Black and Blue and Red All Over
This is a boxing movie, so heads up: there are going to be a few black eyes. Rocky, being as vain as he is, wants to preserve his pretty-boy face, especially his nose, which makes every injury not just physically painful, but painful to his psyche too.
It all starts with Spider Rico, who headbutts Rocky, leaving a scar above his left eyebrow. Mickey acts like it's because Rico is a bum who fights dirty… but that's nothing compared to the beating both Rocky and Apollo take at the end of the film.
Broken nose? Check. Eyelid sliced open? Check. Blood, sweat, and tears? Check—well, we're not totally sure about the tears, because there's frankly so much blood and sweat that it's hard to make out any salty eye-water. It's gross.
And it's symbolic of our boy Rocky really going the distance. He's left vanity behind and we see him in true primal form, get whaled on and giving back as good as he gets. Gonna fly now… as soon as he recovers from his bashing.
The makeup was done by Mike Westmore, who worked on Star Trek: The Next Generation. That's right: it takes someone who can transform humans into aliens to make Rocky look like he's getting the snot beat out of him.