Sylvester Stallone Was “Really Upset” Creed II Director Cut Rocky vs. Drago Rematch

Creed II star and writer-producer Sylvester Stallone was “upset” director Steven Caple Jr. cut a mini rematch between his Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago, according to co-star Dolph Lundgren. The scuffle would have taken place after Adonis ‘Donnie’ Johnson Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is hospitalized following his first bout with Drago’s contender son Viktor (Florian Munteanu), a fight that ended with Drago disqualified. When the Dragos and fight promoter Buddy Marcelle (Russell Hornsby) show at the hospital with a film crew to generate press, tensions boil over into Rocky IV opponents Balboa and Drago trading punches.

“So Rocky comes down in the lobby, and we basically [say], ‘We’re going to go up there and talk to him, take some photos.’ [Rocky says], ‘I can’t let you do that.’ So then there’s a kind of shoving match, and I take a swipe at him, and then we end the fight in the lobby,” Lundgren said at FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention. “It was fun. It was interesting, because I hadn’t thrown a punch at Stallone since ’85, because in Expendables, we’re on the same side.”

Because Stallone “worked all day doing dramatic stuff,” the Rocky star entered the lobby “not in a good mood.”

“I could see people clearing out. I was like, ‘This is not going to be good, I gotta get in a fight with this guy now?’ He’s also producing the movie, he’s my boss, all of that,” Lundgren joked. “It worked out fine, we both enjoyed it. But I think the director decided he didn’t want the fight in there.”

“For some reason, they took it out. I haven’t seen it cut together — I think it’s on the DVD or something,” he continued. “But Stallone was really upset, he wanted it in there. But I guess it broke the flow of the picture somehow, so there you go. Maybe next time.”

The scene never surfaced on any home media release, but behind-the-scenes footage captured during filming shows Lundgren and Stallone rehearsing before playing out the scene.

In it, Lundgren’s Drago says “this Creed is still alive” — referring to Apollo Creed’s (Carl Weathers) fatal fight with Drago in 1985 — before shoving Rocky and landing two blows that send the long-retired fighter spinning into a security desk. Rocky retaliates with a flurry of his own hits but cools down when a pair of security guards break up the fight.

Stallone shared that footage to his Instagram in February. “It would’ve been extraordinary,” Stallone wrote. “But regretfully it was cut... pity.”

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Lundgren previously expressed doubts Stallone would retire Rocky Balboa after the franchise creator publicly declared Creed II his last outing as the character. Stallone has since pitched another spinoff that would see Rocky act as mentor to an immigrant fighter.

Longtime Rocky franchise producer Irwin Winkler most recently revealed he offered Jordan the opportunity to direct Creed III. Asked if he’ll star in a third film, Jordan told ET Canada, “Yeah, we’re definitely gonna do Creed III. I don’t know when, though.”