The best crossovers are the ones you would have never imagined in your life. Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Archie and the Punisher. Godzilla and Charles Barkley. And now, Sylvester Stallone and the Pope. No, it’s not that Sly is preparing a new movie where the leader of the Catholic Church has to engage in fisticuffs with Satan; rather, they have met, playfully teased a boxing match in the Vatican, and the world has wondered, “How did we get here?”
Saint Rocky III
Last Friday, Sylvester Stallone, the man behind ‘Rocky,’ ‘Rambo,’ and ‘The Expendables,’ was at the Vatican. And of course, Pope Francis couldn’t miss the opportunity to meet a personal idol. Had you ever imagined the Pope setting aside his cassock, cracking open a beer, and enjoying Rocky’s fight against Mr. T in ‘Rocky III’? I hadn’t either… until now.
Sylvester Stallone began by thanking the Pope for the brief one-and-a-half-minute meeting, but the one who seemed more excited wasn’t the action hero. “The honor is mine; we grew up with your movies,” Pope Francis said, surprising the actor and director, who didn’t see that coming. Stallone must have thought, “Hey, when else in life will I have the chance to exchange a few boxing punches with a global religious leader?”
“The honor is mine as well. Ready? Let’s box.” And with that, he began moving his fists in what could have been a hilarious ‘The Naked Gun’ sketch, pretending to be ready for a brawl. Which is quite something, considering the rigidity of certain sectors of the church.
I wish I could say that this story had an epic ending, with both of them set to fight on the same day as Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, but in reality, it ended amicably. Stallone can continue promoting ‘The Expendables 4’ without having to worry that, inadvertently, he threw an unexpected jab at Jorge Mario Bergoglio and made 2023 even more eventful.