Adonis Johnson "Donnie" Creed (born June 1, 1986) is a light heavyweight boxer and the main protagonist in Creed.
He is the youngest biological son of Apollo Creed. Adonis was the result of an affair that Apollo had with an unknown woman. Adonis biological mother passed away at a young age resulting in Adonis being placed in a youth facility until he was discovered by Apollo's wife Mary Anne Creed. Adonis was raised with wealth and received a full education resulting in him being able to land a well-paying office job. Despite his education and job, Adonis choose to pursue boxing on the side, fighting in Mexico. During the events of Creed, Adonis chooses to pursue boxing full-time and quits his job, seeking out Rocky Balboa to train him in Philadelphia. Balboa was reluctant, but agreed and trained Adonis. Adonis won his first fight, but it didn't take long for the word to get out that he was a Creed. Adonis was then approached by Light Heavyweight Champion Ricky Conlan for a fight, Conlan was due to serve prison time and wanted one last big fight before he went away. Adonis went the full 12 rounds with Conlan but lost via split decision.
In 1998, Adonis "Donnie" Johnson is spending time at a juvenile detention centre in Los Angeles, eventually getting into a fight with other children. As a result, he is sent to solitary confinement. Mary Anne Creed, Apollo's widow, meets with Adonis and adopts him; informing him that he is Apollo Creed's son (sired from an extramarital affair).
Seventeen years later, in 2015, Adonis (using his biological mother's last name Johnson) is a wealthy young college graduate working at a securities firm. However, on weekends, he sneaks out to Tijuana to fight professional boxing matches against unheralded opponents and maintains an undefeated 15–0 record. Soon, Adonis resigns from his securities firm job to pursue his dream of becoming a boxer. He attempts to receive training at the Delphi Boxing Academy, the same place his father trained in Los Angeles. Upon arriving, Adonis meets with Tony "Duke" Evers son, Tony ''Lil Duke'' Evers who is now running the academy. Lil Duke turns down Adonis offer to train, resulting in Adonis deciding to head to Philadelphia and seek out Apollo's longtime friend Rocky Balboa for training.
Mary Anne vehemently opposes Adonis' plot of becoming a boxer, remembering how her husband was killed in the ring during a match against Ivan Drago thirty years ago and how Rocky Balboa was forced into retirement after suffering brain damage. Adonis finds it hard to get anyone in Los Angeles to train him due to his father's death in the ring, particularly after he suffers an embarrassing loss in a sparring match to light heavyweight contender Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler. Undaunted, Adonis moves out of his mother's residence and travels to Philadelphia in hopes of seeking out his father's best friend and former rival, Rocky.Once in Philadelphia, Adonis meets Rocky at Adrian's Restaurant and tries to convince him to be his trainer. Having given up boxing, and believing Apollo wouldn't want his son being a fighter, Rocky turns his offer down. However, Adonis' persistence eventually wins Rocky over. He forms a strong bond with Rocky and regards him as an uncle, even going so far as to call him "Unc" and introduce him to people as such. Meanwhile, Adonis forms a relationship with his downstairs neighbour, Bianca, a singer-songwriter with progressive hearing loss. Donnie gets a match with Leo "The Lion" Sporino, the son of a trainer, who originally wanted Rocky to coach his son. He moves in with Rocky to train for the upcoming match. Rocky takes Donnie—now known as "Hollywood"—to the Front Street Gym to prepare with the help of several of Rocky's longtime friends, where Adonis markedly improves his hand speed, stamina, and defense. Prior to the fight, Sporino's father learns that Adonis is in fact Apollo Creed's son. After Adonis wins the fight in a 2nd-round KO, Sporino's father alerts the media of Adonis' parentage. Meanwhile, World light heavyweight champion "Pretty" Ricky Conlan, due to gun charges, will go to prison, which will effectively end his career, is gearing up for his final fight against Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler. After Conlan breaks Wheeler's jaw at the weigh-in for their title fight, Conlan's manager, Tommy Holiday, decides that the best way to end his career would be against the son of Apollo Creed. Conlan is against it, but reluctantly agrees. Holiday meets with Rocky and Adonis, demanding that he should use the name Creed if he wants a shot at the light heavyweight title. Adonis is reluctant due to his desire to forge his own legacy. He only consents after Bianca persuades him to use Apollo's surname.During one intense night of training, Rocky becomes ill and is taken to the hospital. He is diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but refuses to undergo chemotherapy, remembering that it didn't save his wife, Adrian. Adonis discovers pamphlets about the disease in Rocky's coat pocket after another late night training session, where Rocky tells Adonis that they are not family, and that he has nothing to live for now that Adrian, his best friend and brother-in-law Paulie, Apollo and his old coach Mickey, have died, and his son, Robert Jr., has moved away to Vancouver. Later on, Adonis is about to attend a concert, where Bianca is about to perform. However, after a stranger refers to Adonis as "baby creed", Adonis becomes very upset, and attacks the stranger in a fit of rage, prompting security to restrain him. Adonis is then arrested for assault and sent to jail. When Rocky comes to bail him out, Adonis is still upset, and tells off the former heavyweight champion, accusing him of getting Apollo killed in the ring. Later, Adonis goes to Bianca's apartment to apologize and explain the situation. However, Bianca deems Adonis to be too dangerous to approach and orders him to leave immediately in order to protect herself. Adonis then meets up with Rocky, explaining that he is going to use the name Creed and fight against Conlan, but only if Rocky gets treatment for his illness. While Rocky is still sick, he still trains Adonis in the hospital room and back in his house.
