USAToday – Tony Burton, who played the corner man to both Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers in the Rocky film saga, has died at 78. He played Tony “Duke” Evers, trainer to Weathers’ Apollo Creed in the original 1976 movie and its 1979 sequel. After that character’s death in 1982’s Rocky III, his character, joined the team behind Stallone’s Rocky Balboa, where he remained for four more Rocky movies, concluding with 2006’s Rocky Balboa.
And another Rocky legend bites the dust. The second best boxing trainer in movie history (only behind Michael “Mickey” Goldmill, respectively) is now with Apollo, Paulie, and Adrian in that ring in the sky. And you’re damn right you need to pay your respects. If it wasn’t for Duke we all could be living under Commie rule in the 21st century. He didn’t have to keep on training Rock after Apollo died in the ring, but he went to Russia with the intent of beating Drago and thus ending the Cold War. We are all indebted to Duke for his sacrifices.
Seriously though, RIP Tony. The dude was an actual killer boxer in the ’50’s and, unfortunately, was battling health issues so much later in life he wasn’t even able to watch Creed. Regardless, that man knew life wasn’t a damn show, he thought it’s a damn fight.