Bayonne man spearheads effort to erect statue of NJ boxing legend that inspired ‘Rocky’

A fan of New Jersey boxing legend Chuck Wepner is spearheading an effort to have a statue of Wepner erected in a neighborhood park.

Wepner impressed the Oscar-winning movie “Rocky,” and is a private hero to New Jersey resident Bruce Dillin.

“Twenty-five years in the past, my spouse and I have been married in Las Vegas. Chuck and Linda got here to our wedding ceremony,” Dillin says.

Dillin’s tire store in Bayonne can be a mini museum devoted to Wepner – The Chuck Wepner Ready Room.

“We’ve all of the mementos,” Dillin says.

It’s a memorabilia-filled shrine to the boxer and lifelong Bayonne resident whose shockingly near victory 15-round triumphant loss to Muhammed Ali in 1975 impressed the movie “Rocky.”

“Within the unique film ‘Rocky,’ there was a child on the road nook and Rocky mentioned, ‘Hey, put the cigarette out. Go house and do your homework.’ Effectively I used to be the child on the nook and Chuck really did inform me to go house and do my homework,” Dillin says.

The Wepner Ready Room is simply the beginning of Dillin’s effort to honor his hero. Artist Wu Zhen has created a bronze statue of Wepner that Dillin hopes to have erected in a neighborhood Bayonne park.

However Dillin’s efforts are arising brief. The statue is full and is awaiting pickup at a foundry in southern New Jersey.

“So it’s there. It’s ready. I’ve it in hock proper now. I want $18,000 to get it out,” he says.

Dillon’s been decided to pay for the $80,000 statue privately with donations. Yet another spherical of fundraising, and he is assured the statue can be freed and the Actual Rocky can have a statue in his hometown identical to the fictional one has in Philadelphia.

Wepner is 82 years outdated and is battling most cancers. However he can nonetheless bust chops like a champ.

“Yet another occasion. That’s what [Dillin] informed me 4 occasions in the past. By my calculations, he’s raised about $17 million off of me,” Wepner jokes.

And what does Wepner consider the statue?

“Sadly the face seems to be identical to me. However what are you gonna do?” he says.

A fundraising effort for the statue was delayed by the pandemic, however Dillon says he’s hoping to have one thing to announce quickly to place them excessive.

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