Creed III is right around the corner, and with it being the ninth film in the franchise, there is lots to remember from the previous Rocky and Creed movies. For a series about boxing, the Rocky franchise has an incredibly dense story, with each character being fully fleshed out. So, here are the 10 key details from the story of Rocky and Creed that viewers need to remember before seeing Creed III.

Creed is a spin-off of the beloved Rocky franchise, with the series following the son of the late great world heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed. Creed III is set to be a time of dramatic change for the series, as it will be the first entry to not feature Rocky Balboa. Rocky was the main character of the first six films and Adonis Creed’s trainer in Creed and Creed II, meaning that Rocky’s Creed III absence is a point of no return for the franchise. In a series of highly-acclaimed films, the Creed movies have still managed to stand out, meaning that Creed III is still highly anticipated even without Rocky Balboa.

Related: 7 Rocky Characters & Actors Who Returned In The Creed Movies


10 Rocky Went The Distance With Apollo Creed

Rocky Balboa fights Apollo Creed

Rocky’s first encounter with Apollo Creed is what started the domino effect that led to Creed III, meaning that the upcoming threequel’s story will connect back to the very beginning of the franchise. In the first Rocky, unknown Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa is given a chance to fight the world heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed. Although Creed ends up beating Rocky in the ring, it is only by split decision, with Rocky managing to stay up for all 15 rounds. While Rocky lost the fight, he won the audience’s hearts, catapulting him into stardom and beginning his rivalry-turned-friendship with Apollo Creed.

9 Apollo Creed Died Fighting Ivan Drago

Ivan Drago beats Apollo Creed to a pulp

After Rocky beat Apollo Creed in Rocky II, Creed stuck around, eventually becoming the trainer of Rocky in Rocky III. However, the super patriotic boxer got back into the ring one final time in Rocky IV, and it tragically cost him his life. In his pursuit to defend the honor of his country, Apollo Creed was killed by Soviet boxer Ivan Drago. Drago was a brutal fighter, and although Rocky later beat him, the boxer has remained one of the franchise’s most notorious villains for killing Creed. This moment is integral for the Creed movies, as it explains why Apollo wasn’t around for Adonis Creed’s childhood.

8 Rocky Retired From Boxing (Again)

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky in Rocky Balboa

Due to brain trauma caused by the fight with Ivan Drago, Rocky retired from boxing after Rocky IV. However, the events surrounding Tommy “The Machine” Gunn in Rocky V caused Rocky to resume fighting, with him once again retiring after the events of the film. However, Rocky came out of retirement one more time for 2006’s Rocky Balboa, with the 59-year-old boxer stepping back into the ring to fight Mason “The Line” Dixon. Rocky’s third and final retirement occurred after this fight, with Rocky never again stepping into the ring as a boxer.

7 Mary Anne Creed Adopted Adonis Creed

Mary Anne Creed in Creed

Jumping to the Creed timeline, the first Creed movie introduces Adonis Creed when he is a teenager incarcerated in a juvenile detention center. Adonis is the child of one of Apollo Creed’s affairs, but due to Apollo’s death, his wife Mary Anne Creed decides to track Adonis down. Mary Anne Creed finds Adonis in 1998, adopting him and telling him who his father was. While living with Mary Anne, Adonis Creed started boxing, although at the time he used the surname of his biological mother, “Johnson.” Mary Anne stayed heavily involved in Adonis’ life throughout his adulthood, appearing in Creed and Creed II.

Related: Creed III’s MCU Connections Are Even Deeper Than You Think

6 Adonis Asks Rocky To Train Him

Adonis Creed sitting on a stool staring at Rocky Balboa during a fight in creed 2.

Although Adonis had been boxing for a while, he finally realized he wasn’t very good after losing a fight to Danny “The Stuntman” Wheeler. In an attempt to improve his fighting skills and step out of his father’s shadow, Adonis decides to recruit an old friend of Apollo’s: Rocky Balboa. Adonis tracks down Rocky in Philadelphia, approaching the former boxer at his restaurant, Adrian’s (named for Rocky’s dead wife). Rocky reluctantly agrees to train Adonis as a favor to Apollo, with Rocky continuing to be in Adonis’ corner throughout the first two Creed movies.

The scene at Adrian’s also answers a big franchise mystery about Apollo Creed. Rocky and Apollo have a secret third match at the end of Rocky III, but right as the fight starts, credits roll. The winner of this fight was never known until Creed, with Adonis asking Rocky who won. Rocky reveals that Apollo won the fight, meaning that, out of the three fights, Apollo won two of them.

5 Rocky Is Diagnosed With Lymphoma

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky in Creed 2

Rocky’s story is tragic, with him having lost friends and family members like Adrian, Paulie, Apollo, Mickey, and more. Things get even sadder when Rocky is diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the first Creed, with the former boxer initially deciding not to get treatment due to it not working on Adrian. However, Adonis eventually convinces Rocky, causing Rocky to undergo chemotherapy. The beginning of Creed II reveals that Rocky has recovered from the lymphoma, but with him not appearing in Creed III, it’s theorized that the cancer may have come back between films.

4 Adonis Fights “Pretty” Ricky Conlan

The events of Creed culminate with Adonis fighting “Pretty” Ricky Conlan, which is significant for several reasons. First, this fight is the first time that Adonis goes by the surname “Creed,” finally accepting the legacy of his father. On top of that, this fight is for the world lightweight champion, mirroring Rocky’s original fight with Apollo. Similarly, Apollo loses the fight, but the match puts Creed’s name on the map, with Adonis’ newfound fame directly leading to the events of Creed II.

Related: Creed 3 Is Already Repeating A Lot Of Rocky III’s Story (But That’s OK)

3 Adonis & Bianca Had A Daughter

Michael B. Jordan as Adonis and Tessa Thompson as Bianca in Creed

In the first Creed, Adonis meets a musician named Bianca, who reveals that she is beginning to lose her hearing. The two develop a relationship, with Bianca being at Adonis’ side. Although Bianca is mostly sidelined in Creed II, Adonis does propose to her at the beginning of the film, with the two agreeing to get married. Later in the film, Bianca reveals she is pregnant, with the couple having a daughter named Amara. However, they soon discover that Amara is deaf, with Amara having inherited Bianca’s hearing disorder. The two characters aren’t given much development, but hopefully, Creed III will fix that.

2 Adonis Beat Viktor Drago & Remained World Heavyweight Champion

Viktor Drago vs Adonis Creed in Creed 2

Adonis Creed’s opponent in Creed II is Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago, the man who killed Apollo Creed. Although Adonis loses the first fight due to some dirty hits, he remains the World Heavyweight Champion due to Viktor being disqualified. Adonis Creed and Viktor Drago later have a rematch, with Adonis beating Viktor after Ivan throws in the towel. Viktor and Ivan Drago are getting a spin-off, meaning that their story is far from over, but it is unknown if they will appear in Creed III. However, the end of Creed II sets up that Adonis still holds his title, as well as him having finally avenged Apollo.

1 Rocky Went To See His Son In Canada

Robert Balboa Jr in Creed II

Creed II ends on a heartwarming note, with Rocky visiting his estranged son Robert Jr. in Vancouver, Canada. The two have drifted apart since the events of Rocky Balboa, but Rocky decided to repair their relationship after spending time with Adonis and his family. This scene is at the very end of Creed II, so it isn’t yet known how it will influence the plot of Creed III. However, it is possible that Rocky isn’t in Creed III due to him remaining in Canada with his son, perfectly ending the story of the original Rocky movies.

More: Which Rocky Or Creed Fight Is The Most Realistic?

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