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Philadelphia provides perfect backdrop for Rocky

12/5/2006 - Boxing

PHILADELPHIA -- Sylvester Stallone isn't pulling any punches
this time: Rocky Balboa is going out like a champ.

After "Rocky V" left Stallone feeling as if the movie series
had hit the canvas, he loves the way the latest -- and final -- film
allows some cinematic closure for the gritty Philly fighter.

"I wasn't happy with the fifth one," Stallone said Monday
night at Lincoln Financial Field where the Eagles played Carolina.
"I think this one is real satisfying for the people who like
Rocky."

All the freezing front-row fans at Monday night's game still
seemed to love Philly's favorite fictional son, chanting "Rocky!
"Rocky!" at Stallone during pregame warmups. It's the kind of
reception the actor -- or is it character -- receives everywhere in
Philadelphia, from short waves to the fans or a statue dedication.
Even former Eagles player Hugh Douglas dropped in to the TV
broadcast booth to meet Stallone.

"Philadelphia's been like a real safe haven for me," Stallone
said. "The reason I'm here today is because of Philadelphia. They
just backed the film. It was a real perfect blend of the character,
which really represented the people of Philadelphia. It just was a
lucky accident it all came together."

Stallone said this movie shows an older Rocky, who is reluctant
to get back in the ring but ends up fighting just to compete, not
necessarily to win. Old pal Paulie is back, but Rocky's been
growing apart from his son. One crucial character does not return,
though somehow she still gives The Italian Stallion the added
inspiration to fight for the title one more time.

No Adrian!

"We realize it never goes away. Life is always going to be a
battle," Stallone said. "You expect it to get easy as you get
older. It doesn't. It's how does he cope, how has he tried to put
together new friends? He's starting out without his wife. He's full
of grief."

Stallone, who said he's now working on finding locations for
another "Rambo" flick, is hoping for a successful comeback for
the one-time A-list action star with a hefty box office purse when
the film opens Dec. 22.

"We see it like a rebirth," Stallone said. "Certainly not the
way he was in 'Rocky I,' but an older, wiser guy."