Apollo Creed (August 17, 1943 - August 31, 1985) was the main antagonist in Rocky and Rocky II and a deuteragonist in Rocky III and Rocky IV. He was initially portrayed as the World Heavyweight Champion until Rocky Balboa defeated Apollo Creed in the rematch in Rocky II. He is portrayed by Carl Weathers.
Creed initially was Rocky Balboa's target in his quest to become champion. After their two fights together, they remained on friendly terms. Apollo steps in to train Rocky after the death of his trainer, Mickey in Rocky III. Creed is perhaps the most important supporting character in the series, although he only appeared in the first four films. He is solely responsible for Balboa's claim to fame, and his recapturing of the title after both his initial defeat at the hands of Clubber Lang and Mickey's death later that night, which had almost completely sapped Rocky's resolve. Creed's fatal defeat at the hands of Ivan Drago gave Rocky Balboa the opportunity to avenge his death, an act which gave Balboa his greatest win.
The video game Rocky Legends showed a prequel to the films, showing "Career Modes" detailing the fights of the four main boxers in the films. In Apollo's career mode, Apollo Creed is shown fighting in the minor circuit. His first match is against Tony "Duke" Evers. Following that match, a vignette is shown where Evers congratulates Creed for beating him, and remarks he is getting too old and weak for active boxing. Creed tells of his plans to make it big as a future champ, and offers a worthy boxer such as Tony his chance to oversee that by becoming his manager. Apollo faced many opponents on his way to the top.
Apollo Creed first appeared in the 1976 Oscar-winning film Rocky as the charismatic, intelligent and undefeated 33-year-old World Heavyweight Champion. A planned Bicentennial fight against number one contender Mac Lee Green was scheduled for January 1, 1976, which Apollo gladly hypes whenever someone places a microphone in front of him. However, Green hurts his left hand in training, and when none of the other top ranked contenders, such as Joe Czak and Buddy Shaw, step up to face the champion, Creed responds with a promotion that will generate huge publicity. He will offer an unknown local fighter an opportunity to battle Creed for the title, in a match in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Upon reviewing the local boxers in Philadelphia, Creed is drawn to a club fighter named Rocky Balboa because Balboa isItalian and has a catchy nickname, "The Italian Stallion". Apollo also explains his choice by saying: "Who discovered America? An Italian, right? What better way to celebrate its 200th birthday than to get it on with one of his descendants?" Apollo brushes off the idea of the left-handed Balboa giving him a fight, pledging to knock him out in three rounds. In spite of his trainer's concern when he sees Balboa in a television interview, training by punching sides of beef in a meat packing plant, Apollo puts more effort into giving everyone a good show rather than training for the bout. When the match actually takes place, Apollo dresses up like both George Washington and Uncle Sam in the pre-fight festivities (with his matching trademark "stars and stripes" boxing shorts) is in a jovial mood until Rocky knocks him down in the first round with a single uppercut, the first time Creed has ever been knocked down in his career. He then endures a gruelling 15-round fight with the game Balboa, who manages to get to his feet after Creed takes him down with an uppercut in the 14th round in what appears to be the end of the match. This was the first time anyone had ever taken the champion the full 15 rounds.
Both fighters are beaten, bloodied, and bruised by the end of the bout - Rocky with severe eye damage and Apollo with internal bleeding. Apollo gains a controversial split decision victory, and neither fighter wants a rematch, at least for that very moment...
Rocky II Edit
The second film picks up immediately after the end of the first, which shows ambulances taking Creed and Rocky to the ER. With the flurry of press, Creed denounces the fight as a fluke and says there will be a rematch anytime. In fact, he challenges Rocky to finish the fight right there, which nearly happens when both men get out of their wheelchairs and look ready to brawl, only to be restrained by hospital employees. Later, when things have calmed down, Rocky goes by the ward of the recuperating Creed, and asks for Creed to be truthful if he gave his all in the fight against him. Creed replies in the affirmative.
