what happened to chuck wepner


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Is Ali coming to my room or am I going to his?' You probably know Wepner better as Rocky Balboa.

Charles “Chuck” Wepner (1939-) is a retired professional boxer and a heavyweight most famous for allegedly inspiring movie "Rocky". 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. 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. His brother’s name is Don.

“I said, ‘You know what, maybe this is the end of the road for me,’ ” he explains. However, in round nine, Wepner knocked him down, which, according to Ali, happened because of a well-placed punch and because Wepner was stepping on his foot.

After finishing school, he decided to enlist in the US Marine Corps and it was there that Chuck Wepner the boxer was born. “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.”. Chuck is a character study of fleeting fame in prolonged decline, anchored by Liev Schreiber's brutish charisma in the title role. He's been married to his wife, Linda, for 22 years, and he seems perfectly happy to be back in the spotlight with his new film. He chuckles again as he recalls his reply to his wife's jest about spending that night with Ali: 'Come here, baby. Coyote Ugly Turns 20: Where Is the Cast Now?

A huge $1.5 million lined the pockets of Ali for the fight, while  $100,000 was given to Wepner, Ali dropped Wepner in the 15th and last round, with the ref stopping it with 19 seconds to go, Something else Wepner said to his wife helped open the door to movies and wider fame than his boxing. He made his professional debut in 1964 against George Cooper, winning the match by a third-round knockout. We're going to be millionaires. The character of Rocky Balboa — and his scrappy story — was loosely based on Wepner’s career and legendary fights. Cleveland business tycoon Carl Lombardo put up most of the money — $1.5 million for Ali, $100,000 for Wepner. Chuck Wepner, a battling, bruising club fighter who had never made the big time, was having his shot. When Ali died four years ago, aged 74, Wepner said: 'He was not only The Greatest in the ring but a great man and we became great friends. I thought he'd beat this (Parkinson's), too. Wins: 35 Foreman, who had just begun his career, crushed Wepner in the third round, winning via technical knockout. He lost the match and the USA New Jersey State Heavyweight title to Scott Frank. The Greatest hit the deck.

But to this day it is remembered mostly for the night Don King brought The Greatest to his home state. The pride of Bayonne, N.J., could really take a punch as he proved time after hemorrhaging time. Introducing ... PEOPLE's Products Worth the Hype. It had been opened by Frank Sinatra and played host to virtually every pop, rock and country superstar until Roger Daltrey brought down the curtain 20 years later. Chuck Wepner, AKA the Bayonne Bleeder, went almost 15 full rounds against the People’s Champion, even knocking him … 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.

Now, the majority, as well as my own opinion, think this fight was a fix/work/typcial pro-wresling and all scripted. 'A crowd of 14,847 drove out to the 20,000-seat arena. Andre meanders around the ring while blocking puches from Wepner. Ali gets himself tied up in the corners and on the ropes, and anybody who does that against me is going to get beat.”. In the ninth round, something amazing happened, Muhammad Ali … No contests: 0. Then, in the ninth, the unthinkable happened. “I feel I’m catching a guy going downhill. Chuck Wepner, the inspiration for the "Rocky" film series, will finally get his movie-star moment. Yet the unthinkable happened. Wepner has been retired from boxing for over 30 years and now works as a liquor salesman. Follow @StevePersall.

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Courtesy of the Philadelphia Film Society.

He also fought the likes of José Roman, George Foreman, Randy Neumann, and Ernie Terrell. Wepner grew up in the violent streets of Bayonne, New Jersey, where he learned to fight to defend himself.

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. From podcasts to singing, finding small joys in commuting Tampa Bay.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article. Born in 1939, Wepner learned to fight on the streets of his hometown in Bayonne, New Jersey. Ali said later he respected me for that. He says Liston was supposed to throw his final fight — against Chuck “The Bayonne Bleeder” Wepner — but didn’t.

