A few decades before Christina Aguilera, Rocky had ambitions to be a fighter. But ambitions are nothing without the personal drive to put in all the work and succeed.
Rocky has to find motivation to equal his ambition, and being a fighter, he's motivated by getting knocked down. A fighter always gets back up, even stronger. All those mean things Rocky's dad said to him, and Mickey said to him, stuck with him, and made him want to be better.
Questions About Ambition
Why does Rocky decide to fight Apollo, the heavyweight champion?
What are Adrian and Paulie's goals?
Could Rocky be more ambitious by winning the match, instead of just going the distance?
Is Mickey still ambitious, or has he lost his gumption in old age?
Chew on This
Rocky has lost his ambition at the beginning of the film because his self-esteem has been beaten to a pulp.
Apollo is already the champ. He's already the strongest, so his ambition is to be a celebrity, so that he will have a career after his physical strength has declined.