Creed's desire for a rematch with Balboa intensifies when it becomes clear that the prevailing public opinion is that Creed had either gotten lucky, or the judges were fixed in his favour. Eager to change minds and ignoring the pleas of his staff to avoid facing him again, Creed challenges Balboa to a second fight on Thanksgiving Day, 1976. He uses various humiliation tactics to coax Balboa out of retirement. Rocky had married his girlfriend Adrian after getting out of the hospital from the first fight, and is not keen on fighting again when he finds out he got her pregnant. Creed insists at the press conference that he would "drop him like a bad habit" and tells Rocky when he leaves "Come November, you're mine!" In a press interview during training, he also insists that Rocky "cannot last five minutes in the ring with a superior athlete like me!" Creed plows through sparring partners and trains harder than ever before, with the intention of punishing Balboa for the embarrassment eleven months earlier. Mickey trains Rocky to become faster by chasing and catching a chicken. After awakening from a coma, Rocky promises to cancel the fight, but Adrian gives her blessing for Rocky to box Creed once again, this time to be in the audience.
Unlike their first fight, Creed dominates Balboa throughout the second fight, managing to thwart Rocky's strategy of fighting right-handed. Despite this, he is unable to make good on his promise of an early knockout victory, as Rocky absorbs his punches. By the final round, he is well ahead on points; however, he also endures a substantial beating in later rounds, when it becomes apparent he cannot knock Balboa out, and Balboa begins landing his own punches on the tiring Creed. Not wanting a repeat of the first fight (and ignoring the pleas of his trainers), he vows to knock Balboa out rather than taking the safer route by winning on points. At the beginning of the 15th round he tells Rocky, "You're going down", to which Rocky replied, "No way". After going toe-to-toe for much of the final round, Creed is knocked down by a left from Balboa, with Balboa falling down in exhaustion as well. Rocky is able to get up by the count of 9, but Creed is unable to pull himself up and is counted out, losing the match and the championship by knockout, his first professional loss.
Apollo retires from boxing soon after. Even though he has lost, he gains his respect from the crowd back since it feels that he fought and lost in a fair fight. The fight also results in Creed finally acknowledging Balboa's ability as a fighter, rather than seeing him as a fluke.
Rocky III Edit
In the third film, Apollo (38 years old) appears at the first fight between James "Clubber" Lang, 23 years old, and Rocky Balboa, 34 years old, as a guest analyst, a match in which Lang defeats Rocky by KO in the second round. Before the match, the former champion Creed steps into the ring to greet the fighters. When he steps up to Lang, the latter slaps away Creed's hand and mockingly and rudely insists that he "don't want no has-been in my corner". He further says, "You want to jump, Creed? Jump." When Creed walks away stunned at this rude display from the belligerent challenger, Lang laughs at him and calls him a "chicken". Following the match, Rocky's beloved manager Mickey dies. Determined in part to put the disrespectful brute in his place, Creed finds Rocky at Mickey's gym and they agree to have Apollo take over as Balboa’s manager. The pair travels to the 'Tough Gym' in Los Angeles, California where Creed used to train in preparation for a rematch with Balboa. Creed encourages Rocky not to ignore the naysayers that say he is too old, but instead refocus himself. During this talk he states, "Now when we fought.. you had that eye of the tiger." This quote is referred to throughout the movie, including the film's theme song, "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor. Creed mentions that Rocky will owe him "a big favor" once he wins, which he does not specify at first. Rocky's training is geared toward making him quicker and more agile, to counter the larger, stronger brawler. Apollo teaches Rocky how to fight like Apollo Creed. Rocky has trouble concentrating during his training, suffering from guilt over Mickey's demise and self-doubt. Adrian helps Rocky recognize this as a simple fear of losing again and convinces him that he can't let fear control his life and that he has to fight again, not to prove a point, but to live without fear. Rocky agrees and begins to put his fear aside. Creed helps Rocky rediscover the fire inside, which he had lost in the time leading up to the Lang fight, that had won him the title. Creed calls this fire the "eye of the tiger".
Before the match begins, Creed expresses his confidence that Rocky will win. He gives Rocky his signature "colors" (Apollo's stars and stripes boxing trunks) to wear during the fight (and tells him to wash them afterwards). Rocky dominated the first round, but the second round is to Clubber's favor with Rocky barely landing any punches. Between the second and third rounds, Creed shouts at Rocky not to test Lang, but Rocky protests he knows what he is doing with the "rope-a-dope". During the third round, Lang is weakened from wasting all his strong punches on Rocky, and is knocked out. Rocky wins the rematch and regains his title as Heavyweight Champion.
Throughout the training, Creed repeatedly told Rocky, "Remember, when this is over, you owe me a favor", but left it at that. After defeating Clubber Lang, Creed reveals the cost of his training - a second rematch with Rocky. However, this fight is not a bloody battle in an arena, but a friendly sparring match at Mickey's Gym. Rocky happily accepts the challenge. The film ends showing each boxer hitting the other at the same time, symbolizing the equality of their greatness.
