Clubber Lang

Clubber Lang
James "Clubber" Lang
Rocky character
Clubber Lang.jpg
Mr. T as James "Clubber" Lang
First appearance Rocky III
Portrayed by Mr. T
Nickname(s) The Southside Slugger
Gender Male
Occupation Professional boxer
Clubber Lang
Rated at Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Nationality United States American
Born Chicago, Illinois
Stance Southpaw
Boxing record
Total fights Unknown
Wins 20+
Wins by KO 20+
Losses 1+
Draws 0

James "Clubber" Lang is a fictional character and antagonist that appeared as Rocky Balboa's rival in the 1982 film Rocky III. He was played by the popular "bodyguard to the stars" Mr. T, who was 29 years old when the film was launched. The character is very loosely based on a combination of Sonny Liston, Larry Holmes, and George Foreman.[1]

Many of the character's catchphrases from Rocky III have become common in popular culture, and particularly in Mr. T's career.


Fictional character biography

James Lang was orphaned at an early age, and spent most of his childhood on the streets of Chicago's Southside, as well as time in orphanages and juvenile facilities.[2] Later as an adult, Clubber was sent to prison for five years, for one possible count of a felony and/or assault charge. But during his time being served he discovered boxing as a way to let out his frustrations and talent, which leads to the events of Rocky III. This is also evident in the game, Rocky Legends, where if the player selects Clubber's path, he starts out fighting in the Chicago Prison, in a ring actually inside the prison itself. One novelization of the film called Lang's manager "Donut." He is also extremely rude and lacking in morals.

In one version of the script of Rocky Balboa, Clubber was one of the commentators of the Rocky vs. Mason fight. Lang is also implied to be left-handed, as he fights southpaw and throws mainly left-handed haymakers from the southpaw stance.


During Rocky III's intro, Rocky is shown easily defeating numerous contenders in a montage, during which Clubber is shown annoyed at Rocky apparently coasting through his title defenses. He is shown training himself and brutally thrashing other boxers, even resorting to slugging them when they're down, or when the round ends, eventually becoming number one ranked contender. At the end of the montage, Clubber is shown yelling at Rocky's trainer Mickey, goading him to set up a fight for the championship between Rocky and himself. Later in the film, Clubber crashes a ceremony in Philadelphia dedicating a statue to Rocky and challenges him to a fight. To provoke his potential opponent, he proceeds to make comments of a sexual nature toward Rocky's wife, Adrian, prompting Rocky to lose his temper and accept the challenge, despite Mickey's protests.[3]

At the match, Mickey suffers a heart attack after being shoved by Lang, just prior the beginning of the fight. Because Rocky is distracted by this, and because of the hand-picked competition he was given previously, Lang brutally defeats Rocky in a second round knockout to become Heavyweight Champion of the World. Mickey dies after this, and Rocky is then trained by Apollo Creed, his former opponent from the first two Rocky films, who polishes Rocky's fighting style. In the rematch, Rocky uses increased speed and evasion techniques he learned from Creed to dominate the first round. Lang makes a comeback with harder strikes, but then Rocky sees a weakness in Lang's strategy. He lets Lang throw all the blows he wants and dodges them, exhausting the champion. When Lang ran out of energy, Rocky then knocked him out in the third round to regain the World Heavyweight Championship. Lang is very upset that he lost. He wasn't seen since his defeat. Clubber Lang's professional boxing record is unknown, but he seems to have made about 16-19 wins in the opening montage, plus an extra victory and defeat following his last fight with Rocky Balboa.

Popular catchphrases

  • ["No, I don't hate Balboa, but] "I pity the fool." (Clubber originated the phrase, which has since become synonymous with Mr. T himself, and sometimes mistakenly with Mr T's A-Team character B.A.Baracus.)
  • [In response to a reporter asking for his prediction on a fight] Pain.[4]
  • "Dead meat."
  • "I'll fight him (Rocky) ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, for NOTHIN!"
  • "Got a LOTTA MO fo you Balboa! A LOTTA MO!"
  • "I'll Bust You Up"
  • In the film, Clubber throws a temper tantrum in the locker room before his first fight with Rocky Balboa and refers to the press as "parasites and leeches." Mr. T would use this phrase several times in his career, including in a 1985 interview with David Letterman.


  1. ^ Jan Philipp Reemtsma. More than a champion: the style of Muhammad Ali (Random House, 1998) ISBN 9780375400308.
  2. ^ Edward Gross. Rocky: The Ultimate Guide (Dk Pub, 2007) ISBN 9780756626228
  3. ^ David Denby "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow" New York Magazine. May 31, 1982
  4. ^ Staff. "Predictions are simply unpredictable". Addison County Independent. September 24, 2009
Preceded by
Apollo Creed
Rocky Balboa's Main Opponent Succeeded by
Ivan Drago

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