Apollo Creed was a fictional character from the Rocky films. He was played by Carl Weathers. He is a tough but agile boxer, who is, as the series begins, the undisputed heavyweight world champion. The character was inspired by the real-life champion Muhammad Ali, having what one author remarked as the same "brash, vocal, [and] theatrical" personality. Sylvester Stallone debates this, stating, "[Jack] Johnson served as the inspiration for the character of Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies." The character is loosely based on a combination of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Louis, and Jack Johnson. Protagonist Rocky Balboa, Creed's rival in Rocky and Rocky II, faces underdog odds and views Creed with respect, pointedly refusing the prodding of a reporter to "trash talk" against Creed by laconically remarking, "He's great."