Rocky IV Edit
In 1985, Apollo (42 years old), comes out of a five-year retirement to fight mammoth Soviet Olympic boxer Ivan Drago, who had come to the United States on behalf of the Soviet Union to enter the world of professional boxing. Not wanting the Soviets to appear superior to American fighters, the patriotic Apollo challenges Drago to an exhibition match, and calls out Drago at the press conference that sets up their exhibition bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 31, 1985.
Highlighted by a pre-match rendition of "Living in America" by James Brown, Apollo enters the arena from a descending scaffold overhead, dancing to the music in his old red, white, and blue Uncle Sam outfit. With Rocky, Duke and Paulie in his corner, Apollo was overly confident that he could dispense of Drago with ease. However, Apollo was not ready for the extreme size and strength of the Russian. After taunting the Russian and landing a number of ineffectual punches, Creed was pummeled badly in the first round. Rocky wanted to stop the fight but Apollo refused. Apollo told Rocky not to stop the fight "no matter what...no matter what!"
By the start of the second round, Drago continued to pummel Creed with ease. Rocky again tried to stop the fight by throwing in the towel. Apollo told Rocky not to stop the fight, giving Drago a chance to deliver a blow (as Rocky dropped the towel causing the fight to stop) that unfortunately killed Apollo, who died in Rocky's arms in the middle of the ring. Drago won by a technical knockout.
Rocky then sets out to avenge Apollo's death by beating Drago in the Soviet Union, with the Soviet premier and the Politburo looking on. He succeeds as the film ends with Rocky Balboa winning the fight by knockout in the last round.
Rocky V and Rocky Balboa Edit
With his character's death, Carl Weathers departed the franchise after Rocky IV. In Rocky V, the fifth installment of the series, after Rocky Balboa defeated Ivan Drago, Apollo's trainer Duke congratulated Rocky by showing that he made everyone proud, especially for Apollo by holding up his red, white, and blue trunks. Apollo was thereafter only mentioned briefly in past tenses, including a flashback scene between Mickey and Rocky before Balboa's first fight with Creed where Mickey states "Apollo won't know what hit him". Rocky's pupil Tommy Gunn also claimed to have been a fan of Rocky since his first fight with Apollo, Tommy was eventually allowed to wear Creed's trunks. During Tommy's fight with Union Cane, Rocky commented that it was like his own first fight with Apollo. Later during Rocky's street fight with Tommy, he began to hallucinate and saw images of Apollo's death at the hands of Drago, believing that he was about to suffer the same fate. However a vision of Mickey telling him to get up, gave Rocky the strength to win the street fight.
In the 6th installment of the Rocky franchise, Rocky is seen paying tribute to Apollo by telling customers at his restaurant stories about his friendship and fights with him. During the commentary before the Rocky vs Mason Dixon fight, a montage of Rocky's opponents was shown which included his two fights against Apollo.
Resurrection and Cyborg ImposterEdit
- "You thought you killed me?"
- ―Apollo Creed[src]
Apollo Creed in Ivan Drago: Justice Enforcer states he came back to life. However, Ivan Drago defeats him again, causing Creed to explode. Rocky Balboa appears, explaining that the imposter was his own Apollo cyborg.
It is possible that Apollo Creed actually did resurrect, inexplicably appearing in Mikhail Gorbachev's Soviet Embassy. Creed took to the streets and fought crime, eventually confronting the cyborg of himself in Mighty Mick's Gym. He then faced his old rival, Rocky Balboa, who fought from a wheelchair.
Because the original film was released in 1976 during the reign of Muhammad Ali, it is reasonable to assume that, with Ali being considered the quintessential boxer by having defeated some of the best of the time, Creed was based largely on him, although his public image is more in the vein of Sugar Ray Leonard or Joe Louis.
Like Ali, Apollo was an outside fighter, relying on his speed and power to get through fights. His jab-cross-hook combination were his mainstay, and also just like Ali, Creed's defense was heavily contingent upon his speed. Apollo used Ali's "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" philosophy, being able to bob and weave and frustrate his opponents. A notable difference was that though Creed had Ali's unorthodox hand positioning, he ducked, bobbed and weaved in the classic style, as opposed to Ali who preferred to move backwards, in contradiction to boxing's basic tenets, but with a delightful degree of success. Perhaps the reason for this was that only Ali could do be that unorthodox and look convinving; where most boxing instructors would tell you that you can't land a punch when you're retreating backwards, Ali did that too with alarming regularity.
