He's been married to his wife, Linda, for 22 years, and he seems perfectly happy to be back in … Nationality: American He won the first title of his professional tenure on April 28, 1967, defeating Don McAteer with a fifth-round technical knockout. Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner fought each other in a boxing match on March 24, 1975 at the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield Township, Summit County, Ohio.. I thought he'd beat this (Parkinson's), too. By the end of his career, Wepner would rack up 31 wins (17 by knockout), 14 losses and two draws, according to the Hudson Reporter. His brother’s name is Don. Mainly it's Schreiber leading a plum cast in telling a heck of a story, an underbelly slice of American Dream that the late Jonathan Demme would appreciate. I had 71 stitches, a broken nose and broken cheekbone. He lost the match and the USA New Jersey State Heavyweight title to Scott Frank. He says Liston was supposed to throw his final fight — against Chuck “The Bayonne Bleeder” Wepner — but didn’t. The case was eventually dropped after they settled out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. BREAKING NEWS: Joe Gomez undergoes successful surgery to repair a tendon in his knee after suffering injury... 'I've never wanted to punch anyone more in my life! Chuck Wepner was the last man ever to knock down Muhammed Ali in the ring Wepner told his wife, that morning, to prepare to sleep with the world champ Despite putting Ali … We're going to be millionaires. That’s my lifestyle. Wepner retired after losing to Scott Frank in 1978 with a record of 35 wins, 14 losses, and two draws. Welcome back! Not for nothing was he nicknamed The Bayonne Bleeder. The man from Bayonne, New Jersey, feared that his world title chance had gone when Big George fell down and out in Africa, but King delivered the even bigger prize of Ali. The film also provides a nice set up for where Wepner is now: completely at peace with his Rocky legacy, living his life in New Jersey. In the final rounds, Ali took the lead and pummeled Wepner, leaving him with a broken nose and cuts above his eyes. The referee counted to seven before calling a technical knockout. Fans of Rocky, which was released just one year later, know how the fight ended: the underdog (Wepner) lasted longer than anybody thought, but lost in the end. As a youth, Chuck Wepner joined the Marines. It certainly sounds like Wepner's become enamored with the movie business. The venue on March 24, 1975, could hardly have been more distant or different from the ramshackle stadium in Zaire which had been the scene of probably the most famous fight in the annals of the prize-ring. The comments below have not been moderated. It was an honour to fight the guy. All rights reserved. Wepner joined the U.S. Marines, where he learned to put his love for fighting to use by joining the boxing team. He briefly served as a bouncer at a nightclub in New Jersey before taking up boxing seriously. Name: Charles Wepner Wepner has been retired from boxing for over 30 years and now works as a liquor salesman. The last fight took place at the Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1974. Boxing Wiki is a FANDOM Lifestyle Community. Wepner retired after losing to Scott Frank in 1978 with a record of 35 wins, 14 losses, and two draws. Nearly beating Ali also led Wepner to a cocaine habit that coupled with numerous infidelities ruined his life. For a time, Wepner was left out of Hollywood history, but that's about to be rectified in a major way with the new movie Chuck. And anybody who comes to see me fight doesn’t get gypped. Like Wepner's favorite movie, Chuck is a requiem for a heavyweight, a palooka with nothing left but pride. Moss' confrontation in a diner of Wepner's latest flirtation is the movie's best-written scene. He hung in there. His initiation to fighting occurred in a turbulent neighbourhood of Bayonne, New Jersey. n 1976, he fought professional wrestler Andre the Giant in an exhibition match, which he lost after Andre threw him out of the ring. "I realized there were going to be parts of the movie that might be a little embarrassing for me, but that's why they make motion pictures.". It aired on ESPN on October 25, 2011. “I like Champ,” he says. ', For Wepner, the memory lives on. The night before the fight, he told her: 'Even if I don't win, I want to prove that I belong in there.'. Stance: Orthodox, Fights: 51 He won a slew of boxing titles, including All American Champion, National Golden Gloves Champion, North American and National American Champion. Weight: Heavyweight A self-described brawler, he was active in the professional circuit from 1964 to 1978. ', To which Braverman replied: 'You'd better turn round. For years, Wepner's story was synonymous with Rocky. Ali gets himself tied up in the corners and on the ropes, and anybody who does that against me is going to get beat.”