A boxing fan from Philadelphia who closely followed the progress of a former Heavyweight champion of the world, says he was stunned to learn that the entire saga of the 'rags-to-riches' pugilist is not real, and is merely the fabrication of somebody's imagination.
John Gullerble started to follow the exploits of Rocky Balboa in 1976, when the boxer - nicknamed 'the Italian Stallion' - took on the then-world champ, Apollo Creed, in a special invitation bout in Philadelphia, during the United States Bicentennial, after Creed's scheduled opponent cried off through injury.
Balboa and Creed met again in 1979, before Creed's retirement, with Balboa then fighting, and beating, Clubber Lang in 1982. Then, after Russian, Ivan Drago, killed Creed in an exhibition match in 1985, Balboa travelled to a snowy place to train to fight the pesky 'Russian', who eventually turned out to be a Swedish actor, Dolph Lundgren.
'Clubber' Lang was also found to be an actor, as the whole sorry lie started to unravel.
Through careful research, Gullerble discovered that even Apollo Creed was none other than actor Carl Weathers.
Gullerble had been duped, and the dupage was major.
In 1990, Balboa eventually fought a real boxer, Tommy Morrison, and beat him.
Amazingly, however, after extensive internet searching, this 'Balboa' then turned out to be none other than ex-Vietnam veteran, John Rambo, a man who could not fit back into society after his years of active service, and had become a boxer.
Everything now having become clear to the unwitting victim of the charade, John told us:
"I guess I should have known when I saw Clubber Lang in 'The A-Team', but I must've been punch-drunk."