Darin Ferarro played a referee in the recent film Creed II. This film stars Michael B. Johnson, Tessa Thompson, and Sylvester Stallone. Ferraro, who is in the midst of the two opponents, controls the power and hatred that goes on between the boxers in the ring.
ATM: Explain the competitive nature of the each of the men fighting.
DF: Drago is 6’7. He is ripped up and an amazing looking guy. He knows how to fight and throw a punch. It seemed like a four-shot combo and knocked the guy out. We had to send in a stretcher because his eyes rolled back after the hit. Adonis Creed is very defensive. If he loses, then he will come back stronger than ever to beat his opponent. He does not quit. He trained hard and dropped the weight he needs to fight his competitor. He does not quit.
ATM: Would you say love is a stronger element than family or is family stronger than love?
DF: This is a good question. He has a child with Tessa Thompson in the film. He has to win still, but he has to know to still come home to his son and wife. I would say a little bit of both. He is a fighter, so he is hard headed. He has to win but knows he has to come home to his family. It is the love to win, but also the love and love for his family.
ATM: What does home mean to him?
DF: Homes means to stay with his wife and Rocky Balboa. Also, to make his grandmother, child, and wife very proud of him. Home is where his heart is. He wants to come home to his family but does not want to lose against Ivan Drago’s son.
ATM: What does this film highlight about a person who risks everything with nothing to lose vs. someone who risks everything with everything to lose?
DF: There is a fear that sets in him. He will be ashamed to look at his family in the same way if he loses. He is the man in the family. He is the boyfriend in the family. Adonis feels he has to prove something. He has to prove he is not a mess up or a screw up. Adonis Creed comes from a place where he was never loved or nurtured. He came from a place where kids were together like juveniles. He started from juvenile detention, and all he did was fight.
All he did was box to defend himself. He had nothing to lose, but now he has a family, a son, girlfriend, and grandmother. Drago does not have anything to lose. He does not have a son or girlfriend. He is just there. Sometimes when you have more to lose you fight harder. If you lose, then you come back to do it again until you win. The drive of having a family and having more to lose will make him want to come back as the winner.
ATM: What does boxing truly mean to Creed? Does he see it more than a sport as we see it?
DF: He sees it as a boxing sport but like the show Contender. It was these guys who trained and fought hard. They would go against their opponents each week or month. It is not more of a show this time. Rocky 1-6 was more of a show. People thought it was not real fighting and was an act. This is more about different forms and ways of boxing. It is more of a structured fighting stance. It is taking boxing into more of like they just glide each other. It is more of a routine and persona. They are trying to make it more realistic. We thought this was how boxing was looking at Rocky. Creed shows this is how boxing is.
ATM: As the referee, what does this expose about their position in boxing?
DF: I was working one on one with the Russian character. He put up his hand in take 2. He thought I did an excellent job and was an actual ref. I have done referring in my days. He feels if the characters or the look is not there, then it is not realistic. A referee does make it make realistic and feasible. There are rules. It is not like in Thailand where there are no rules when it comes to kickboxing. You have the referee that says no it is over. He is knocked out. You cannot keep hitting. The referee comes into play a lot. Without the referee, these guys can get badly hurt or even killed.
ATM: How does it feel being in the midst of all the power, animosity, and hatred between the two opponents?
DF: I know exactly how it felt. They did not like each other, and it was very optimistic in what I saw. It can become brutal. You have to become focused and ready. They saw my stance and how I did it in Creed II. Also, how I performed as a referee because I had to be ready. If I saw any cheap shots, forearms, chin checks, then I had to watch all of this. This is the hatred they all had together each other.
ATM: How does American film depict boxing or MMA compared to the real sport?
DF: I loved Muhammad Ali and watching Rocky Marciano. I felt this was boxing. Today they are trying to bring this back into a more realistic form where you have this and that. There is the creative aspect to it. They are selling clothes, boxing gloves, and product. I have a boxing company here in Tampa that was one of the sponsors for Creed. I thought Rocky was more realistic, but it was not. They seem like they are trying to make it like MMA style and bring it back. Boxing was so big back in the day. It seemed like too many hands and investors got in the way of it. Boxing started to go down. They did not have great fighters and started to have unknown fighters. MMA is a brutal sport. People do not feel like watching. They beat people up and go about their day. Boxing is a show. You have gloves and trunks on. It is a show, and this is how it should stay.