A couple of supporting actors are only asked for capable impersonations: Pooch Hall as Ali and Morgan Spector as Stallone, to whom Wepner reaches out, not for money necessarily but validation.

Wepner admits that after that fight, he considered calling it quits. The referee counted to seven before calling a technical knockout. The Coliseum, erected the year before on farmland outside the village of Richfield, Ohio, stood beside a multiple highway junction on the road to Cleveland. I'm crushed. Which makes the biopic Chuck more than just another boxing movie. And while many assumed it would be an easy win for Ali, Wepner proved to be a worthy opponent.

Using his renowned roughhouse tactics 'The Bayonne Bleeder' put Ali on the back foot. Ali knocked him down with 19 seconds left in the 15th round.

“Most people just call me Champ — because I am one.”.

Naomi Watts' sassy bartender grows on Wepner and us.

8 among world heavyweight boxers.

The fight served as the inspiration for Rocky Balboa’s charity match against Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan) in the film ‘Rocky III’. Height: 6'5 However, he later stated that the inspiration for the titular character of the film was legendary Rocky Marciano and not Wepner. In 1975, he faced world champion Muhammad Ali for the WBA and WBC Heavyweight titles and lasted until the very last round before being knocked out. “It’s gone down as one of the classics because I was the first guy to have Ali down,” Wepner says today. He is of mixed German, Ukrainian, and Belarusian descent. After watching the film, Wepner says he knew his life was about to change.

Wepner won't remain a big shot while every reason for being one slips away. He's getting up and he looks p***** off.' 'I was the only guy to knock him down when he was champion of the world.'. On September 28, 1968, he knocked his opponent Forest Ward down three consecutive times to trigger automatic stoppage. Wepner joined the U.S. Marines, where he learned to put his love for fighting to use by joining the boxing team.

“You have to fight every tough guy in the world to win that.”. However, Muhammed Ali then beat Foreman so Wepner got the match with him instead, knocking him to the ground before eventually losing 19 seconds before the final bell. They met for the second time four months later, on April 15, 1972, and Wepner won the title back.

As a youth, Chuck Wepner joined the Marines.

“I went 10 rounds with him,” he says. He was part of the boxing team at his base and even won a military championship. Chatting with PEOPLE in 1975, Wepner was pumped up about his chances of victory. Over the years, he has made sporadic ringside appearances at boxing cards in New Jersey to interact with fans, pose for pictures, and sign autographs.

The film Chuck — which also stars Naomi Watts, Ron Perlman and Jim Gaffigan — follows the legendary boxer’s famed career and personal struggles, including a conviction for drug sales and the subsequent prison time he served.

Charles “Chuck” Wepner (1939-) is a retired professional boxer and a heavyweight most famous for allegedly inspiring movie "Rocky".

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In the subsequent matches, he fought all over the US, defeating the likes of Rudy Pavesi, Jerry Tomasetti, and Ray Patterson as well as suffering back-to-back losses against Bob Stallings and Buster Mathis. I come to fight, and I give them their money’s worth.”. In an interview later on, he called his home city a “tough town”, stating that there were a lot of people from the docks and naval base, and one had to learn to fight to survive. A self-described brawler, he was active in the professional circuit from 1964 to 1978. Facebook The latter sued Stallone. "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.". Credit:

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. “I wanted this movie to be truthful,” he tells PEOPLE. If you would like to opt out of browser push notifications, please refer to the following instructions specific to your device and browser: Meet The Real Rocky: How Boxer Chuck Wepner's Knockout Life Inspired Sylvester Stallone's Ringside Saga. It was a war.”. Besides the ‘Rocky’ franchise, Wepner’s life has also been the subject of the 2016 biographical sports drama ‘Chuck’, with Liev Schreiber portraying the titular character. Even though King entitled the event Give The White Guy A Break, Wepner refused, saying: 'I didn't see it as a racist fight and I wouldn't make it a racist fight.

I like nice clothes and big cars and I like to live well.

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