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. In 2015 (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 2018 (Creed II), Adonis made a move to the heavyweight division and won a string of six fights, all by knockout, earning a shot at the heavyweight champion, Danny Wheeler. Adonis knocked Wheeler out in the 4th round and became the new WBC Heavyweight Champion. Adonis was then called out by Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago. Adonis was pummelled in their first encounter, suffering from a broken orbital bone, broken ribs, ruptured lung, and a concussion, but he won the fight by disqualification because Viktor punched him when he was down. A rematch was made and took place in Russia, Adonis spent many months in the desert training his body to absorb substantial impact repeatedly so that he could withstand Viktor's deadly punches. It worked and the fight went into the tenth round, Viktor had never gone past the fourth and began to fatigue. Viktor was winning on the scorecard but was unable to defend himself due to fatigue and after Creed knocked him down twice, his father, Ivan Drago decided to throw in the towel for his son, giving Adonis the victory.
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.
Becoming a Professional Boxer
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 light heavyweight contender 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
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 defence. 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.
Challenged by Light Heavyweight Champion
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 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.
Conlan vs. Creed
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.
Becoming Heavyweight Champion
Somewhere in between 2015 (Creed) and 2018 (Creed II), Adonis Creed made a move from the Light Heavyweight division to the Heavyweight division. Creed joined the same division that his father Apollo Creed and trainer Rocky Balboa were both champions. In 2018, Creed has strung together six straight victories, all by knockout and earnt himself a shot at the Heavyweight champion, Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler. Adonis defeats Wheeler via a 4th round KO to become the new WBC World Heavyweight Champion. Upon winning the championship, Adonis decides it's the right time to propose to longtime girlfriend, Bianca. 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. Adonis and Bianca head out for dinner and are caught by surprise when the television in the restaurant is footage of Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago calling out Adonis to a boxing match, a callout that was facilitated by boxing promotor Buddy Marcelle. 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. 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.
Challenged by Viktor Drago
Adonis and Bianca head to Los Angeles, buying a spacious apartment, and then visiting Mary Anne. 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
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, 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 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 and Mary Anne. 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 commision begins to step on Adonis's toes and inform him that if he doesn't defend the title soon, he will be stripped. 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 labour and gives birth to a healthy baby girl, Amara. However, Adonis and Bianca's fears are realised 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. Rocky and Little Duke take Adonis to the desert to 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.
Creed vs. Drago 2
In the second fight, Adonis is more accustomed to Viktor 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 Viktors deadly stikes. 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. 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 and Amara, where he makes peace with his dad for carrying on his legacy while also building his own.
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 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.
Professional Boxing Record
List of Adonis's fight during the series.
|26||Win||25-1-0||Viktor Drago||RTD||10 (12), 2:56||2019||Moscow, Russia||Retained WBC Heavyweight title|
|25||Win||24-1-0||Viktor Drago||DQ||3 (12), 2:10||2018||Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York||Retained WBC Heavyweight title
Viktor Drago was DQ for hitting Creed when he was down.
|24||Win||23-1-0||Danny Wheeler||KO||4 (12), 3:23||2018||MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada||Won WBC Heavyweight title|
|17||Loss||16-1-0||Ricky Conlan||SD||12||April 15th, 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|
Current WBO Heavyweight Champion (1 time, 2018-Present) (defeated Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler)
- "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
- Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed, gave his strong endorsement to the movie and Michael B. Jordan's performance. Jordan felt extremely honoured.
- 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 to Adrian on their ice skating date in the first Rocky (1976).