But just like Ali, Creed was susceptible to taking a lot of damage during fights because of the level at which he held his hands, a fact which ultimately proved to be his undoing. By the second film, he also has the bolo punch (wind up one fist and punch with the other) in his arsenal, which seems to be a result of the punch being oft-used by then welterweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard. This punch, originated by Ceferino Garcia, a world middleweight champion hailing from Phillipines, is a variation of the feint. One of the fists is winded up in rather spectacular fashion; the catch there is that the opponent may expect a punch from this hand or, sensing a trap, from the other. Whichever hand the opponent focuses on, the aggressor here may easily throw the other. This is more of a humiliating, crowd pleasing punch. A clear example was seen in the now famous no mas bout between welterweights Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto 'Hands of Stone' Duran.
In Rocky I a reporter asked him if it was a coincidence that he was fighting a white man on the most celebrated day in our country's history; to which Apollo replied, "I don't know about that. Is it a coincidence that he's fighting a black man on the most celebrated day in our country's history?"
Wins and LossesEdit
48 Wins (47 KO) 2 Losses 0 Draws
Tony Duke-Win by way of KO4(1-0)1968
Sam Monroe-Win by way of KO1(2-0)
Troy Miller-Win by way of KO2(3-0)
Joe Adams-Win by way of KO3(4-0)
Wirgill Abrams-Win by way of KO2(5-0)
John Barklie-Win by way of KO3(6-0)
Billi Snow-Win by way of KO4(7-0)
Maurizio Medina-Win by way of KO1(8-0)
Randie Tate-Win by way of KO3(9-0)
Jack Jaed-Win by way of KO2(10-0)
Jose Mendosa-Win by way of KO6(11-0)
Marco Chaves-Win by way of KO5(12-0)
Dipper Broun-Win by way of KO3(13-0)
Bob Cray-Win by way of KO5(14-0)
Razor Robinson-Win by way of KO4(15-0)
Big Chak Smith-Win by way of KO9(16-0)
Salvador Martinez-Win by way of KO1(17-0)
Carlos Arguelo-Win by way of KO2(18-0)
Big Chak Smith-Win by way of KO10(19-0)
Alan Jerar-Win by way of KO11(20-0)
Georgie Fulmer-Win by way of KO12(21-0)
Wolfgang Peltser-Win by way of KO9(22-0)
Ken Klassen-Win by way of KO1(23-0)
Foloud(Fantom)Mkkallum-Win by way of KO8(24-0)25.02.1972-Won Champion Tittle
Franklin Nixon-Win by way of KO2(25-0)
Mike Dallas-Win by way of KO1(26-0)
Floud(Fantom)Mkkallum-Win by way of KO1(27-0)07.09.1973
Cameron Whitaker-Win by way of KO3(28-0)
Jared Taylor-Win by way of KO4(29-0)
Shane Letterman-Win by way of KO7(30-0)
Donald Ryder-Win by way of tKO1(31-0)
Kit Yankee-Win by way of KO6(32-0)
Andrew Thomas-Win by way of KO2(33-0)
Antonio Brown-Win by way of TKO9
Gary Khan-Win by way of KO3(34-0)
Quil Hall-Win by way of KO3(35-0)
Paul Burch-Win by way of KO5(36-0)
Vince Kennedy-Win by way of KO9(37-0)
Francis Hellerd-Win by way of KO8(38-0)
Seth Jackson-Win by way of KO1(39-0)
Chak Wepner-Win by way of TKO15(40-0)
Tony Quimby-Win by way of KO4(41-0)
Dewey Stern-Win by way of KO3(42-0)
Billy Calihan-Win by way of KO5(43-0)
Rico Jameson-Win by way of KO2(44-0)
Ernie Roman-Win by way of KO1(45-0)
Carl Hamilton-Win by way of KO3(46-0)
Rocky Balboa-Win by Decision (47-0) January 1, 1976
Rocky Balboa-Loss by KO, RD 15 (47-1) November 25, 1976
Mickie Golberg-Win by way of TKO14(48-1)
Ivan Drago-Loss by KO, RD 2 (dies after fight)-(Exhibition only)
- Rocky I (First appearance)