Inspirational and Motivational Speaking Engagements, Autographs,
A Heavyweight Boxing Legend:
Chuck "The Real Rocky" Wepner
"Dare' ain't no affirmative action for any boxer, unless he creates his own" - Chuck Wepner
"This guy Wepner was and I think today as well -- FEARLESS! I guess that says it all", Dr.Glenn Van Warrebey, author/boxing expert
Chuck Wepner (R) goes 15
with the legendary World Champion, Muhammad Ali (1975)
When a young, impressionable and unknown Philadelphia
-- Sylvester Stallone -- saw the Wepner/Ali fight he was instantly
to write the blockbuster movie screenplay, Rocky. It became one of
the 20th Century's greatest box office hits. Like piston-fists of
Hollywood blasted out Rocky I, Rocky 2, Rocky 3, Rocky 4, Rocky
Indeed the world-famous Rocky Balboa character was, in reality, based
our own Chuck Wepner.
Wepner (who's exciting, revealing and memorable life story is the subject of a new inspiring biography in progress) recently recalls in early January, 2000, "Sly (Stallone) called me about two weeks after the Ali fight and told me he was gonna make da' movie. When da' first Rocky movie was released I was happy. Years later, I met Stallone and upon meeting me he spontaneously cheered, 'Hay, Chuck thanks!'...I guess for da' inspiration."
Good Buddies: The Real
with movie legends Sylvester Stallone
and Robert DeNiro -- on location recently filming Copland, near Bayonne, NJ
The Godfather Of Boxing Nostalgia:
"His whole life was a million-to-one shot." - Mickey the trainer (Burgess Meredith), from Rocky I, the movie
However, for the once dubbed "Bayonne Bleeder" this historic fight seemed to have eclipsed an otherwise distinctive boxing career. Some of the other Heavyweight Champions of the World the Real Rocky fought were Sonny Liston and George Forman (In Foreman's fifth pro fight, Wepner knocked him down in the 2nd round, but the fight got stopped in the 5th round because of eye cuts incurred by the Real Rocky). He sparred with Joe Fraiser for over seventy (70) rounds, when "Smokin' Joe" was training for his title defense with Tony Alongi. Wepner also thrashed and won against Ernie Terrell, a former WBC heavyweight champion of the world.
The Real Rocky has also won distinctive honors over the years. Besides being a former National Golden Gloves and N.A.B.A. heavyweight champion, Wepner has made exciting and entertaining lectures and talks to many of the major civic, police and political organizations and schools and universities. He has done countless national and international TV, radio, magazine and newspaper interviews, as well as "roasts" and motivational speaking engagements. Wepner is also an internationally-known expert on boxing and lively ringside boxing commentator.
Chuck Wepner on the front cover of Sports Illustrated magazine
Wepner tells real stories and gives hilarious anecdotes you wouldn't believe! He's got an infectious sense of humor, "The day of the Ali fight I bought my wife a powder-blue negligee and told her ' wear this tonight cause you'll be sleepin' with 'da heavyweight champion of the world.' That night after the bloody fight his wife humorously busted balls, 'Do I go to his room, or will he be commin'' to mine now?!"
Today, still with the smell of sweat-leather in his nostrils, the big-hearted Champ -- with his raw East Jersey accent vividly recalls a riveting boxing bloodbath he had with former World Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston (who Ali finally beat to win the Crown), "At the end of the 9th round they (the referee, he was probably seeing double) asked how many fingers they had up? I couldn't see. I was completely blind! My manager tapped me on the back three times and I said 'three'. So the referee said 'O.K. I guess you can see. I'll let you go for the 10th round'. But all I could see was shadows."
The Deeper Side of This Champion of The Human Spirit:
"Ya got'a go 'da distance" - Chuck Wepner
The Challenger's riveting and inspirational biography-in-progress, Toe To Toe With Any Foe begins in early teenagehood on the raspy gray streets of Bayonne, New Jersey -- in the early 1950's. Its Rocky. We explore and taste the rough and tumble spirit of the times. We watch ringside, like in a DeNiro classic -- as he savagely punches toward his entry onto the World's Stage and the Ali fight. Its not the movie version of the black and blue, stitched up "Rocky". Its sometimes worse, its sometimes much better.
"Desire, confidence, perseverance and just stick-to-it-ness. I was always to stubborn to give up the fight....Yea, and forget 'da 'yo' shit...I got no more time for pain!" And then, "Dare' ain't no social justice. Dare' ain't no affirmative action for any boxer, unless he creates his own."
We get "real", never before told/published inside encounters with and bloody raw glimpses of many of the all time greats of boxing he met throughout the decades. Its the real Rocky -- the riveting punches, booze, drugs absorbed. The ravishingly beautiful and exciting women...Playboy bunnies, models, top-shelf call girls. No learning disabilities here. The bright lights, the beating sounds, the fragrances -- the huge king sized revolving bed/jacuzzi atop a well known Las Vegas casino penthouse. The glitz and the glory.
Prison, self made: sobering foughts. "Got'a' get 'em now, or else you're dead asshole!" (the usual stuff) The emotional roller-coaster of high ups and deep downs -- spell binding human contrasts that twists the heart, finally forever frozen, locked-in a downward spin.
However, a lifelong learner/optimist and loving/giving soul -- a fighter to the end -- this champ will become a sort of a passionate group therapist, only for a much larger audience.
The Challenger Had A Fundamental Internal
the pump for the jump
One more baby Christening
the Champ and his wife Linda as Guests of Honor.
After finally going to prison for drug possession in 1986, Wepner had a fundamental change of heart, a fundamental internal transformation.
. Wepner had kicked the bad habits, the unhealthy life and the sometimes bad associations. He was determined and FEARLESS AGAIN ! It was a monumental transition for him. In the end, he became a crusader for the irrepressible human spirit.
"Ya got'a' go 'da distance," he bellows out emotionally, with his own brand of sensitivity and strength. Powerful and very real images of Rocky emerge spontaneously and vividly.
We all have our weaknesses, our blind spots, intimidations, devastating hits taken; OUR PERSONAL CHALLENGERS. Wepner gives a extremely timely, valuable, educational and entertaining guide to how to go toe to toe with any foe. It doesn't matter if its growing up the hard way, sickness, addiction, emotional lows, aggressive/hostile people, never ending stop signs and debt, death -- or whatever challenger(s) a human being, or you may have to fight.
Recently speaking in Atlantic City, NJ the inspirational challenger from Bayonne explains further, meaningfully, "If you want to go toe to toe with any foe, you got'a be fearless. That's what I did in the old days and its what's happening now. It doesn't matter if your personal challenger is a mugger, chronic illness, or a ruthless business competitor."
For the real Rocky, like so many of the great champions, what's critical is just how he tapped and harnessed the irrepressible human spirit and went the distance.
Chuck Wepner with his wife
in Bayonne NJ today.
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