Ivan Drago, aka The Siberian Express, aka Death from Above, aka The Siberian Bull is one heck of a film character. In only nine lines of dialogue, a few confused looks and two boxing matches, he became one of the most memorable villains of the ‘80s (well, -ish, we’re kinda sympathetic to him by the end), and if Sylvester Stallone’s latest tease is any indication, the Russian baddie is set to feature heavily in the upcoming Creed II.
Considering Drago offed Apollo Creed in Rocky IV, it makes a lot of sense for for the baddie (and maybe his son) to make a comeback in the new movie, but what happened to Ivan Drago between Rocky IV and Creed II?
Well it turns out there are a number of varying theories as to what happened to The Siberian Bull.
According to the Rocky Balboa wiki page (and the book, Rocky: The Ultimate Guide), Ivan Drago found himself in quite the funk after his loss to Rocky. Unable to go professional due to USSR rules (a bit like how Cuban Olympic champions stall after they win gold), Drago didn’t compete again until after the Berlin Wall fell.
When Drago did eventually compete professionally, he managed to rack up a 14-1 fight record, with every single one of his victories being achieved by knockout. Unfortunately, Drago never became champion, or even fought for a major champion according to the Wiki – dastardly boxing politics stood in his way.
That’s one theory, here’s another – in the book Drago: On Mountains We Stand, Ivan ends up being disgraced and disowned by the USSR following his defeat. He eventually makes his way to the United States to box, but the narked off USSR send another performance-enhanced boxer to destroy him.
In an interesting twist, the book also posits that following Rocky IV, Rocky retires and Clubber Lang (aka Mr. T from Rocky III), comes back to reclaim the heavyweight boxing title.
There are a number of other theories as to what happens to Drago. Coming from screenwriter Andrew LeMay, and discussed in the blog Boxing With The Truth, Le May outlined a script he wrote for a proposed Ivan Drago spin-off film. In the script, Drago is sentenced to death for his loss to Rocky, but gets off thanks to his brother pulling some strings with the Russian mafia. Eventually Drago becomes an mob enforcer for his brother before he is thrust into a boxing match with Mason Dixon (the heavyweight champ at the start of Rocky V). The special stipulation being, if Drago loses, his brother in Siberia is killed by Russian mobsters. Ooh err.
It gets weirder still when you enter the world of video games. In 2004 release (and pretty good game) Rocky Legends, players can choose a storyline that takes Ivan Drago from before he becomes a Russian boxing champion, all the way until the end of Rocky IV. Weirder still, the player can choose to defeat Rocky in the final battle, unlocking a reality where Rocky loses, and Drago is presented a special medal from the USSR.
So, we have versions of Ivan were he goes pro and never wins the title, goes pro and has to fight a USSR agent, works up as a mob enforcer and has to fight to save his brother's life, and one where he just beats Rocky in Rocky IV.
Wonder what one Sly picks for Creed II?