Jack Wepner

Jack Wepner – The Bayonne Bleeder

Wepner was known as The Bayonne Bleeder for his passionate dedication to fighting. Although not successful as a professional boxer, Wepner was an indefatigable underdog with a heart of gold who never stopped fighting!

Long after their prime has passed, many fighters in various weight classes remain active on the boxing scene out of love or the hope for one last payday.

Early Life and Education

As a child in Bayonne, New Jersey, Wepner learned how to fight on its tough streets. Later enlisted in the Marines where he discovered his passion for boxing – becoming known as “The Bayonne Bleeder” due to his ability to absorb repeated hits.

He began winning regional titles due to his perseverance in the ring, but his crowning moment came on March 24, 1975, when he took on Muhammad Ali and knocked him down.

Stallone’s victory inspired him to write a screenplay about an underdog fighter, setting the foundation for Rocky. Although Wepner later sued Stallone for exploiting his life for profit, both parties eventually reached an undisclosed settlement amount. Now, Wepner is being honored in both documentary form as well as with Liev Schreiber playing him in film form.

Professional Career

“The Bayonne Bleeder,” as Wepner was known, made his mark as a professional boxer during 1975 when he defeated 40-1 underdog Muhammad Ali with a powerful blow that sent shockwaves through New Jersey streets. That fight put Wepner on the map as one to watch.

He went on to lose again, but Wepner’s determination and resilience cemented his place as an icon. Wepner’s fight inspired Sylvester Stallone to pen the screenplay for Rocky – a movie which would become an Academy Award winner and become one of the greatest sports underdog stories ever told.

After his career ended in 1978, Wepner turned to liquor salesman. Living a lavish lifestyle until 1985 when he was arrested for cocaine possession and served two years in jail before filing suit against Sylvester Stallone for using his name and likeness without his consent.

Achievement and Honors

Wepner was one of the greatest fighters during the 1970s and earned himself the moniker “Bayonne Bleeder.” Known for knocking out Ali, Liston, and George Foreman – among many others.

Sylvester Stallone was inspired by Wepner when creating his Rocky series. Although this fictionalized account follows Wepner’s real life events, many scenes can be found throughout.

The movie featuring Liev Schrieber, Naomi Watts and Elisabeth Moss does an outstanding job in portraying Wepner’s most challenging times away from the ring; Wepner indulged in drugs, alcohol and casual sexual relationships.

In the movie, Wepner meets with Stallone to discuss a role in Rocky II and is impressed by him enough for Stallone to invite him for an audition; unfortunately Wepner shows up high and drunken so as to fumble his attempt – blowing it and dying of heart failure just one year later at age 42.

Personal Life

Wepner, known by his nickname of “The Bayonne Bleeder” due to his hometown and willingness to fight regardless of punishment imposed upon him, would likely have been forgotten without Sylvester Stallone’s iconic Rocky franchise. After losing 15 rounds to Muhammad Ali in March 1975 and becoming famous as “The Ultimate Sports Underdog”, Wepner inspired Stallone’s screenplay for an iconic sports underdog film about him.

Wepner never held world championship title but became widely revered because of his ability to overcome hardship and find success on the ring. After retiring with 36-14-2 record in 1976.

Liev Schreiber brought Wepner’s life story to the screen for audiences in 2011 film Chuck. Although it did not garner the same Oscar-worthy status as Stallone’s Rocky did, Chuck nonetheless earned critical acclaim and has earned its own place in pop culture history.

Net Worth

As The Bayonne Bleeder, Wepner inspired Sylvester Stallone’s billion-dollar cinematic franchise Rocky. Over his 51 fights he won 35 and only lost one.

He achieved fame for knocking down Muhammad Ali in 1975, an accomplishment only a handful of boxers can match. Additionally, Wepner dabbled in acting and appeared in multiple films. Following retirement, however, Wepner encountered legal battles and battles with substance abuse which eventually lead him into working at Majestic Wines and Spirits in New Jersey with Linda as liquor salespersons together – something many remember him fondly for despite these difficulties – working alongside her and remaining beloved within sports circles; being subjected by two biographical dramas including one with Liev Schreiber portraying Wepner as his character!

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