Tag Archives: Muhammad Ali

chuck wepner

#HipNJ Speaks With Chuck Wepner (HipNJ Exclusive)

#HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino had the opportunity to speak with former heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner, who is known as the inspiration for the Rocky movies.

“I lived in Bayonne all my life, and I liked to play sports a lot,” the Jersey native says of his upbringing. Wepner got out of US Marine Corps in 1959 and joined Golden Gloves tournament in New York. He became a Golden Gloves heavyweight champion, a first for anyone from New Jersey. “The rest is history,” he states.

Wepner’s career took off quickly, as he went from training in a gym in Bayonne to travelling all over the world. He fought in England, Tokyo, Puerto Rico and more. “I didn’t try to dodge anybody,” he says on never turning down a fight.

In 1975, Wepner fought Muhammad Ali. “That was the only fight I ever trained for full-time,” he says. “I gave my best shot, but I just wasn’t good enough to beat Muhammad Ali.” The fight, which lasted fifteen rounds, changed his life forever. “After the fight, the world changed for me,” Wepner says. He went into the fight as an underdog, and came out of it as a respected heavyweight.

Shortly after, Wepner retired as the oldest guy in the heavyweight division. To this day, Wepner remains in good health. “There aren’t too many guys left from my era,” he says. Wepner, on the other hand, still goes to the gym. “I consider myself pretty lucky to be in the good condition that I’m in at this age.”

Over the years, Hollywood has taken an interest in Wepner’s story. He provided inspiration for Rocky, and ESPN aired a documentary titled “The Real Rocky” in 2011. “You have to keep yourself alive,” he states. He has done just that, as his fight with Ali is still a topic of conversation.

About a month before Rocky came out, Wepner received a call on which he was told that Sylvester Stallone had written a movie inspired by him. He was invited to see the film, which went on to win an Oscar for Best Picture.

Chuck is a new film featuring Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts and Elisabeth Moss that tells Wepner’s story. He was extremely involved in the production, from casting to going through scripts. The film is currently in limited release, but will soon go national.

Wepner has lived in Bayonne 77 out of his 78 years. “I like it here,” he says, noting the accessibility of both New York City and the shore. He currently works at Carlstadt-based Allied Beverage Group. “If you don’t move, you lose,” he says.

Muhammad Ali Starts Our Weekend Recap

Friday, June 3rd

As the life of the great Muhammad Ali is celebrated worldwide, New Jersey citizens remember his time spent here. The legendary sports figure owned a home in Cherry Hill in the early 1970s with his family. Built in 1965, the 6,688-square-foot residence includes five bedrooms, five baths, a pool and a tennis court.



Saturday, June 4th

Fans are still buzzing over Taylor Swift’s surprise appearance at couple Max Singer and Kenya Smith’s wedding in Brant Beach. The events unfolded as a result of Singer’s sister reaching out to Swift months ago explaining that their mother had passed in a hospital room after the couple tied the knot just so that she would see it. Swift performed a piano version of “Blank Space,” the same song that Singer danced to with his mother in the hospital room, and stayed after for some pictures and wedding fun.

The ninth annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic took place at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Attendees of the event were invited to view a game of polo while picnicking on the lawn. Celebrity appearances included Rose Byrne, Jaimie Alexander, Michael B. Jordan and Elizabeth Olsen.

The Once Upon A Time Official Convention came to Whippany at the Marriot Hanover as part of the convention’s inaugural series. The popular TV show tells the story of various fairytale characters who land in a fictional town in Maine and are stripped of their powers. High ratings prompted the show to hold this convention in order for its fans to immerse themselves in the “Once Upon A Time” universe and to interact with the shows stars.

The seventh annual New Jersey Renaissance Faire held its festivities for the second of three weekends in Bordentown Township. The theme of weekend 2: time travelling.

Thinking of becoming a Viking shield maiden ?

A photo posted by Wendy Ringel (@wendyringel) on

Sunday, June 5th

New Jersey had some awesome representation nationwide. Miss New Jersey, 24-year-old Jessielyn Palumbo from Wayne, strutted her stuff in Las Vegas at the Miss USA pageant. Akash Modi, a Stanford University gymnast and Morganville native is a contender for the approaching Summer Olympic Games after finishing fourth overall at the P&G National Championships in Hartford, CT.

The annual Hot 97 Summer Jam returned to Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford. Despite warnings of inclement weather that lead to early cancellations, the event went on with a delayed main stage show. Performers included A$AP Rocky, Bryson Tiller and Big Sean – crowd favorite and Snapchat superstar DJ Khaled was also in attendance. The show was topped off with a last-minute appearance by Kanye West.

The phrase doesn’t lie: New Jersey is stronger than the storm. Following Sunday’s inclement weather, Jersey Shore Hurricane News challenged its Instagram followers to share their best post-storm shots using the #jshn hashtag.