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Creed Can’t Hold a Glove to Rocky as the Best Boxing Franchise Ever

Apollo and Rocky talking it out
Who is better? Rocky or Creed

Creed Can’t Hold a Glove to Rocky as the Best Boxing Franchise Ever

Yo Adrian, I did it!

Rocky has been a staple of sports movies for almost 50 years now, with Sylvester Stallone reaching cult hero status for his portrayal of the “Italian Stallion,” Rocky Balboa. In the last decade, though, Micheal B Jordan has been aiming to take the crown from Stallone with his portrayal of Adonis Creed, the illegitimate son of Rocky’s original foe Apollo Creed. The friendly debate as to which franchise reigns supreme as the pound-for-pounds best boxing movie saga ever now rages on. There’s really only one answer, though. Rocky stands the test of time as the most iconic boxing franchise of all time, and in case there was any doubt I’m here to tell you why.

Image Source: United Artists

First, a short history lesson. Following the success of Rocky (1976), Metro Goldwyn Mayer ordered the release of Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, Rocky V, and finally Rocky Balboa which was released 30 years after Stallone first walked out onto our screens donning the famous black and yellow shorts. The original Rocky movie delved into what it was like to really be an up-and-coming boxer, in the 1970s, but the somewhat impressive thing about the film is how it still stands up in today’s world. Rocky is still now being referred to in the same stead as Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali, as his legacy lives on.

In case you didn’t know, boxing back in the 70s was all about run-down gyms, rusty weights, and chain-smoking trainers. It may not be as much like that now but it’s Rocky’s training techniques that are still idolized, even now in 2023. Downing eggs, early morning runs, one-armed press-ups, and running with bricks in your hands are techniques were legitimate training techniques back then. But the effect of their showcase was to reinforce Rocky as the working-class hero he is — an average joe staking a claim in the most challenging sport in the world.

However, it was two of the most famous scenes in movie history which is what united sporting communities all over. Punching dead pig carcasses in the back of butchers and the most famous Rocky scene of all time, sprinting up the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps to the tune of “Gonna Fly Now”. It was scenes like this that allowed the Rocky franchise to flourish. Rocky was the fighter everyone wanted to be!

Apollo and Rocky pep talk
Image Source: MGM Studios

As mentioned above it was the realism of Rocky’s story that allowed the movies to connect with their audience. This is the biggest difference between the two franchises, Adonis Creed is much more materialistic than Rocky Balboa, and that just doesn’t translate to the romance of boxing as this heroic undertaking that many perceive it to be. Adonis, having been handed his boxing pedigree on a silver platter due to his dad and hand-picking opponents did not have to grind like Rocky did to move up the boxing rankings.

Of course, the Creed movies boast superior, modern cinematography, and the training techniques and boxing scenes are much more realistic than what we saw in Rocky movies. But there’s something less compelling about all that. It’s clinical and accurate, but missing the sort of magic the Rocky audiences fell in love with back in the 1970s.

And for that reason, despite the Creed movies hitting the highest heights of the box office, it feels as though there’s a long way to go before they can usurp the original Rocky series. I question whether it’s ever possible for Creed to become the sort of iconic legend that Stallone’s fabled character remains to this day. Still, as a case study for the sort of endurance and determination required to make it as a professional in today’s boxing industry, and so perhaps in this sense it’s instead destined to forge a separate legacy for itself that should be appreciated in isolation.

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