Adonis wanted to box his whole life. However, Apollo's wife Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad) didn't want that for him because his father died in the ring. He eventually signs up to fight Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellew). News soon gets out that Adonis is Apollo Creed's son. This causes Adonis to be nervous because not only is he worried about being known as a "fake Creed" but he's concerned he won't live up to the Creed name. However, Adonis puts up a good fight despite what media predicted. Although he doesn't win the fight, he does last through every round. This is viewed as an accomplishment for Adonis as Conlan is the undefeated champ. This mimics Rocky (1976) where Rocky didn't win the fight against Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) but he does last through every round.
Creed also has moments of going back to your roots. Adonis never got to know his father since he died before he was born. Fighting in the ring probably made him feel closer to his father. Although he didn't end up the champ his father would have been proud to follow in his footsteps. Getting to train with Rocky as his mentor also brought Adonis closer to his father seeing as Apollo and Rocky were friends. Mrs.Creed also sent Adonis his father's old boxing shorts for him to box in during the match.