||This article may contain original research. (August 2010)|
||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (August 2010)|
Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed
|Last appearance||Rocky IV|
|Portrayed by||Carl Weathers|
|Nickname(s)||The Dancing Destroyer
The King of Sting
The Count of Monte Fisto
The Prince of Punch
The Master of Disaster
The One and Only
|Occupation||Professional boxer (deceased)|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Anne Creed|
|Children||Daughter and son (unnamed)|
|Relatives||Tony "Duke" Evers (trainer)
Rocky Balboa (enemy turned friend)
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Born||August 17, 1942
Los Angeles, California
|Died||August 31, 1985 (aged 43)
Las Vegas, Nevada
|Wins by KO||47|
|Losses||2 (1 technical knockout resulting in death)|
Creed had multiple nicknames, including The Master of Disaster, The King of Sting, The Dancing Destroyer, The Prince of Punch, The One and Only and The Count of Monte Fisto. Urban legend states that Apollo Creed's name is a wordplay on the Apostles' Creed, a statement of belief used in Christian churches. All of Apollo's championship fights were scheduled for the 15 round distance. Championship fights did not convert from 15 rounds to 12 rounds until 1987. Rocky Balboa is often wrongly credited with popularizing the red, white, and blue trunks; Creed was the first man to wear them (latterly worn by Rocky Balboa in the 3rd and 4th installments and finally by Tommy "The Machine" Gunn (Tommy Morrison) in the 5th installment) although normally he wore red and white, as seen in Rocky II. Balboa's signature colors were black and gold—colors he used in the latest movie.
Role in the series 
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 is Italian 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 and 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 took him down with an uppercut in the 14th round in what appeared to be the end of the match. This was the first time anyone had ever taken the champion the full 15 rounds.
Both fighters were beaten, bloodied, and bruised by the end of the bout - Rocky with severe eye damage and Apollo with internal bleeding. Apollo gained a controversial split decision victory, and neither fighter wanted a rematch.
Rocky II 
In the second film, Creed immediately demanded a rematch in the hospital ER after the fight. In fact, he challenged Rocky to finish the fight right there. Creed's desire for a rematch with Balboa intensified when it became clear that the prevailing public opinion was that Creed had either gotten lucky or had carried an inferior opponent the length of the match. Eager to change minds and ignoring the pleas of his staff to avoid facing him again, Creed challenged Balboa to a second fight on Thanksgiving Day, 1976. He used 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. Creed insisted at the press conference that he would "drop him like a bad habit" and told Rocky when he left "Come November, you're mine!" Creed plowed through sparring partners and trained harder than ever before with the intention of punishing Balboa for the embarrassment eleven months earlier. Mickey trained Rocky to become faster by chasing and catching a chicken.
Unlike their first fight, Creed dominated Balboa throughout the second fight, managing to thwart Rocky's strategy of fighting right-handed. Despite this, he was unable to make good on his promise of an early knockout victory, as Rocky absorbed his punches. By the final round, he is well ahead on points; however, he had also endured a substantial beating in later rounds, when it became apparent he could not knock Balboa out and Balboa began 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 told 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 retired from boxing soon after. Even though he lost, he gained his respect from the crowd back since they felt that he fought and lost in a fair fight. The fight also resulted in Creed finally acknowledging Balboa's ability as a fighter, rather than seeing him as a fluke.
Rocky III 
In the third film, Apollo (39 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 challenges him to a fight. He 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, and Lang insults Mickey in passing as a has-been. Determined in part to put the disrespectful brute in his place, Creed finds Rocky at the old gym and they agree to have Apollo take over as Balboa’s manager. The pair travels to Creed's old gym called the 'Tough Gym' in Los Angeles, California in preparation for a rematch with Lang. 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). Re-energized with Creed shadow-boxing in his corner, Rocky regains his title with a three-round knockout of Lang. After his victory, Creed reveals his favor - a third fight with Rocky (not as a bloody fight between bitter rivals, but as a sparring match between friends). 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 
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 his own country, Soviet Russia, in front of the Politburo. He succeeds as the film ends with Rocky Balboa winning the fight by knockout in the last round.
Rocky V 
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.
Rocky Balboa 
In the 6th and final 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.
Fighting style 
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 be that unorthodox and look convincing; 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. Also unlike Ali, Apollo wasn't very political and had very little to say on social issues. In Rocky I a reporter asked him if it mattered to him that he was fighting a white man on the most celebrated day in our country's history; to which Apollo replied, "About as much as it matters to him that he's fighting a black man on the most celebrated day in our country's history."
