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Adonis John "Donnie" Creed (born June 1, 1985) is a heavyweight boxer, current WBC and lineal Heavyweight Champion of the world. He is the titular main protagonist of Creed, Creed II, and Creed III. He is the youngest biological son of former Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed, trainee of former Two-Time Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa, adoptive stepson of Mary Anne Creed, and half-brother of Artemis Creed and Alexander Creed, the first two children Apollo and Mary Anne had together.

Biography[]

Early Life[]

Adonis Johnson was born on June 1, 1986 to a woman known as Miss Johnson. His biological father, Apollo Creed, died shortly after Adonis was conceived, being killed in a match on August 31st, 1985 against Ivan Drago. As a result, Adonis never met his father. He was raised by his mother until she passed away in the 1990s, when he was still a small child.

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A young Adonis in 1998

In 1998, Adonis "Donnie" Johnson is spending time at a juvenile detention centre in Los Angeles, eventually getting into a fight with other children. During his time as an orphan he would befriend another orphan, Damian Anderson. They would often be abused by their caretaker Leon. During an unknown time, Damian left the orphanage. During one fight Adonis was force to go into solitary confinement. Mary Anne Creed (Apollo's widow) meets with Adonis and adopts him; informing Adonis that her husband is his posthumous father. Eventually he was introduced to his half-siblings, but they always had trouble accepting him as their brother.

Under Mary Anne's guardianship, Adonis was taken to live at her and his late father's mansion in Los Angeles. There he got his life in order by attending good schools and staying out of trouble with the law. Additionally, he was introduced to his father's legacy as a professional boxer, and he frequently watched his father's old boxing tapes. In 2012, Adonis sneaked out of his house to meet with Damian to watch him compete in an underground boxing match. After Dame's victory, he tells Donnie about his aspirations to turn professional and become a world champion. During a detour at a liquor store, Donnie reunites with Leon, his abusive caretaker, and impulsively attacks him. When some of his associates arrive to confront Adonis, Damian points a gun at them in Donnie's defense. The cops arrive and Damian is arrested while Adonis escapes. Donnie would never contact Dame out of guilt.

Events of Creed[]

2-3 years later in 2014/2015, Adonis (using his biological mother's last name Johnson) is a young college graduate working at the securities firm Smith Boardley Financial Group as a stockbroker. However, on weekends, he sneaks out to Tijuana to fight professional, yet still amateur undercard, boxing matches against unheralded opponents and maintains an undefeated of 15–0 (15 KO). In the beginning of 2015, Adonis scored his 15th victory over a man known as "Title," in the first round by knockout.

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Adonis prepares for a upcoming boxing match in Mexico

Soon, despite having just received a promotion, Adonis resigns from his job to follow his father's legacy as 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 ''Little 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 Rocky Balboa (Apollo's longtime friend) for training.

Becoming a Professional Boxer[]

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Adonis looses a sparring session to Danny Wheeler

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 an open challenge sparring match to WBA/WBC/Ring Magazine heavyweight champion Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler (and his car, which he offered as a prize). 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.

Training under Rocky Balboa[]

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Adonis Creed meets Rocky Balboa

Once in Philadelphia, Adonis meets Rocky at Adrian's Restaurant and tries to convince him to be his trainer. Rocky declines for multiple reasons; boxing a past point in his life, he has some bad memories of training an evil new fighter which soured by the brainwashing evil promoter George Washington Duke, and he believes that if Apollo were still alive he would want his son to do something else with his life besides sports. 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 neighbor named Bianca Taylor, a singer-songwriter with progressive hearing loss. Donnie gets a match with Leo "The Lion" Sporino, the son of a trainer at Mighty Mick's, 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 anonymously alerts the media of Adonis' parentage.

Challenged by Light Heavyweight Champion[]

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Creed and Balboa training.