. Wepner has been retired from boxing for over 30 years and now works as a liquor salesman. In the upcoming film ‘American Brawler’, Zach McGowan has been cast to play him. He developed a deep love for various sports as a youth, particularly basketball, playing for the Police Athletic … I'm crushed. The fight became so brutal that Wepner’s eyes were swollen shut by the 10th round. “This was a tough town with a lot of people from the docks and the naval base, and you had to fight to survive,” he told the Hudson Reporter in 2007. Not that the challenger complained about the differential. “Six months I laid off, but I just missed the gym. From podcasts to singing, finding small joys in commuting Tampa Bay. Which makes the biopic Chuck more than just another boxing movie. He chuckles again as he recalls his reply to his wife's jest about spending that night with Ali: 'Come here, baby. Absorbing Wepner's most intimate blows is his wife, Phyllis (Elisabeth Moss), too fed up with her husband's flaws to just enjoy the ride. On September 26, 1978, Wepner appeared in what was to be his last professional bout. Plucked from obscurity to give Ali an easy title defense, Wepner's refusal to quit inspired Stallone to write an iconic movie. Ali got up and went on to win the match in the last round with only seconds to spare. James Brown sang the national anthem. The character of Rocky Balboa, with his scrappy story, was loosely based on Wepner’s career and legendary fights. In fact, he's hoping to get in front of the camera sometime soon, perhaps with the help of his old friend Stallone. At one point, he was ranked the No. "If Sylvester Stallone wants me for a movie, he knows where to find me," Wepner said, via The New York Post. 'A crowd of 14,847 drove out to the 20,000-seat arena. Wepner was smiling, also, because he knew he had found his niche in boxing history towards the end of a run-of-the-mill career which would amount to 36 wins, 14 defeats, two draws — and no titles of any consequence. Height: 6'5 Chuck Wepner had told his wife to prepare for him to defeat the legendary Muhammad Ali, Mouths were left agape as a haggered looking Wepner sent the champion down to the canvas. Facebook Chuck, a ’60s-set biopic starring Liev Schreiber as the famed heavyweight boxer, recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and hits theaters on May 12. He was the New Jersey state heavyweight boxing champion, but after losing fights to Georg… He proved it to Sylvester Stallone. The Greatest hit the deck. He had his only trilogy of fights against fellow American boxer Randy Neumann. Pro-wresling vs. boxing! Bayonne is a small town. Bettman/Getty; Revolution/MGM/Columbia/REX/Shutterstock. That was the fourth and last time Ali hit the canvas. Wepner admits that after that fight, he considered calling it quits. Being the real Rocky didn't earn Wepner a dime, only loaned him extra spotlight time. Born on February 26, 1939, in New York City, Chuck Wepner is one of the two sons of Dolores (née Hrynko) and Charles William Wepner. The authorities offered to lessen his sentence if he were to reveal the name of his supplier, but he refused to take the deal. They met on March 24, 1975 at Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio. Liev Schreiber plays the title character in the film that traces the end of the boxer's career in the ring as well as his fraught relationship to the film he allegedly inspired, Rocky. Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images. “Most people just call me Champ — because I am one.”. Now, at 78, Wepner is reclaiming his own story in Chuck. You probably know Wepner better as Rocky Balboa. It also exposed him to boxing. “It’s gone down as one of the classics because I was the first guy to have Ali down,” Wepner says today. It was a war.”. Just four years ago, his own life story hit the big screen in a movie entitled Chuck, released in the UK as The Bleeder, with Naomi Watts wearing the blue negligee. Sylvester Stallone, back then a struggling actor, wrote the screenplay for ‘Rocky’ after watching Wepner’s fight with Ali. So is he the real Rocky or the Bayonne Bleeder? He developed a deep love for various sports as a youth, particularly basketball, playing for the Police Athletic League. You're gonna be sleeping with the heavyweight champion of the world.'. Foreman, who had just begun his career, crushed Wepner in the third round, winning via technical knockout. Take your favorite fandoms with you and never miss a beat. Wepner turned professional in 1964 and became a popular fighter on the Northeast’s Club Boxing circuit, earning the nickname “The Bayonne Bleeder” for his ability to withstand nonstop punches. Now 81 and living in Bayonne with his third wife, he still hands out those business cards with a photograph of the Ali knockdown on the back. He is of mixed German, Ukrainian, and Belarusian descent. We are no longer accepting comments on this article.
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