MICKEY’S FIGHT MONTAGEDownload Screenplay Excerpt (PDF)
This scene shows Mickey’s struggle to get a shot at the title and takes us through the main part of his career where he fights everyone who comes his way including, Ginny Russell who was mentioned in the first Rocky. He remains undefeated but he won’t take a dive for Gazzo’s mob and so will always be one step away from the title. He doesn’t take a dive… or maybe he… well, that’s for later:)
This reflects a common story of boxers of that period who basically ended up mangled and penniless after being manipulated by those who ran the fight racket. I also wanted to reflect the time period when it takes place by correlating actual events of the time.
TEENAGE MICKEY I’ll make a deal wit’ you, Mister Gazzo.
MASSIMO GAZZO I’m all ears; like a shithouse rat, I am.
Mickey grabs the pool cue and holds it firmly as Gazzo is about the strike the last ball.
TEENAGE MICKEY The first fight I lose – I promise on my father’s soul I’ll play the game anyway you want. But until I go down or until they beat me blind I’m gonna’ fight the only way I know how – I’M GONNA’ FIGHT TO WIN!
THWACK… Gazzo pockets the black.
FIGHT CAREER MONTAGE – (DECEMBER 1922 TO JANUARY 1933)
NEWSPAPER HEADLINES and BOXING PERIODICALS provide details of various fight locations and national historical events.
George Gershwin’s classic, “Someone to watch over me” plays over searing SOUND EFFECTS that accompany the SAVAGE ACTION.
A boxing glove SPLATTERS the face of brutalized Mickey.
SUPERIMPOSITION – GOLDMILL VS RUSSELL (September 14, 1923)
Mickey is fighting ferociously but GINNY RUSSELL is a formidable opponent.
Mickey chases Russell and pounds him with a right and a left. Russell gets in an uppercut that staggers Mickey. They stand toe-to-toe like a pair of pit bulls. Trainer Angelo screams from the corner to finish him.
Mickey lands a left to Russell’s gut then delivers a huge right cross that sends Russell flying THROUGH THE ROPES.
Mickey instinctively goes after Russell but the REFEREE holds him back. Dazed Russell stumbles back into the ring but sinks straight to his knees. The REFEREE waves his hands. It’s over.
“SLUGGER FIRPO KNOCKS CHAMP DEMPSEY OUT OF RING!”
A FLASHBULB BURSTS then fades into the classic B & W photo of JACK DEMPSEY laying outside the ropes as LUIS FIRPO looks on.
Mickey and Angelo celebrate the win with Gazzo and Scarfo’s mob. Booze and broads aplenty. The future looks bright.
Mickey is back in the gym and training his heart out. Angelo looks on admiringly.
SUPERIMPOSITION – GOLDMILL VS ELLIS (September 23, 1925)
Battered Mickey slumps on the stool in his corner. He takes a swig of water and spits blood into the bucket. Angelo works the dripping cuts.
The bell rings and Mickey leaps up and staggers across the ring. Mickey corners the powerful ELLIS and unleashes a lethal assault – one raw punch after another.
The SPECTATORS go wild – everyone’s baying for blood as Ellis staggers on the ropes. Mickey batters his visage into a bloody pulp. Ellis collapses on the canvas. The REFEREE counts him out.
Mickey DANCES ABOUT THE RING – KISSING HIS GLOVES. He thrusts them upward thanking the heavens.
“DEMPSEY LOSES HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE IN TEN ROUND DECISION!”
Mickey holds the newspaper headline in his hands and appears deeply affected by his hero’s loss.
He takes out his anger and batters away at a heavy bag until breathless and blind with sweat.
“JAZZ SINGER TALKIE A SENSATION!”
SUPERIMPOSITION – GOLDMILL VS COBB (October 6, 1927)
THE THIRD ROUND – Mickey is in serious trouble. COBB knocks him with a punishing left, then a dazzling series of rights and uppercuts. Mickey is PUNCHED ACROSS THE RING but doesn’t go down.
THE SIXTH ROUND – Furious Mickey forces COBB into his corner then lands a right hook to the temple and a flurry of mesmerizing handwork. Cobb drops and takes a seven count.
