Those big, gaudy championship belts people win for boxing, wrestling, fantasy football, and waffle eating aren't about the fashion statement… which is good because unless you're Liberace (champion waffle eater), those belts would clash with every outfit.
These belts are about the reputation. They demand respect. (Well, they label the person wearing them as a person who says, "I demand respect!") In Rocky, Rocky doesn't need the belt, because he doesn't care if others respect him. He wants to respect himself, and if he can go the distance with Apollo, he'll earn his own respect.
Questions About Respect and Reputation
Does Rocky respect himself? How does he boost his self-esteem?
Why does Mickey think Rocky is a "tomato"?
Why does Adrian respect Rocky, even when no one else does?
How will the final fight affect Rocky's reputation? And Apollo's?
Chew on This
Every fighter has a weak spot. Apollo Creed's is his ribs. Rocky's is his reputation. A jab to his ego is the quickest way to knock him down.
Rocky is a story of growth for Adrian too. Rocky, who owns two turtles, really helps her come out of her shell. #sorrynotsorry.