Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chuck Wepner to be honored with Bayonne, N.J. mural (PHOTO)

Artists have begun their work on a mural of former heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner, the pride of New Jersey and original inspiration for the first "Rocky" film.

The painting of the fighter better known as The Bayonne Bleeder, which is being organized by the Bayonne Community Development Office, is headed by artists Nicholas Macchia and Nestor Uraga, who have previously worked on another park mural in Wepner's hometown.

The mural is based on a photo of a gloved and ready Chuck Wepner, wearing his championship belt, and giving the same pre-fight stare he gave 51 opponents in his hardscrabble journeyman career.

The mural will first be done on parachute fabric with spray paint and acrylic paint, according to the artists. When completed, it will be hung up on a wall outside of a cafe at 33rd Street and Broadway, reported

Community Development Office Assistant Director Samantha Howard said in a statement that the mural will be a dedication to Wepner's life and accomplishments as a "local hero."

Wepner fought Muhammad Ali on March 24, 1975, going 15 rounds with the champ 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.

A gassed Wepner would later lose to Ali at 2:41 in the final round — a fight which was to become his legacy.

"The mural...will be completed by March 24th, marking four decades since he stepped into the ring with the greatest boxer of all time," said Howard.

They're gonna need a lot red paint for the blood... and the heart.

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