Creed (2015) Ending Explained – Does Donnie defeat Conlan?


Creed Plot Synopsis

Late former champion, Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis “Donnie” Johnson, finds himself struggling to forge his own legacy as a boxer. Seeking solid help in training, he reaches the doorsteps of his father’s best friend and rival, Rocky. Initially reluctant, Rocky eventually agrees to train Donnie. Will Donnie be able to walk the path adorned with the sweat and blood of his father? Let’s find out:

When does Donnie put on gloves?

In 1998 after Donnie’s biological mother passed away, Creed’s widow, Mary Anne, offered to take Donnie in. Over a decade and a half later, Donnie is a small-time boxer who fights in small contests. Donnie resigns from his finance company to dedicate everything he has to the sport of boxing.

He is rejected at Los Angeles’ elite Delphi Boxing Academy. In one instance, Donnie is beaten in a sparring contest by light heavyweight contender no. 2, The Stuntman – after he offered his Ford Mustang to anyone in the gym able to make a clear headshot on him.

Disappointed, but still ignited, Donnie travels to Philadelphia to meet the man who his father helped rise to the top, Rocky Balboa.


Does Donnie get Rocky’s help?

Donnie meets Rocky in his Italian restaurant, Adrian’s. He urges Rocky to help train him. Having already made his one-off comeback, Rocky is reluctant as he doesn’t want to get back into the ring again. However, seeing Donnie’s vigor, Rocky agrees to be his trainer.

Donnie asks Rocky about the third secret fight between him and Apollo. Rocky tells him Apollo was victorious in the match. Rocky kicks off Donnie’s training regimen in Front Street Gym with his friends to support the new man.

Does Donnie accept Apollo Creed’s legacy?

Donnie is reluctant to use his father’s name as he doesn’t believe Apollo made any contribution to his skills as a boxer. He uses his biological mother’s surname, Johnson instead.

After Donnie beats a local fighter, The Lion, in a mini contest, the opposing side spread the news that Donnie is Apollo’s illegitimate son.

World Light Heavyweight champion “Pretty” Ricky Conlan is to retire soon due to an impending prison term. His camp calls Rocky to challenge Donnie for Conlan’s final match. This could be a big moment for Donnie. However, Conlan’s team has a condition – Donnie must legally change his name to Creed. Initially reluctant, Donnie agrees after giving it a deep thought.


Does Donnie defeat Conlan?

Rocky is diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, something made all the worse given he’s still grieving over the death of his closest, including Paulie, who died recently. Rocky wishes to embrace death. However, when Donnie urges him to seek treatment, he agrees to undergo chemotherapy. Donnie wraps up the training and is ready to take on Conlan.

Mary Anne gifts American flag trunks to Donnie before the match. Donnie starts off strong and impresses everybody in attendance with his skills. However, Conlan’s armour isn’t easy to break. After a couple of rounds, Conlan throws a powerful punch – knocking down Donnie in an absolutely brutal manner. To everybody’s surprise, Donnie recovers suddenly and gets back on his feet after getting a vision of Apollo. Later, Donnie knocks down Conlan – the first time he’s ever been knocked down.  The final round ends.

Conlan is announced as the winner by a split decision. But, Creed earns everybody’s respect including Conlan who said to him, “You are going great chum, you are the future to this division”.

Carrying on the tradition with Creed by his side, Rocky climbs 72 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Arts.

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