Meanwhile, Light Heavyweight Champion "Pretty" Ricky Conlan, due to gun charges, is heading 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, the fight is cancelled, Conlan is forced to pay millions in legal fees, and it doesn't seem like he will have the opportunity to have one last big fight before he is sent off to prison. Conlan's manager, Tommy Holiday, learns about Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed and urges Conlan to take the fight, telling him that it would make millions because of the Creed name. 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 Adrian Balboa (Rocky's wife). 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 Pennino, Apollo and his old coach Mickey Goldmill, 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.

Conlan vs. Creed[]

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Creed knocks down Ricky Conlan.

When Rocky Balboa comes to bail him out, Adonis is still upset, and tells off the former heavyweight champion, accusing him of getting Apollo Creed killed in the ring. Later, Adonis goes to Bianca Taylor's apartment to apologise 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 Ricky 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.

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Adonis is cheered by the audience after the fight

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.

Events of Creed II[]

Becoming Heavyweight Champion[]

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Adonis preparing for his fight with Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler.

By 2017, Adonis won a knockout victory at light-heavyweight before moving up to cruiserweight where he won four consecutive knockouts. He then moved up to heavyweight where he won a title eliminator by knockout, earning himself a shot against the heavyweight champion, Danny Wheeler. Adonis defeated Wheeler via a 4th round KO to become the new WBC/Lineal World Heavyweight Champion.

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Adonis proposes to Bianca

Upon winning the championship, Adonis decides it's the right time to propose to Bianca Taylor (Adonis' longtime girlfriend). Adonis seeks advice from Rocky, but it doesn't seem to help his nerves. Finally, Adonis pops the question to Bianca in the hotel room, and she says yes. Bianca suggests to Adonis that they could start a new life in Los Angeles, begin building their family. Adonis is reluctant at first, not wanting to leave Rocky behind, but he agrees to think about it.

Challenged by Viktor Drago[]

Adonis and Bianca head out for dinner and are caught by surprise when the television in the restaurant is footage of Viktor Drago (Ivan Drago's son) calling out Adonis to a boxing match, a callout that was facilitated by a boxing promoter named Buddy Marcelle. Viktor had been dominating the Heavyweight Division in Ukraine, stringing together several knockout victories before deciding to arrive in the United States and challenge Adonis. Adonis infuriated visits Balboa's home in the middle of the night and tells him that he needs to take the fight. Rocky urges him not to take the fight; Balboa feared that what happened thirty-years ago would happen again.

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Adonis talks to Boxing promoter Buddy Marcelle

Adonis becomes upset that Balboa doesn't think he can win and gives Rocky an ultimatum that he will take the fight with or without Rocky, who declines. Adonis and Bianca Taylor head to Los Angeles where they buy a spacious apartment and then visit Mary Anne Creed. Adonis finds it challenging to tell Mary Anne that he is accepting the fight and continues putting it off, but she knows something is up and suspects that Bianca is pregnant, she points out Bianca's glowing skin and oily hair, seeming certain that she is indeed pregnant. Bianca and Adonis laugh, ensuring Mary Anne that she isn't pregnant, but they are beginning to feel unsure themselves and decide to take the test, revealing that Bianca is pregnant. Adonis then finally tells Mary Anne that he is taking the fight, and she tells him that she knows, Adonis questions if she opposes to it, but she just tells him that he is a grown man and she cannot change his mind but tells him not to make this about her or his father.

Creed vs. Drago 1[]

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Adonis is injured while fighting Viktor

Adonis journeys over to the Delphi Boxing Academy, the same gym that his father trained at and recruited Tony "Little Duke" Evers, the son of his father's trainer (Tony "Duke" Evers), to train him. Adonis trains under the wing of Little Duke in the high tech gym. Adonis overwhelmed, rushes into the fight and gets seriously injured. Viktor Drago pummels him over three rounds, breaking his orbital bone, ribs, rupturing his lung and giving him a Grade A concussion. However, despite the domination, Adonis wins the fight by disqualification because Viktor punched him when he was down on one knee, knocking him out. Adonis loses all his confidence and enters a shell, blocking everybody else out. He becomes increasingly distant from Bianca Taylor and Mary Anne Creed. During this time, the boxing world continues to move forward with Viktor establishing himself as the number one boxer in the world, despite not having the championship. The boxing commission begins to step on Adonis's toes and inform him that if he doesn't defend the title soon, he will be stripped.

