Whether you’re getting ready for the fight of your life against, say, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) or Clubber Lang (Mr. T) or working through whatever life throws at you, you need someone in your corner, and for Rocky that someone is Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith), the salty old boxing trainer whose brand of inspiration is a little different than what you’ll find on Oprah. Mick, who looks like he just got off a shift working at a dock, is old-school to the bone, and the lessons Mickey teaches Rocky reveal his own special brand of wisdom.
5. A Man Should Never Be Afraid to Repeat Himself in Order to Get His Point Across
Mickey lives this piece of advice. Telling Rocky he needs to be faster doesn’t do the trick, so he says, “You got to get speed, demon speed. Speed’s what we need; we need greasy, fast speed.”
4. When In Doubt, Go Back to Basics
Ever wonder why Mickey makes Rocky chase around a chicken as a training method? No, not as a practical joke. Rocky himself wonders and asks “What do I got to chase a chicken for?,” to which Mickey responds, “Chicken chasing is how we used to do it in the old days.” See? There’s no school like the old school.
3. A Man Must Separate Business and Pleasure
Mickey doesn’t mess with anything that interferes with his fighters doing what they are supposed to be doing: fighting. And he says so after Rocky marries Adrian (whom he does eventually take to): “What’s with this domestic stuff? Tend to business, will ya?”
2. Every Man, No Matter What He Does, Needs to Know Math
Rocky isn’t exactly Will Hunting, and presumably neither is Mickey, but he knows that you need basic math skills to get through in life. There’s a mathematical and formulaic component to training that can’t be ignored. As Mickey says, “For a 45-minute fight, you got to train hard for 45,000 minutes.” Fact.
1. Never Laugh at Your Friends If They Don’t Read So Well
Rocky himself doesn’t read so well, but Mickey never makes fun of him for it. He makes fun of him for many things — but not his literary skills.