Friday, July 01, 2005
Rocky - At the Main Street Gym
This is my favorite boxing movie of all time. In January or February of 1976, I was a young boxer training at the Main Street Gym, in Los Angeles, California, when I got a call from my manager/trainer, Mel Epstein, telling me that they were filming a movie about the life of Rocky Marciano at the gym. He asked if I would like to be an extra in the movie. Of course I said yes. Well as it turns out, they were not making a Marciano biography.
As the film got under way, I had a chance to meet Sylvester Stallone, at that time, I was not very impressed, since the only other time I had seen him was in the "Lords of Flatbush". He was not yet the superstar he would later become. In fact he was really an unknown. He was however, a very nice guy. I got a picture with him, and I've since had it blown up into an 8x10, it's my pride and joy of a long ago time. In case anybody is interested, the scene that I'm in, is when Rocky and Mickey are arguing after his gear was removed from his locker and hung on "skid row". I'm in the upper right hand corner, in the ring that's on the right side of the screen. I'm sparring with Monroe Brooks, who was the California State Champ at the time, and a very nice guy, by the way. I'm wearing an off white tan colored trunks and red head gear. Actually, these are my Navy swim trunks. Brooks, I believe, was wearing red trunks. Not that it matters, but just for identification only, he's the black guy (I hate doing that).
Burgess Meredith had lunch with Mel (my trainer) and picked his brain for his Mickey character. They filmed at the gym for three days, and I got paid forty dollars a day. I would have done it for free. I was glad to see the movie get an Oscar, and disappointed that Stallone did not get the best actor award. It's funny, but my kids always tease me, they know I like showing the movie and the picture whenever someone is over for the first time. I've tried to stop because I think it embarrasses them. Rocky was a classic story about an underdog who gets his shot at respect. And it's about heart. For all these reasons, Rocky is one of my favorite movies, definitely my favorite boxing movie.
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Photo courtesy of Rick Farris 1969 Southern Pacific A.A.U. Champions, El Monte Legion Stadium (top row) Pete Despart, ?, ?, Mike Quarry, ?, ...
By Randy De La O My earliest memories of the old Main Street Gym in Los Angeles are of my father and I going there to watch the fighters w...