Sylvester Stallone tells Tyson Fury: “You’re the greatest heavyweight that ever lived”
On this week’s episode of The Jonathan Ross Show, Jonathan is joined by Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone, two-time world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, stars of Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverMartin Freeman and Danai Gurira, six-time premier league-winning footballer Rio Ferdinand, comedian and Strictly Star Ellie Taylor, and, fresh from her victory at the Mercury Prize Awards, Little Simz will be performing live in the studio.
Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone, joining via Zoom from New York, speaks of sparring with boxing legends over the years, which often led to injury.
He says: “I sparred with Ali, Joe Frazier gave me 11 stitches and that was in about two seconds. I was thinking about using him instead of Mr T in Rocky 3. I said, ‘Let me use a real fighter.’ That’s not a good idea. They don’t know how to stop pulling their punches, that’s the whole point. They think, ‘I’ll just follow through’. Earnie Shavers literally almost beat me to death without trying. [He was] wearing 20 ounce gloves. Imagine if he was angry!”
Playing football with Pelé also led to injury. Sylvester explains: “I thought, ‘What’s the big deal guys?’ I tell you what, you stand in there, [he said] ‘You’re supposed to play a goalie, I’m going to tell you exactly where I’m going to kick it [the ball] and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.’ I stand in the corner and all I hear is this [woosh]… next thing I know, my finger’s broken. It [the ball] tore through the back of the net and broke a window. I learned my lesson, I tell you that.”
Outside of his iconic roles, Sylvester talks about roles he didn’t get: “I auditioned for Superman. I’d have been the world’s shortest superman… I don’t look good in leotards at all.”
Talking about doing a reality show following his home life, Sylvester says: “I want to do it while I’m still relevant.” He adds: “You’re playing Rocky and Rambo and all these characters, but when you get home and you’ve got three daughters and two poodles, you’re one step below that in the food chain.”
Discussing the film Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Sylvester says it came down to a clash with Arnold Schwarzenegger that he got the part: “We couldn’t stand to be in the same galaxy together for a while. We truly, truly loathed each other. He’s quite clever. He goes around town saying, ‘I can’t wait to do this film…’ I go to my agent, ‘Get that thing away from him. Get people options on me.’ I got it and I said, ‘What a piece of s*** this is.’ He goes, ‘Ha ha ha!’ At least I wasn’t pregnant in a film Arnold. We’re even.”
Sylvester says he wants Tyson Fury in Expendables explaining: “I think he’d be fantastic, he’s a natural force of nature and he has charisma so why wouldn’t we want him? As long as he’s on the other side beating up the other guys.”
Tyson responds saying: “100% in the future, it’s something I’d love to explore. Who better to help me than the man himself Mr Rocky Balboa? The guy I grew up watching on TV. A great opportunity and a great offer and something I’d love to have a go at later when I finish with the boxing career.”
Sylvester then says of Tyson: “I think you’re the greatest heavyweight that ever lived and I’m a boxing historian, I studied this closely. When you put together all your skills, plus your heart and your ability to recuperate and how you can move around so well at your size, there’s no one that could have beat you in any era. It’s totally true.”
Tyson admits: “That’s one for the memory book, I really appreciate it.”
Discussing his current fight training Tyson Furyhe says of preparing to fight Derek Chisora: “Always confident. I train really hard and I sacrifice and dedicate. Whatever will happen in the ring on the night will happen. All I can do is eat, train, sleep, repeat. The rest is in God’s hands.”
Tyson, on retiring and it leaving a gap in his life, says: “I suppose I’m going to have to cross that bridge when it actually happens. For four months I was in a very, very low place. Even though I had a lot going on, I was writing a book, I was singing a song, I was doing a Netflix documentary, I was doing tours up and down the country, but it still didn’t give me the fulfilment that I get from boxing.”
He adds of retiring in the future and how many fights he might have left: “I’m not really too sure what I’m going to get into after boxing. For now I’m just focussing on enjoying the latter end of my career and taking it all in. As a youngster coming up you take everything for granted and you think it’s never going to end. But when you get to near 30 you start prevention rather than cure. You start working on things you actually appreciate what you have, as in your physical, your body, and it’s not broken and you know it can be broken any time soon and it takes a lot longer to recover, so you start taking more precautions in your old age.
“I never really took my career seriously until I got to about 30, which was about four years ago. Now I’m an ultimate professional. It’s a little bit too late unfortunately. At 34, how long have I got in the game? Who knows, it might be 10 fights, it might be one fight, it might be two. Who knows. The one thing I do know is I’m going to enjoy every second and it’s going to be electric while it lasts.”
Speaking about his latest book, he adds: “It’s a lot of open and honest personal detail in there. My life’s been an open book and it’s been a rollercoaster. I just keep journaling it all down and giving it out to the public.”
Discussing his kids, he says: “I’ve got six kids and a rottweiler. My house is like a crazy house, it’s a madhouse, there’s never a moment’s peace. When I’m away I miss it and when I’m there I need to get out the door.”
He adds of his own fly-on-the-wall style reality series: “Tommy and Molly are in the show also. They’re expecting their first child as well. I’m just saying you better prepare yourself for a hell of a lifestyle change because a child is very, very difficult.”
THE JONATHAN ROSS SHOW, SATURDAY AT 10.00PM ON ITV AND ITV HUB