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Adonis talks about him and his father's legacy

Adonis continues to struggle, unable to enter the gym and unable to leave the dark place he is in, Mary Anne eventually reaches out to Rocky, who comes out west to reconcile with Adonis. Bianca goes into labor and gives birth to a healthy baby girl named Amara Creed. However, Adonis and Bianca's fears are realized when the child is born with progressive hearing loss, with Amara now in his life, Adonis comes to terms with the fact that he needs to be more open with the people closest to him. He also comes to terms that he has to fight Viktor again, and win. He promises to be there for his family but asks them to be there for him.

Creed vs. Drago 2[]

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Adonis training in the dessert

In a parallel to Rocky's own training in wintery Krasnogourbinsk, Rocky drives Adonis to Death Valley to meet up with Little Duke at Purgatoria El Box — a bare-bones desert training facility where fighters go to rediscover themselves so he can rigorously train his body from within to prepare for the fight, while Mary Anne, Bianca, and Amara provide a stable support system. In the desert, Balboa and Little Duke prepare Adonis's body to be able to take extreme amounts of force and damage, preparing him for Viktor's powerful and deadly strikes. At first Adonis is overwhelmed by the training. During his training he facetimes with Bianca and Amara at sunset which helps motivate him to train harder. At one point while following Rocky's car down a road, Adonis collapses due to exhaustion but is able to overcome the stress and get back up. As days go by, Adonis gains significant progress and is able to outlast one of his training opponents who focuses on body blows.

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Creed knocks down Drago

In the second fight, Adonis is more accustomed to Viktor Drago by fighting more comfortably in close range, and due to his sessions training his body to absorb substantial impact repeatedly he is able to withstand Viktor's deadly strikes. Viktor has never had to fight past the 4th round, and while Viktor is winning on points, Adonis uses his stamina to his advantage later in the fight despite having his ribs broken again. After a knockdown in the 10th round, Adonis unleashes a furious rage on Viktor, knocking him down twice and forcing Ivan Drago to throw in the towel to protect his son.

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Adonis, Bianca, and Amara at Apollo's grave

At the end of the fight, Rocky tells Adonis that this is his journey now, hugging him, and giving his farewell. Adonis, having retained the title, visits Apollo's grave with Bianca Taylor and Amara Creed, where he makes peace with his dad for carrying on his legacy while also building his own.

Events of Creed III[]

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Creed retains his title for the final time before his retirement

By 2022, Adonis has been the current heavyweight champion and is on the urge of retiring. For one last bout, Creed has a rematch against "Pretty" Ricky Colan in South Africa. During the end of the fight Creed is able to knock down Colan and retain his title before officially retiring from boxing.

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Adonis playing with his daughter

Three Months later, Adonis is a successful boxing promoter and is running Delphi Boxing Academy along with Little Duke. He is also focusing on his wife and daughter whose hearing impairment has since led the family to become fluent in American Sign Language. Donnie is promoting his protégé, world champion Felix "El Guerrero" Chavez, in a match against his former rival Viktor Drago. At home, Donnie and Bianca are worried about Mary-Ann declining health. Meanwhile, Amara aspires to be a boxer like her father, something Adonis and Bianca have some tensions over.

