Of all the boxers
in the Rocky franchise, Ivan Drago has the most impressive statistics. With a height of 6ft5in, a weight of 261lbs, punching power of between 1850 and 2150 psi and a perfect record of 100-0 in amateur bouts, not to mention serving as a Captain in the Russian
military, Drago is a real superhuman and to prove it, he comes to America with the ambition of fighting the best of the best in the form of then champion, Rocky Balboa
. However, after making the challenge, Apollo Creed
steps in to fight him first. Believing Drago to be a rookie who can be handled with ease, Creed challenges him to an exhibition match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas
It only takes Drago one round to prove the veteran wrong. Displaying his supreme punching power, Drago decimates Creed with only a few punches after absorbing several of Apollo's strikes without flinching. In the second round, Creed is showing signs of fatigue as soon as the opening bell rings. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to prove how good he really is, and goes to work on Creed, raining blow after blow until Apollo's body fails him and he collapses to the mat with a sickening thud. As trainers, cornermen and reporters rush the ring, Drago remains stoic, muttering the infamous line: 'If he dies... he dies'.
Soon after the exhibition bout, Drago's camp host a press conferance where Ludmilla, Drago's wife, says that he will no longer be fighting in the USA
and is flying back to the Soviet Union
due to threats on his life after the death of Apollo Creed. This isn't believed by the press in attendance who believe it to be a cowardly act and also done to potentially fix his upcoming bouts, but Rocky doesn't care. Set out for revenge, he's willing to give up everything he has in America to fight Drago on Christmas Day in Moscow
Drago spends several months preparing for Rocky in a Soviet facility full of advanced machinery as well as taking anabolic steroids to increase his power. Drago's physical advantage over Rocky is almost as great, if not bigger, than it was against Apollo Creed. However, on the day of the fight itself, Rocky proves to be more than a match for Drago, cutting him in the second round after a brutal flurry. As the bout goes on, Drago becomes weaker and weaker while Rocky does the opposite and starts to dominate. This provokes a negative reaction from the Russian Premier as well as his cornermen. Being chastised for his apparent weakness against an American, Drago becomes enraged, lifting him and throwing him singlehandedly off the ring apron. At this point Drago turns his back on the Premier and exclaims that he fights for himself. This is Drago's first real show of emotion and starts a shortlived comeback, but it is not enough as he is knocked down in the 15th and final round.
Ivan Drago has appeared twice in the Rocky
video games, both times as the most powerful central character in the game. In the first Rocky
game, Drago is the final encounter in the Rocky IV chapter of the game. In Rocky: Legends
, Drago reprises this role but also appears in a younger form fighting amateur in Russia