When you hear the name "Apollo," what do you think of? The Ancient Greek sun god? The missions to the moon?
Well, Apollo Creed can't move the sun, but he probably is fairly certain that the sun revolves around him. And he's not flying to the moon, but we're pretty sure that he thinks that he could, if he really wanted to.
Basically, his ego is as big as his heavyweight championship belt. Check out what he says about um, every other boxer in Philly:
APOLLO: Shape nothing, man. They afraid. Hell, they know everybody in the world's gonna see this fight, and none of them got a prayer of whipping me. So they making excuses so they don't have to be the chump to get whipped in front of the whole civilized world.
Apollo Creed—whose name, aside from having those sun and moon connotations, is also a riff on the Apostle's Creed—is modeled on Muhammad Ali. He talks big (and walks, er, fights big, too) and turns a boxing match into a show.
He tells kids, "Stay in school and use your brain," which: fair enough. He thinks of the publicity in his match with Rocky that will rival the Thrilla in Manila:
APOLLO: "Apollo Creed meets the Italian Stallion." Sounds like a damn monster movie!
And he teases Rocky on camera, both to demoralize the contender and to maintain his large-and-in-charge personality.
Apollo isn't a bad guy. He's just self-involved—"Apollo Creed" is more of a brand than it is the name of a fighter. Everything he does is cultivated around maintaining his All-American image. He gives Rocky, "a snow-white underdog," a shot at the title, just to show that he's magnanimous. And he even arrives in the ring dressed as George Washington and Uncle Sam.
With this much patriotic pandering on display, we're surprised he doesn't run for president.