How Did Apollo Creed Die? Explained

Creed, the latest film, isn’t simply another ordinary boxing film. It’s the seventh installment in the Rocky franchise, which started with the Oscar-winning 1976 picture Rocky, about underdog Rocky Balboa taking on the title of world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. But, in Creed, Apollo Creed is already dead, and the film centers around his son, Adonis, played by Michael B. Jordan. Still, the film is almost certain to be a hit.

It’s entering the most famous sports movie series in history, with the top three of the five highest-grossing sports movies already being Rocky films, and may pave the way for a whole new Adonis-centered spinoff franchise. But before anyone becomes too close to the persona, they must first know where he came from or find out how Apollo Creed died.

Adonis never met his father, which is soon established in Creed. That sad scenario, however, was not Apollo’s fault. Apollo died in the boxing ring, but although Creed makes a point of mentioning this, the film never goes into detail about how this occurred. As it comes out, Apollo Creed’s death was terrible. Because you won’t find this story in Creed, here’s what actually happened to Apollo Creed.

Credits: The Script Lab

What Happened to Apollo Creed?

Apollo is a significant character in the Rocky series, ranking with Adrian, Paulie, and Rocky. In the first film, he is the world heavyweight champion, defeating Rocky in the film’s climax fight. Rocky and Apollo rematch in Rocky II, and Rocky wins. Following his defeat, the two become excellent friends, and Apollo quits boxing.

In the wake of the passing of Rocky’s trainer, Mickey, Apollo steps in to coach Rocky for his bout against Mr. T’s Clubber Lang in Rocky III. Ultimately, in Rocky IV, Apollo returns from retirement to portray America in an exhibition match against the Soviet Union’s most valued fighter, Ivan Drago. That proves to be a deadly mistake.


A Still from Apollo 3 Creed

Apollo is self-assured but doesn’t take the battle seriously, while Drago is a true beast. Throughout the battle, Creed is unable to harm Drago, and once the huge Russian starts connecting, it appears that he’s too much for Creed to manage. Drago, not satisfied with just taking the victory when he is obviously in command, never slows up, even shoving the referee away at one point. In front of his wife, Rocky, and hundreds of fans, he practically punches Creed to death.

A Brutal Ending

It’s a fairly brutal ending and maybe the saddest scene in the Rocky trilogy. Rocky wants vengeance on Drago, which serves as the storyline for the rest of Rocky IV, but Creed’s death remains the film’s most powerful scene. Rocky IV took place in 1985. Thus, Adonis was either just born or had not yet been born when his father died, so it should be fantastic to be seeing him stay true to the legacy of the father he never met. Fans with sharp eyes will spot Adonis wearing his father’s distinctive red, white, and blue trunks in the film’s teaser.

Apollo 3 Creed

Credits: Eli Ade

Apollo Creed died 30 years ago, but his spirit (and fondness for Greek mythology names) lives on in his son Adonis. Hopefully, Creed serves as a suitable fit for the character, inspiring a young generation like Apollo once did.

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