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Apollo Creed

Apollo Creed is a fictional character from the Rocky film series. He is portrayed by Carl Weathers.
Apollo Creed was born in 1943 in Los Angeles and was well-known for his flamboyant personality, similar to that of Muhammad Ali. As of 1976, when the first film took place, he was the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion.

Creed is introduced in Rocky as he learns that the fight between he and Mac Lee Green scheduled for January 1, 1976, must be cancelled because Green broke his right hand. Needing an angle to sell the fight, he decided to give an unknown local fighter a chance at the title. He selected Rocky Balboa based on his nickname, the Italian Stallion. At the time of the fight, Creed was 46-0 with all wins by way of knockout. Indeed, no opponent had ever lasted more than twelve rounds with Creed. In the press leading up to their first fight, Creed took Balboa lightly, viewing the bout as more of a spectacle than a real contest. This attitude is best evidenced by Creed's flamboyant ring entrance where he dressed as both George Washington and Uncle Sam. However, in the first round Balboa managed to catch Creed off guard, knocking the champion down for the first time in his career.

Creed quickly recovered and began to establish himself. Balboa, though, proved to be a more difficult opponent than anticipated and both fighters wore down as the fight entered the later rounds. By the fourteenth round Balboa had a broken nose and severe facial swelling. Creed had sustained broken ribs and was bleeding internally. Before the final round Creed's corner nearly stopped the fight but the champion insisted he finish the fight. With the two fighters clutching as the final bell sounded Creed declared there would be no rematch.

Creed defeated Balboa by split decision in their first fight, a result that shocked observers due to the fact that no other fighter had ever gone the distance with Creed. Following the bout, both Creed and Balboa had extended hospital stays recovering from injuries sustained in the fight. 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, Creed challenged Balboa to a second fight which took place Thanksgiving Day, 1976.

In the rematch Creed established himself early but Balboa again proved to be a difficult opponent. Creed was clearly ahead on the scorecards heading into the final round, needing only to avoid getting knocked out in order to win the fight and retain the title. Creed, however, eager to knock out Balboa, continued to press on. Shockingly, both fighters were knocked to the canvas simultaneously following an exchange of blows. Balboa managed to rise on the count of “nine” while Creed slumped into the corner and was counted out. This proved to be Creed’s only defeat and his final professional fight. Three years later, Creed returned to boxing as Balboa’s manager and trainer. Balboa, having lost his title to Clubber Lang, was without management following Mickey’s death following the Lang fight. Creed helped focus Balboa on rediscovering the fire inside that he had in their fights and which he had clearly lost in the time leading up to the Lang fight. Creed called this fire the "Eye of the Tiger". Re-energized with Creed in his corner, Balboa regained his title with a three-round knockout of Lang.

Creed himself returned to the ring some months later to challenge Soviet champion Ivan Drago to an exhibition at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Drago was much younger than Creed and in peak physical condition. Nonetheless, Creed believed that his ring skills would allow him to defeat the Russian. Early in the first round it appeared as though Creed would make short work of Drago but Drago unleashed a barrage in the closing moments of the round which left Creed staggered and bloody as he returned to his corner. Balboa, who was in Creed’s corner for the fight, insisted that Creed stop the fight but the former champion refused. In the second round, Drago continued to punish Creed such that Balboa grabbed a towel to throw into the ring signifying the end of the fight. Before Balboa could throw the towel, though, Apollo clutched Drago and signaled to Rocky that he didn't want the fight stopped. Shortly thereafter, Drago landed a final blow which dropped the former champion to the canvas. The referee stopped the fight immediately as Creed convulsed on the canvas. He died in Rocky's arms. Apollo Creed’s final professional record was 47-1 (46 knockouts). He was survived by his wife, Mary Anne, and their two children.