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, his fancy wind up and punch with the other fist looked like it came from Sugar Ray Leonard.
References in popular culture 
- An offbeat travel directory called "Apollo Creed Travels" visits locations around the world, photographed through the eyes of an Apollo Creed action figure.
- In the song "We Riders" featuring Mac from Master P's 1997 album Ghetto D, Mac refers to Apollo Creed in the last verse: "Laying niggas down like Apollo Creed if need."
- In the Busta Rhymes song "Woo Hah", Apollo Creed is referenced in the lyrics: "Peace to Baby Phife, Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed/ Watch me knock you out like Apollo Creed."
- When the Democratic debate which took place in Philadelphia in October 2007 was held, Barack Obama said that this debate was the most anticipated thing since the fight between Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa.
- He is referred to in the last line of David Banner's voice in Chamillionaire's song "Talkin' That Talk" from The Longest Yard soundtrack.
- During the third season of the US version of The Office, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) gives a reference to Apollo Creed when challenging the office about a black person he trusts more than Jesus.
- Homer Simpson confuses Creed with the Apollo program in the tenth episode of eighth season when he speaks of determination and inspiration; saying "I'm like the man who singlehandedly built the rocket and went to the moon. What was his name? Apollo Creed?"
- He is referred to in Lil Wayne's freestyle "Upgrade", saying, "I'm a champion, where's the fuckin' Rocky Theme, damn, rest in peace Apollo Creed."
- In an episode of In Living Color, Jim Carrey and Keenan Ivory Wayans portray Rocky and a resurrected Apollo Creed, respectively, in a match against Grace Jones.
- He is referred to in the lyrics of Jude's "She Gets the Feeling" from his 1998 release, No One is Really Beautiful: "Everybody's got to play a final card a way to go do the deed / Throw the punches like Apollo Creed"
- Nyjer Morgan of the Milwaukee Brewers was forced to dress up as Apollo Creed as part of a rookie hazing ritual while with the Pittsburgh Pirates..
- Former TNA wrestler Consequences Creed's gimmick is based on Apollo Creed, complete with Apollo Creed's red, white, and blue Uncle Sam outfit and a habit of dancing around before and during a match. One of his signature moves is named the MonteFisto after Apollo Creed's nickname.
- In the 2005 Homestar Runner Halloween special, Bubs went as Apollo Creed.
- Justin Durant of the Jacksonville Jaguars was voted best-dressed at the team Halloween function for his Apollo Creed costume.
- The arcade game Best Bout Boxing has a character named Grute Smith, who looks very similar to Apollo Creed. He is even wearing the same costume seen in the first Rocky.
- In the song "Throw It Back", Lil Wayne makes reference to Apollo Creed by saying, "Beat that pussy till it bleed like Apollo Creed."
- In an episode of the animated television series Family Guy, after settling a dispute with Quagmire, Cleveland and Quagmire reconcile and have a boxing match mirroring the Rocky and Apollo fight at the end of Rocky III.
- A song on the band Cobra Starship 's first album, While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets, one of the tracks is entitled "It's Amateur Night At The Apollo Creed."
- In 2003, Carl Weathers appeared as himself in a Saturday Night Live sketch announcing his candidacy for state governor, in reference to his Predator co-stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura winning the governorship of different states. At one point, Weathers claimed he had the "Apollo Creed-entials."
- For comic relief, Muhammad Ali once told Sylvester Stallone "I'm the REAL Apollo Creed!" at the Oscars. It was due to the fact that the screenplay for Rocky was based on Ali's fight with Chuck Wepner, which parallels Ali to Creed and Wepner to Rocky.
- In the 1990s movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Michelangelo makes a reference to Apollo Creed by imitating Rocky Balboa saying: "Uh, yo well, uh, maybe I'll fight Apollo, uh, maybe I won't, you know. What do you think? Adrian!"
- The song "Apollo Creed" by Manchester/Toronto band The Hippy Mafia.
- In season 7, episode 8 of How I Met Your Mother ("The Slutty Pumpkin Returns"), Barney Stinson dresses as Apollo Creed for the Halloween party.
- In 2009, website ScrewAttack made a CAW based on the ScrewAttack crew member Freelance Bryan using WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009. Bryan was dressed in an Apollo Creed outfit, and Jimmy Jimmy Woods and Spanky Putnam (The man who knows his Shit) said that Bryan was too obsessed in Rocky. Thanks to the outfit, Bryan won the 2009 and 2012 Royal Rumble
|Rocky Balboa's main opponent||Succeeded by
James "Clubber" Lang