The match takes place in Conlan's hometown of Liverpool, England, where Adonis is antagonized by Conlan at the press conference. Before the match, Bianca comes to their hotel at Rocky's behest, and the two reconcile. Mary Anne sends Adonis his father's iconic American flag boxing shorts; the back of the shorts bearing the name Johnson and the front bearing the name Creed. After some early struggles, Adonis shocks the world by giving Conlan all he can handle. He ultimately goes the distance, even managing to knock Conlan down for the first time in his career as Bianca and the once-antagonistic crowd begin to cheer him on. Although he loses by split decision, Adonis gains the respect and admiration of Conlan and everyone watching.
Back in Philadelphia, Adonis and a frail but rather improving Rocky go up the Rocky Steps, representing a victory for both Rocky and Adonis in fighting their respective battles.
Personality and Traits
- "I've been fighting my whole life"
- ―Adonis Johnson Creed
Adonis is torn between trying to preserve his father's legacy and build his own. A.O. Scott of The New York Times wrote that, "Adonis is a complex character with a complex fate. He is at once a rich kid and a street kid, the proud carrier of an illustrious heritage and an invisible man. His relationship with Rocky is complicated, too. The older fighter is a mentor and a father figure, to be sure, but he also needs someone to take care of him, especially when illness adds a melodramatic twist to the plot. Adonis has been described as "arrogant",. Although Adonis' circumstances change after he is adopted by Mary Anne Creed, his late father's widow, he retains his fiery personality. Short-tempered and impulsive, but good-natured, it is Adonis' tenacity that convinces Rocky to train him.Michael O' Sullivan of The Washington Post analyzed that Adonis' "struggles with his temper" are "a coping mechanism that helps him deal with the fear of not living up to the name Creed."  Jordan states of Adonis, "My character is living in the shadow of his dad, who is arguably the greatest fighter that ever lived, and he really has to embrace that to move forward. I could understand wanting to have your own legacy and trying to find your own lane". Adonis' hubris initially causes him to refuse to embrace the name Creed, instead using his mother's surname, Johnson. Only with his girlfriend Bianca's encouragement does Adonis eventually come to accept the name. When Adonis meets Rocky and reveals to him that he is Apollo's son and that he wants the elder former boxer to train him, Rocky questions, "Why would you pick a fighter's life when you don't need to?" He immediately notes that Adonis is well-educated and comes from a wealthy background, which contrasts Rocky's own upbringing. However, Rocky sees in Adonis the drive and determination in himself and Apollo when he was younger, and concedes in training him. After Rocky is diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphona, it is Adonis who motivates him and teaches him to fight again: "Adonis is there to push [Rocky] the same way Rocky pushes him in the gym and in the ring." Adonis pays tribute to Rocky, his father, and his country by wearing the classic American flag shorts in his debut professional match that Apollo and Balboa sported in their bouts against Ivan Drago. However, Adonis' shorts have the name Johnson on the back and Creed on the front, symbolizing that he can both preserve his father's legacy and still make his own.
Although Apollo Creed's boxing style was based on Muhammad Ali's, Adonis uses a different style. Adonis has an orthodox stance like his father, yet Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler wanted Adonis style to be "unorthodox". They modelled Adonis' style on Timothy Bradley, a real-life boxer from California. Jordan described Bradley's style as "pretty wild" and "kind of a brawler". He added that since Adonis "taught himself to box", his style would be rough and untamed. Being trained by Rocky, Adonis learns to absorb a lot of punishment and has a strong chin, but he is generally much faster than Rocky and more prone to dodge punches. Unlike Bradley, who is a welterweight, or Rocky, a heavyweight, Adonis is a light heavyweight boxer.