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Adonis reconnects with Dame

One day while at Delphi, Donnie reunites with Damian. At a restaurant Adonis reconnects with Dame who shares his desire to resume his boxing career. Donnie reluctantly invites Dame to the gym but his presence draws scorn from Chavez and Duke. Dame later visits Donnie's home, where he meets his family and recounts their time together at a group home, a story that Bianca had never heard. Privately, Dame asks for a title shot against Chavez, but Donnie refuses. After Drago is attacked by an unknown assailant at a party for Bianca's record label, which casts doubt on his ability to participate in his upcoming fight, Donnie nominates Dame as Drago's replacement. In preparation for the fight, Adonis offer words of encouragement for Dame. During the fight, Dame use illegal tactics to injure Chavez. During the second match, Dame punches Felix in his arm and ribs before knocking him out with a TKO and claims the title. Adonis is very disturbed by Dame brutality during the match.

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Adonis watch Dame brutally beat Felix

Following the match, an uneasy Donnie visits Mary-Anne, who shows him letters Dame had written to Donnie while in prison that she kept from him due to believing he was a bad influence. One letter contains a picture showing Dame with a fellow inmate that Donnie recognizes as Drago's assailant. Realizing Dame orchestrated the attack, Donnie confronts him, and Dame confesses that he manipulated him into getting the title shot. Adonis is furious about this revelation, but Dame proclaims that he is coming for everything that he has, betraying Donnie. Angry and heartbroken, Adonis leaves. Donnie is unable to open up to Bianca about his guilt over Dame and the two get into an argument in front of Amara. When Bianca leaves with Amara, Adonis heads out to the same convenience store that he assaulted Leon decades ago. While he's reminiscing, he gets a call from Bianca telling him that Mary-Ann suffered another stroke. Adonis rushes to her bedside and tearfully apologies about his argument with her. Mary-Ann seems to have Alzheimer and talks to Adonis as if she was talking to Apollo. She later passes away peacefully. After her funeral, Donnie confesses to Bianca about the night of Dame's arrest.

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Adonis confess to Bianca about his past with Dame

Encouraged by Bianca, Donnie decides to come out of retirement and challenges Dame for the championship, which he accepts. Heading to a unmarked place to train, he begins a sparing match with Little Duker and a recovered Drago. Traumatized by his past with Dame, Adonis starts to lose focus and lose his sparring match with Drago.

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Adonis regains his "eye of the tiger"

Turning his emotion into rage, Adonis starts to physically attack Drago before being knocked down. Remembering how far he has come from a scared teenager to training with Rocky and knocking down Colan to defeating Drago, Adonis removes his head gear and regains his "eye of the tiger" and resumes his fight with Viktor. During the end of his training, Adonis runs up the hill to the top of the Hollywood sign and yells out a well deserve scream.

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Adonis knocks out Dame and reclaims the Heavyweight titles

At Dogers Stadium, Donnie faces Dame in the "Battle of Los Angeles". During the fight Adonis and Dame blur out the surrounding crowd and imagen it just the two of them. In a grueling, evenly-matched affair, Donnie has visions of his abusive foster home and Dame's life in jail. During the last round Dame is able to knock Adonis down. With the support of his wife and daughter, Adonis is able to get and TKO Dame, reclaiming the WBC, WBA, WBO Heavyweight title. After the fight, Adonis goes to the locker room where Dame is recovering and the two have a heart to heart conversation. The two best friends reconcile and Adonis tells Dame that if he ever needs him, he'll be there.

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Adonis celebrates his win with his family

Donnie later joins Bianca and Amara in the ring in the empty stadium, where he pretends to box with Amara. After that they then head home.


Personality and Traits[]

"Well he ain’t around. I been fighting my whole life. I ain’t got a choice."
―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 Balboa 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.[13] Adonis has been described as "arrogant",.[14][15][16] Although Adonis' circumstances change after he is adopted by Mary Anne Creed (Apollo's widow) he retains his fiery personality. Short-tempered and impulsive, but good-natured, it is Adonis' tenacity that convinces Rocky to train him.[17]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." [18] 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". [19]

Adonis' hubris initially causes him to refuse to embrace the name Creed, instead using his mother's surname, Johnson. Only with Bianca Taylor's (Adonis' girlfriend) encouragement does Adonis eventually come to accept the name.[20] 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.[21] After Rocky is diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, 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."[22][23] 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.[24] 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.

