“You’re a boxing journalist?! Oh c’mon, let’s do this,” Jonathan Majors exclaimed upon our meeting on the Atlanta Creed III red carpet.
The co-star and antagonist to Michael B. Jordan’s title character was enthusiastic to discuss the mentality behind his role as Damian Anderson, a parolee with a chip on his shoulder looking for pay back… and the world heavyweight championship.
The Anderson character is distinct amongst the Rocky/Creed rogues gallery by utilizing a hybrid fighting style that includes the crab/cross-armed defense popularized by Hall of Fame fighters like Archie Moore and Ken Norton, the forward aggression of Mike Tyson, the inside fighting skills of Evander Holyfield, and even the blitzing uppercuts of a young George Foreman.
For a boxing novice, that’s a lot to learn. But for Majors, it was tapping into those fighter’s lives outside the ring that allowed him to seamlessly mesh those styles.
“People fight the way they live,” Majors told BeatsBoxingMayhem.com. “I completely believe that.
“All those fighters you named have a certain aggression. Yes, they are smart [and] mental fighters, but they have a forward momentum. In my life where I grew up, those guys aligned with me — you talk about (Marvin) Hagler, (Tommy) Hearns.”
With most real-life heavyweights being well over 200 pounds, one could question how Majors, at 6 foot and around 160-170 pounds, can mimic the physicality needed to convey the brutality of a heavyweight slugfest. In that regard, Majors tapped into his own streetfights to mimic the viciousness required.
“I’m longer than you think I am [so] there’s that element of it,” Majors countered. “And this [mimics crab/cross-armed defense] makes sense to me. I’ve never shied away from a fight. Maybe I should’ve, but I never have. This [cross-armed defense] keeps you in the fray. Those guys were extremely inspiring to me, in and out the ring. And their outward lives reflect in the ring. I just hoped I did that, too.”
Creed III arrives in theaters this Friday, March 3.