- Apollo Creed
Apollo Creed (born
February 22, 1943- August 31, 1985) is a fictional characterfrom the "Rocky" films, initially portrayed as the World Heavyweight Champion. He was portrayed by Carl Weathers.
Creed had multiple nicknames, including The Master of Disaster, The King of Sting, The Dancing Destroyer, and The Count of Monte Fisto. 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. Balboa is often wrongly credited with popularizing the red, white, and blue trunks. Creed was the first person to wear them. Balboa's signature colors were black and gold, colors he even used again in the last movie.
Role in the series
Apollo Marvin Creed first appeared in the 1976 Oscar-winning film "
Rocky" as the charismatic and undefeated World Heavyweight Champion. A planned Bicentennialfight against number one contender Mac Lee Greenwas 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, nicknamed "The Italian Stallion." Apollo brushes off the idea of the left-handed Balboa giving him a fight, pledging to knock him out in three rounds, and putting 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 Washingtonand Uncle Samin 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 endures a grueling 15 round fight with the game Balboa, who manages to get to his feet after Creed took him down with an uppercutin 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 was granted a controversial split decision victory, neither fighter wanting a rematch.
"Rocky II "
In the second film, Creed's initial resistance to a rematch with Balboa softened 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. Creed plowed through sparring partners and trained harder than ever with the intention of punishing Balboa for the embarrassment eleven months earlier.
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. By the final round, he is well ahead on points; however, he had also endured a substantial beating. Not wanting a repeat of the first fight, he vows to knock Balboa out rather than taking the safer route by winning on points. After going toe-to-toe for much of the final round, both are knocked down by a left from Balboa. 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.
In the third film, Apollo (39 years old) appears at the first fight between James "Clubber" Lang, 23 years old, and Rocky Balboa, 36 years old, as a guest colour analyst, a match in which Lang defeats Rocky by KO in the second round. Following the match, Rocky's beloved manager, Mickey, dies and Lang insults Creed 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, Californiain 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 "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 a seasoned brawler like Clubber Lang. Rocky has trouble concentrating during his training, suffering from guilt over Mickey's demise and self-doubt. 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 stripesboxing shorts) to wear during the fight. 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).
In Weathers' final appearance in the film series, Creed (42 years old), comes out of a five-year retirement to fight mammoth Soviet fighter
Ivan Drago, who had come to the United States on behalf of Russia to enter the world of professional boxing. Not wanting the Soviets to appear superior to American fighters, the patriotic Apollo challenges Drago to a match, and calls out Drago at the press conference that sets up their exhibition bout at the MGM Grandin Las Vegas, Nevadaon 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 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 and was pummeled badly in the first round. Rocky wanted to stop the fight but Apollo refused.
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 and gave Drago a chance to deliver a blow that supposedly knocked Creed unconscious, but proved later to be fatal.
After his character's death,
Carl Weathersdeparted the franchise after " Rocky IV". After Rocky Balboa defeated Ivan Drago, Apollo's trainer Duke congratulated Rocky by showing that he made every one proud, especially for Apollo by holding up his red, white, and blue shorts. After the Balboa family came back home to America, Rocky's doctor informed him of his condition and the results from his brain damage, forcing him to retire.
With Creed dead,
George Washington Duke, an aspiring boxing promoter, saw this chance for Rocky to get back in the ring and fight a new young fighter, Union Cane. Meanwhile, a novice boxer, Tommy "The Machine" Gunn, wanted Rocky to train him and manage his boxing career. Tommy was given Apollo's shorts for luck.
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.
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 was able to bob and weave and frustrate his opponents. By the second movie he added a "wind-up with one arm, punch with the other" attack, the
bolo punch, much in the style of Sugar Ray Leonard.
Also 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 Creed's undoing.
Another flaw of Creed's would be overconfidence. Creed routinely underestimates his opponents, resulting in him sometimes going into fight unprepared. Rocky Balboa was the first one we see take advantage of this, and Creed's fight with Drago is perhaps the most extreme example. However, when prepared, as seen in the second film, Creed does not hesitate to use every advantage he has (such as his skill and speed) to the fullest, making him a much more dangerous opponent.
References in popular culture
* 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 Obamasaid that this debate was the most anticipated thing since the fight between Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/31/dems.debate/index.html Obama, Edwards go after Clinton during debate - CNN.com ] ]
* 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 Simpsonconfuses Creed with the Apollo space programs 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 "Upgrade You Freestyle". "I'm a champion, where's the fuckin' Rocky Theme, damn, rest in peace Apollo Creed."
* In an episode of "
In Living Color", Jim Carreyand Keenan Ivory Wayansportray 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 Morganof the Pittsburgh Pirateswas forced to dress up as Apollo Creed as part of a rookie hazing ritual.
* 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 (or 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 Durantof the Jacksonville Jaguarswas 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".
* Apollo Creed is a flat out Lege and on February 22 it is National Apollo Creed Day
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