Ok, this is getting back to the real deal. Keep in mind this was over 30 years ago…but..for a while we had a sportscaster at Futurevision Cable TV. As I recall, it was Pat Scanlon, who went on to be a pretty famous sportscaster. But he’s not the celebrity this is about. Pat was able to land an interview with Chuck Wepner, the “Bayone Bleeder” just before Chuck fought Muhammad Ali in 1975. I got to meet Chuck Wepner in person. At the time, he was the largest human being I ever met…his forearms alone were the size of any normal person’s thighs. As I recall, he was very pleasant to talk to, however, a very menacing figure to behold…especially for a 5’6″/135 pound teenager.
For Chuck Wepner to fight Muhammad Ali the way he did certainly qualifies him to be a celebrity. But, I’ll give you insight that takes him one step further into immortality. Chuck Wepner was the inspiration for Sylvester Stalone’s Rocky movies. Yes. Chuck Wepner’s story became the story of Rocky Balboa, and inspired the movies Rocky I, II, III, IV, and V. All you have to do is Google Chuck’s name and you’ll come across many sites that will confirm that.
For me, it was a brief encounter, in this case primarily because I was scared. Chuck may remember going to the cable TV station, but I can only guess that thirty years later, he would never remember my name. It would be pretty funny, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he had a blog somewhere telling stories of all the kids he’s terrified.