Cobb climbs to his feet and Mickey dishes out the punishment to the beaten and helpless opponent.
THE CROWD are on their feet. The kill is looming.
The fight is over.
Mickey reads THE RING magazine. He spies a list of promising prospects but finds nothing of himself. He bins it irately.
Mickey and Angelo stand in the aisles of ST THOMAS AQUINA’S CHURCH as a YOUNG COUPLE exchange their wedding vows.
“ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE OF MORAN GANG!”
SUPERIMPOSITION – GOLDMILL VS VALACHI (February 14th, 1929)
Towering VALACHI lands a solid blow to ADULT MICKEY’S jaw but Mickey stands strong. Mickey, now older in appearance and filled out in muscularity, moves forward with a rapid series of body blows and uppercuts.
Mickey is forced back by a monumental flurry of cutting crosses that open him up like a grapefruit. Angelo winces in his corner and averts his eyes as if he feels every searing blow battered Mickey painfully endures.
Mickey suddenly goes for the head. Valachi is in the corner of the ring taking a relentless pasting. Valachi’s arms hang at waist level as Mickey lands one blow after another. Valachi is about to go down when the REFEREE JUMPS IN and stops the massacre.
Mickey watches from the back of Angelo’s gym as Gazzo’s mob are all smiles and handshakes toward an UPCOMING PROSPECT. Mickey appears hurt and dejected and storms off in anger.
Angelo gambles away his winnings around a seedy poker table.
Mickey hands over his hard-earned winnings to help desperate Angelo.
Angelo trains Mickey but appears half-hearted and distant.
SUPERIMPOSITION – GOLDMILL VS CARTER (October 24, 1931)
Mickey fights like a man possessed. Carter clinches to avoid the endless, brutal body blows.
For the first time Angelo is ABSENT from Mickey’s corner.
ROUND THREE – Carter is looking strong and has Mickey in trouble. A searing right cross slices open Mickey’s forehead. Mickey’s face is so soaked with blood that it’s impossible to distinguish the cuts on his face.
Mickey fights almost BLIND but somehow makes it through to the bell.
ROUND FIVE – Carter is starting to tire as Mickey’s relentless attack wears him down. A heavy glove lands hard on Carter’s lip almost TEARING it from his face. It hangs like a piece of chopped liver.
ROUND EIGHT – Mickey is working over a demoralised Carter. Punches to the ribs, jabs to the head, bolos to the body. Carter’s eyes have swelled like balloons and his face appears a mess of blistered tissue.
The bell RINGS and Carter wanders over and collapses in his corner. Unable to come out for the ninth the REFEREE walks over to Mickey in SLOW MOTION and raises his hands in bloody victory.
Despite the win, Mickey appears emotionally desolate as he glances over at the EMPTY ringside seats that were once filled by Gazzo and Scarfo’s mob.
Greedy tobacco-stained fingers scrape away the last of Angelo’s gambling dough. Angelo looks like a lost soul.
Angelo watches as grinning Gazzo counts out a wad of loan money. He signs a paper and snatches the cash from the hood.
Mickey sits alone in a derelict dressing room nursing his face with broken ice from a steel bucket. He appears despondent as he gazes down at the newspaper headline at his feet.
“DEMPSEY DOUBTS HIS RETURN TO THE RING.”
Mickey stands alone in Angelo’s gym. Isolated, downcast and a million miles from a title shot.
FIGHT CAREER MONTAGE ENDS
EXT. GAZZO’S POOL HALL, NORTH FIRST STREET – DAY
Mickey strolls along with his hands in his pockets and a pace in his stride. He stops outside of Gazzo’s shabby joint.
SUPERIMPOSITION – December 5th, 1933.
A newspaper stand on the corner declares the headline: “PROHIBITION ENDS AT LAST!”
Mickey stubs out a cigarette and disappears through the shoddy entrance.
INT. BASEMENT, GAZZO’S POOL HALL – CONTINUOUS
Angelo and a SMALL CROWD of desperate GAMBLING TYPES are playing dice. Angelo shakes his fist and kisses his knuckles.
ANGELO Come one, baby. Do it for daddy. Snake eyes.
He throws the dice. His numbers don’t come up. He bites his lip in frustration. He is pushed to the back of the crowd.