I always thought that Ivan Drago got a bit of a hard time in Rocky IV. I think that he was just a guy who wanted to box but he was corrupted, manipulated and drugged by the Russian government. So I wanted to write about what might have happened after he lost…plus he's hot!
After his defeat at the hands of Rocky Balboa in Moscow, Ivan Drago returns to America and, keeping a low profile, starts to train with small time coach Jim Baxter. To help Ivan adjust to life in America, Baxter ropes in his daughter Jenny to tutor him in English. Separated from her violent boxer husband, babysitting another fighter is a job she doesn't want. But as the pair spend more time together Jenny realises they may be able to help each other more than she thought…
December 26th 1985
New York City
His fist hit the wall, inches from her face, causing her to yelp and jump back. Turning to face him, she saw the familiar fury in his eyes and, mustering every ounce of courage she had left, she squared up to him.
"You fucking piece of shit."
His mouth trembled with anger at her insolence. "You walk out that door, Jenny and I'll smash your fucking face in, you hear me?"
It was no idle threat. She knew that he would. She had the memories of the bruises and fractured cheekbones to prove it. "Go ahead," she replied, her voice trembling slightly, "it's not as if you haven't done it before. That's all you boxers know, isn't it?" He didn't say anything. "You think you can solve everything with a punch. You think that's how you get respect. But it's not respect, Dan. It's fear. And fears can be overcome."
He started to laugh contemptuously, "Really?"
"Yes," she said, "really. I've spent the last five years of my life letting you control me and treat me like a punching bag…but not anymore Dan. No more. Now I'm walking out of this door and I'm leaving you and if you want to smash my fucking face in for doing that, then go ahead. But it's not going to change the fact that I'm not afraid of you anymore!" It was a lie, of course. She was terrified. Perhaps more terrified than she had ever been before. But this time, she knew she had to do it. If she didn't, she would one day die at his hands. She had thought the day before, Christmas Day, might have been that day. A petty argument over the Rocky Balboa – Ivan Drago fight had led to her spending the night wide awake, a kitchen knife under her pillow.
Dan moved even closer to her, so close that their faces were almost touching and she could feel his breath on her lips. She thought back to years gone by, when being this close to him made her body weak with desire. There was no desire anymore. There hadn't been for years. Two voices screamed inside her head. One was shouting this is it, he's going to kill you and the other was shouting this is it, you've done it.
"Go," he said suddenly, quietly, his eyes sweeping her with a look of utter disdain, "I'm done with you anyway." He moved away from her, creating enough space for her to be able to turn, open the door and get out.
Knowing from past experience that turning her back on him was never the safest option, Jenny felt for the door handle behind her, turned it and opened the door. Her eyes never left his face as she reached down to lift the suitcase at her feet. Slowly, she manoeuvred her body out of the door into the hallway, waiting, bracing herself for the moment when he would pounce and smash her head into the wall. It didn't come, but he stepped forward as she stepped back, following her out the door.
Sensing freedom was in sight, she backed away from him along the hallway to the stairwell and then, seizing the moment, turned and ran as fast as she could, dragging the suitcase behind her, down and out through the main apartment door into the biting cold wind of a Boxing Day morning. Without looking back again, she sprinted to the car, wrenched open the door, tossed the suitcase in and then jumped into the driver's seat.
As she jammed the keys in the ignition, she looked up, in time to see him appear at the main door. He made no move to come towards the car but merely watched as she started up the engine.
Go, go! The voice inside her head was screaming even louder than it ever had before. You're free! You've done it! Slamming her foot down on the accelerator, she roared away from the kerb, keeping her eyes forward, her mind focussed on what she was doing.
Twenty minutes later, her father opened his front door after her insistent knocking and pulled her into his grateful embrace.
December 26th 1985
"Disgrace to your country! Disgrace to your wife! Disgrace to me!"
He sat, head bowed, as he had since that terrible moment when he had been knocked down in the ring. In the heat of the moment, when he had grabbed Rimsky by the throat at the ringside and screamed at them all that he fought to win for himself, he hadn't considered the consequences of a loss. Hadn't contemplated not been hailed a hero. Hadn't contemplated not being able to live up to the huge image of himself hoisted prior to the start of the fight.
But he had been enduring those consequences ever since. Dragged from the ring, battered and bloodied, Nikoli had berated him all the way back to the dressing room, spewed venom at him as he had been examined by the doctor, only ceasing when he and Ludmilla had finally made their way home. Then there had just been the terrible silence as she refused to speak to him and slept in another room.
"After everything that we did for you! All the time, energy and resources spent on you…! You would have be nothing without me! Now you are nothing, Ivan, nothing!" A day later, Nikoli was still speechless with rage.
"I did my best," he said quietly. "This man…he was…"
"A man! A little man that you should have knocked out in the first round!" Nikoli stood in front of him, leaning towards him, pointing his finger in his face as though chastising a child. "He should have met the same fate as Apollo Creed and yet you let him beat you! I do not know why I wasted my time and money on you!"
"I am a good fighter."
"You are not!" Nikoli insisted. "You are a loser, Ivan. You will never fight professionally again in Soviet Union, I will see to that! You have embarrassed me and everyone around you!" He straightened up and adjusted his tie. "You would do well to think on that." He turned smartly on his heel and headed to the front door, letting it slam shut behind him.
Ivan stood and moved to the window in time to see his, apparently, former manager be ushered into a large black car and speed away from the kerb. With him, went everything that had been dreamed of for so long.
"He is right."
His wife's voice jolted him back to reality. "Milla…" he turned to where she was standing at the fireplace, her back to him.
"Don't," she said. "I cannot look at you. I cannot…" she trailed off. "Nikoli is right. You should have easily won that fight. You were fit, you were trained, you were ready…"
He stepped towards her and then stopped, recognising that he would receive no solace from her. "It is not the end," he said. "I can try again. There will be other fights…other men."
Ludmilla turned to face him, her expression hard, yet betrayed by a lone tear descending down her cheek. "Don't you see, Ivan? It is the end. Without Nikoli…we have nothing. There is no trainer, no manager, no equipment, no money…"
"No drugs," he interrupted bitterly. "No needles to be put in me."
Her eyes hardened and she raised her chin defiantly. "We knew what we were getting involved in, Ivan. You did not complain when you were told what would happen. You did not flinch when those needles were put in you."
"You did not flinch either."
"I knew that it was all for your benefit! For your own good! To make you the great champion that I knew you could be!"
"You did not believe that I could win without Nikoli? Without the drugs?" He asked her the question he had always wanted an answer to. She didn't reply. "You did not?"
"I wanted you to win," she said finally. "I wanted you to move beyond amateur level and become heavyweight champion. Was that so wrong?"
"But you did not think I could do it without Nikoli."
Ludmilla lowered her eyes, "Perhaps. But now I think that you could not do it at all." She met his gaze again. "Because you didn't."
He strode forwards and gripped her shoulders. "It will just be us again, Milla. Like it was before. Before Nikoli, before Creed and Balboa. Before any of it. We can start again."
She shook him off. "Didn't you hear what he said, Ivan? You will never fight again in Soviet Union. There is no future for you in boxing here. There is no future for us. The embarrassment and disgrace…"
He stared at her, "You are more concerned about that than being with me?"
"I am an Olympic champion," she said, "a success. I am sorry…but I don't see how we can be together any longer." As she made to move past him, he grabbed her arm to stop her and she swung around, landing a stinging blow on his cheek that hurt more than any punch from Balboa. Instantly, he released her and she hurried away from him.
An hour later, as she closed the door behind her, carrying as many of her possessions as she could carry, he made no effort to stop her.