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Michael B. Jordan Designed Every Creed 3 Fight To Highlight A Different Aspect Of Boxing

Boxing has long had a strong presence in film history, and a number of top-tier directors have taken a swing at the ring. From Scorsese's masterful "Raging Bull" to Ron Howard's ode to Great Depression-era boxing in "Cinderella Man," Michael Mann's "Ali," and Eastwood's tragic "Million Dollar Baby," interpreting the sport for the big screen's been a time-honored challenge for great filmmakers.

Michael B. Jordan is the newest talented filmmaker to take on the sport, making his directorial debut with the third and latest installment of the "Creed" series of "Rocky" franchise spin-offs. The third outing boasts some of the best and boldest fight sequences of the "Creed" entries so far, with a number of electric, innovative bouts, bringing new tricks to an old sport. 

In an exclusive interview with Looper's sister site Slashfilm, director Jordan explains how he and his collaborators worked to create choreography that highlights the sport's complexity. Far more than a mere show of brute force, it's a complex sport that showcases intelligence, strength, discipline, tactics, and more if a boxer wants to be a top fighter. Each fight in "Creed 3" works to paint a different aspect of a time-honored sport.

An homage to a complex sport

In the interview, Jordan explains that a major motivation in his approach to the fights of "Creed 3" was honoring boxing history. "Each fight" was intended "to feel slightly different in an homage to the boxing culture and the sport of boxing," with different fights showing boxing's different aspects. "I really wanted to get into the smarts and the intelligence of boxing in the first fight," he explains, showing Adonis "playing chess out there" and "laying traps."

The second fight, he explains, contrasts by being "a little bit more brutal, more intense," showcasing "different injuries that boxers could sustain" beyond the commonly seen ills. "The eye, we've seen the nose and all this stuff" before, he says, and "all the broken bones," so he wanted to show the dangers differently. The point in all these choices was to demonstrate "the brutality and the kind of violence that can come into it, especially through Dame's character." Finally, with the first fight highlighting boxing's intelligence and the second showing its potential viciousness, "the last fight was a mixture of both." 

"It's the most intimate fight," Jordan notes, "so it had to feel exciting, dynamic, and very emotional."  Here, he drew on "a real nod to my anime love" to "put in a lot of those nuggets, especially within those montage rounds of them revisiting the childhood trauma." The end result is a thorough ode to boxing and some of the best fights in the "Rocky" and "Creed" franchises.

"Creed 3" hits theaters March 3rd.