By concentrating on character development with this first of several sequels to his Oscar-winning smash Rocky (1976), writer/director Sylvester Stallone earned critical praise that would desert him with the boxing saga's shallower subsequent chapters. Stallone returns as Rocky Balboa, a Philadelphia prize fighter enjoying his brief fame after nearly defeating world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Offered lucrative product endorsement opportunities, Rocky's limited education and lack of sophistication quickly become an impediment to his future success, causing him embarrassment and his pregnant wife Adrian (Talia Shire) a great deal of financial concern. Meanwhile, Creed is brooding over his near-loss to a fighter he considers an amateur far beneath him and decides to goad a reluctant Rocky into a high-profile rematch. With the family resources dwindling and his pride wounded, Rocky decides that fighting is all he knows and makes the fateful decision to climb back into the ring once more with Creed, despite assurances from all concerned that he will damage himself irreparably. Although their first meeting was simply an exhibition fight, the second Balboa-Creed face-off is an officially sanctioned battle for Creed's championship belt.