro Lovell.

Lovell was born in Quilmes in June 1945. Although he came to play in the Independiente Reserve, his family legacy carried more weight and he left football for boxing.

His father, Santiago Alberto, won the gold medal in the heavy category at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. He retired in 1951 after being knocked out by Archie Moore at Luna Park. His uncle, Guillermo José, won the silver medal at the 1936 Berlin Games, also in heavyweight. While his brother, Santiago Alberto, participated in the 1964 Tokyo Games, losing in the quarterfinals.

Unlike his family, Pedro did not fight in Argentina and decided to try his luck as a boxer in the United States, a country where he emigrated very young.
When he was summoned to participate in the movie Rocky, at the beginning of 1976, the Argentine had a record of 16 victories, 14 by way of knockout, one draw and two losses.

One of the falls took place on January 10 of that year against Ken Norton (a boxer who beat Ali, breaking his jaw). In the fight that took place at the Convention Center in Las Vegas, the Argentine fell by knockout in the fifth round.

Lovell’s rival that night could have been his partner in the movie Rocky, since Norton was initially chosen to play the role of Apollo Creed, an offer he rejected when joining another project.

The movie Rocky begins with a plaque announcing: November 25, 1975, Philadelphia. In the first scene, between objects falling into the ring, the smoke and the screaming of people, many drunk, Rocky Balboa and Spider Rico, Lovell’s name in the film, exchange blows.

At one point in the second round, Rico headbutts Rocky, causing the “Italian Stallion” to rage, who with a series of blows, including some when he is lying in the ring, knocks out his rival.

After being declared the winner, Rocky leaves the ring, asks a spectator for a cigarette and enters the locker room smoking. At the scene, lying on a stretcher, with a can of beer in his hand, Spider Rico tells Rocky: “Hey, you were lucky tonight.”

After receiving the payment for the fight made, Rico falls asleep, while Balboa, sitting on a bench, holds his head due to the pain caused by his rival’s head butt.

That scene concluded Lovell’s participation in the film that won three Oscars (including Best Picture of 1976) of the 10 nominations it received, grossing more than 225 million dollars worldwide.

After his foray into Hollywood, the Argentine made a couple more fights in the United States during 1976 (one win and one draw); in 1977 he made his only fight in the country, beating Juan Antonio Musladino by points in Florencio Varela on July 30; him saying goodbye to the ring on November 15 in Anaheim, losing by unanimous decision to Mike Weaver, who would win the World Boxing Association heavyweight title in 1980.

In 2006, Lovell returned to the big screen, when Stallone summoned him to participate in the last film in the saga, Rocky VI.

In the film, he can be seen washing dishes in the basement of Adrian’s, the restaurant run by the former champion, in exchange for a plate of food, reminding Rocky that “that night he was lucky” (alluding to the first fight).

In the same film, Rico appears in another scene, reading a Bible verse to Balboa before the fight with Mason Dixon.

In Creed II, the continuity of the Rocky story, released in 2018, a scene was filmed showing Rocky at Rico’s funeral in a chapel.

That part, which went viral on the networks, was finally not included in the film. What happened? Stallone did not see fit to include it, as Lovell was in poor health.