Apollo Creed was a legendary boxer and a major character in the Rocky franchise. He died in a tragic exhibition match against Ivan Drago, a Soviet fighter who brutally beat him to death in front of his wife, Rocky, and thousands of spectators. His death had a profound impact on the boxing world and his legacy inspired future generations of fighters, including his son Adonis.
The Tragic Death of Apollo Creed
Apollo Creed was the world heavyweight champion and a charismatic and flamboyant fighter who was inspired by real-life champions like Muhammad Ali and Jack Johnson. He fought Rocky Balboa twice, losing the second time, but became his friend and mentor afterward. He retired from boxing after helping Rocky defeat Clubber Lang in Rocky III.
However, in Rocky IV, he decided to come out of retirement to face Ivan Drago, a formidable Soviet boxer who was part of a state-sponsored program that enhanced his strength and endurance. Drago was seen as a threat to American pride and Creed wanted to prove himself as the best boxer in the world.
The match was held in Las Vegas on August 31, 1985, and was supposed to be a friendly exhibition. Creed entered the ring with a spectacular show featuring James Brown singing “Living in America”. He wore patriotic trunks and a top hat and danced with showgirls. He was confident and playful, not taking Drago seriously.
However, Drago was not amused. He was cold and ruthless, determined to crush Creed and show the superiority of the Soviet system. He towered over Creed and had a massive reach advantage. He also had incredible power, as shown by his punching machine test that registered 1850 psi.
The fight was a one-sided massacre. Creed could not hurt Drago at all, while Drago landed devastating blows that rocked Creed’s head and body. Creed’s corner, including Rocky, begged him to quit, but he refused. He wanted to go out like a champion, not a quitter.
In the second round, Drago unleashed a final barrage of punches that knocked Creed down for good. He pushed away the referee who tried to stop him and continued to pummel Creed until he stopped moving. Drago then stood over Creed’s lifeless body and declared: “If he dies, he dies.”
Creed’s death was shocking and heartbreaking. His wife Mary Anne screamed in horror as she watched her husband die. Rocky held his friend in his arms and cried. The crowd was stunned into silence. The announcer solemnly announced: “Ladies and gentlemen… Apollo Creed is dead.”
The Impact of Apollo Creed’s Death
Creed’s death had a huge impact on those who were close to him and on the boxing world in general. It also sparked a political tension between the US and the USSR during the Cold War era.
Rocky was devastated by losing his friend and felt guilty for not throwing in the towel to save him. He blamed himself for letting Creed fight Drago and for not stopping him when he had the chance. He also felt angry at Drago for killing his friend and challenged him to a rematch in Moscow on Christmas Day.
Mary Anne was left widowed with two children: an unnamed son and daughter. She later adopted Adonis Johnson, the illegitimate son of Apollo from an affair he had before meeting her. She raised Adonis as her own son and tried to keep him away from boxing, fearing that he would suffer the same fate as his father.
Adonis never knew his father or his biological mother, who died when he was young. He grew up in foster homes and juvenile detention centers until Mary Anne took him in. He inherited his father’s passion for boxing and secretly trained himself until he decided to pursue it as a career. He sought out Rocky as his trainer and mentor, hoping to live up to his father’s legacy.
The boxing world also mourned the loss of one of its greatest champions. Creed was respected and admired by fans, peers, and critics alike for his skill, charisma, and personality. He was considered one of the best boxers of all time and had multiple nicknames such as “The Master of Disaster”, “The King of Sting”, “The Dancing Destroyer”, “The Prince of Punch”, and “The Count of Monte Fisto”. His death left a void in the sport that no one could fill.
The Legacy of Apollo Creed
Despite his tragic death, Apollo Creed’s legacy lives on through his family, friends, fans, and protégés. He is remembered as a legend who inspired many people with his courage, determination, spirit, and style.
Rocky honored his friend by defeating Drago in Moscow, avenging his death and ending the Cold War (at least in the movie). He also dedicated his victory to Creed and gave his boxing gloves to his son. He later became a father figure to Adonis and trained him to become a champion in his own right.
Adonis followed his father’s footsteps and became a successful boxer, using the name “Creed” to honor him. He faced many challenges and adversaries, such as Ricky Conlan, Viktor Drago (Ivan’s son), and himself. He also found love with Bianca Taylor, a singer who suffers from progressive hearing loss. He married her and had a daughter with her, named Amara.
Creed’s influence also extended to other boxers who looked up to him or fought against him. For example, Tommy Gunn, a former protégé of Rocky who turned against him, wore Creed’s trunks when he challenged Rocky to a street fight in Rocky V. Another example is Mason Dixon, the undefeated heavyweight champion who faced Rocky in an exhibition match in Rocky Balboa. He wore Creed’s trunks as a tribute to him and as a sign of respect to Rocky.
Creed’s legacy also lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of fans who admire him for his achievements and personality. He is regarded as one of the most iconic and memorable characters in the Rocky franchise and in cinema history. His story is a source of inspiration and motivation for many people who aspire to be like him or overcome their own challenges.
Apollo Creed was a remarkable boxer and a beloved character who died a hero’s death. His death was sad and shocking, but it also served as a catalyst for many events and changes that shaped the lives of those who knew him and loved him. His legacy is immortal and his spirit is alive in his son Adonis, who carries on his name and his dream. Apollo Creed was not just a fighter, he was a legend.