Boxing Style[]

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.[27] 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.

Professional Boxing Record[]

List of Adonis's fights during the series.

No.

Result Record Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
28 Win 27-1-0 Damian Anderson KO 12 (12)

2:12

January 18, 2023 Los Angeles, California Won IBF, WBO, WBA, WBC The Ring, and lineal Heavyweight titles
27 Win 26-1-0 Ricky Conlan KO 2 April 15, 2022 South Africa Retained IBF, WBO, WBA, WBC The Ring, and lineal Heavyweight titles
26 Win 25-1-0 Viktor Drago TKO 11 (12), 2:56 March 25th, 2018 Moscow, Russia Retained IBF, WBO, WBA, WBC The Ring, and lineal Heavyweight titles
25 NC 24-1-0 Viktor Drago DQ 3 (12), 2:10 September 11th, 2017 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York Retained IBF, WBO, WBA, WBC The Ring, and lineal Heavyweight titles
24 Win 24-1-0 Danny Wheeler KO 4 (12), 3:23 July 16th, 2017 MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada Won IBF, WBO, WBA, WBC The Ring, and lineal Heavyweight titles
17 Loss 16-1-0 Ricky Conlan SD 12 November 25th, 2015 Goodison Park, Liverpool, England For IBF, WBO, The Ring, and lineal Light Heavyweight titles
16 Win 16-0-0 Leo Sporino KO 2 (10), 1:23 January 17th, 2015 The Temple, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Boxing Attires[]

Accomplishments[]

WBC/Lineal Heavyweight Champion, Current unified Lineal Heavyweight Champion (2 time, 2017-2022, 2023-present) (defeated Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler, retired), (defeated Damian "Dame" Anderson)

Quotes[]

  • "Well he ain’t around. I been fighting my whole life. I ain’t got a choice." - Adonis Johnson Creed
  • "Rock, every punch I’ve ever thrown has been on my own. Nobody showed me how to do this. I’m ready." - Adonis Johnson Creed to Rocky Balboa
  • "Every move that I make, every punch that I throw, everything’s going to be compared to him." - Adonis Johnson Creed in reference to his father Apollo Creed

Trivia[]

  • Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed, gave his strong endorsement to the movie and Michael B. Jordan's performance, in which Jordan felt extremely honored.
  • Sylvester Stallone revealed on a talk show that in all of his Rocky films there had been at least one instance of him being knocked down for real, which in a sense had become something of a "tradition" for the franchise. Upon learning about this, Michael B. Jordan agreed to deliberately shoot such a case for this film, citing "If you can take it, so can I", thus keeping the "tradition" alive.
  • "Pretty" Ricky Conlan is played by real-life Liverpool boxer 'Tony 'The Bomber' Bellew'.
  • The (fictional) Delphi Boxing Academy in Los Angeles is advertised as "the home of Apollo Creed." Delphi is a site in Greece that was dedicated to the god Apollo after he was said to have slain a dragon there. Appropriately in Liverpool Adonis Creed stays at the Adelphi Hotel (visible from the symbol on his hotel room pillow), a variation on the name meaning 'place of the brothers'.
  • While training, Adonis wears a shirt with the message "Why do I wanna fight? Because I can't sing and dance..." This was a line from Rocky Balboa to Adrian Balboa on their ice skating date in the first Rocky (1976).
  • Because of his victory of Danny Wheeler in the film, in legitimate boxing terms, when winning the WBC championship, Adonis is technically also the Lineal champion. The last Lineal heavyweight champion was Mason Dixon, and he retired, suspending the Lineal championship. Wheeler became the champion, but was beaten.

References[]

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