Chuck Wepner, the “Bayonne Bleeder,” to get statue in Bayonne
A rendering of a life-size, bronze statue of famous boxer Chuck Wepner was unveiled at the Bayonne Police Athletic League’s annual Hall of Fame dinner.
The rendering of the statue, which is being planned for a staircase located in the Stephen R. Gregg-Bayonne County Park in Bayonne, depicts Wepner looking into the distance with a meditative scowl.
Rocky, played by Sylvester Stallone, famously trained on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum, a take off on Wepner’s training regimen on the steps of Stephen R. Gregg Park.
Bruce Dillin, a Bayonne businessman and Wepner’s lifelong friend, announced to a packed banquet hall at the Knights of Columbus on Avenue C that plans are moving forward with the statue.
“As we speak, a world-class sculptor is making the bust, and we’re making it out of bronze because no matter how many times you hit him in the head, it ain’t going to bleed,” he said.
Plans for the statue of Wepner, who is 76, were announced four years ago, when The Jersey Journal reported that Dillin and his friends were launching a fundraising campaign for the project.
Wepner fought Muhammad Ali on March 24, 1975, going 15 rounds with Ali and knocking him down at one point, although some people contend the knockdown was probably helped by Wepner’s foot being on top of Ali’s.
For now we will have to content ourselves with the Wepner mural painted on a Broadway building here in Bayonne!