Comparisons between Creed are inevitable and don’t do Southpaw any favors. Like Coogler’s film, Southpaw is dominated by the performances of its two leads. Jake Gyllenhaal is his usual excellent as boxing champion Billy Hope. His counterpart Forest Whitaker delivers a similarly strong performance as Hope’s trainer Titus Wills. While Creed focuses on a young boxer on the rise as well as a retired champion, Southpaw’s story begins with Hope at his peak. That’s a less well-tread path to take in this genre but this story is by no means innovative. The film follows standard boxing genre tropes and succeeds in spite of its story and not because of it. Credit for the success goes entirely to its two leads (plus the fight scene cinematographers who don’t innovate but do excite). Swap in almost any other actors in those roles and this film would fall completely flat.