Chuck Wepner

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by mr. magoo, Nov 7, 2007.


  1. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Fair enough,

    and I'm sorry if I seemed a bit snippy myself.
     
  2. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Can you think of any 30s fighters who might have done better in the 70s than their own era?

    Il wager there are a few.
     
  3. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Heavyweights? None.
     
  4. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I think we can do better than that.
     
  5. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Well, you brought it up, therefore be my guest.
     
  6. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Lets say that I turned up at every major gym 1930s.

    I said to the fighters there-

    "I can take you to another era and you can see if you have better luck there"

    "What is this era like?"

    They ask.

    My reply is-

    "There are three truly exceptional heavyweights in this era. It would not be a stretch to compare tem to Jack Dempsey or that young Detroit slugger named Barrows that everybody is getting excited about. There are also a number of good contenders.

    On the plus side you will receive enough money from the date of your debut that you will not need your 60 hour shift on the docks to suplement your income. Yes even you blacks.

    You will be carefully guided from your profesional dubut and only matched against opponents that it is well within your ability to beat untill you are ready to challenge for the title. Indeed you will be able to break the top ten rankings and perhaps even challenge for the title without ever needing to meet a ranked oponent

    Oh and there are virtualy no genuinely brilliant defensive fighters so dont worry if you strugle with that particular style".

    Most of them would bite my hand off. Indeed if you do not see how some of them would do better in the 70s you lack imagination.
     
  7. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    And I think you have a bit too much.

    You are also bold to promise fighters a title shot in the 70's without beating any ranked opponents or to suggest that they would be easily guided there. These men would likely develop expectations that would not come to pass, hence leading them to a sad ending.
     
  8. C. M. Clay II

    C. M. Clay II Manassah's finest! Full Member

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    Name some names, then.
     
  9. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Jersey Joe Walcott.

    He would have been a top contender by his early to mid 20s (as he was in the 30s) and if it all whent arse over tits he would just win the title in his late 30s when the top contenders were too old as he did in his own era.

    Elmer Ray

    He would have fought for the title no question. Again probably early in his career at an age he was in the late 30s.

    Jimmy Braddock

    When his hands broke he would just have taken six months off for them to heal and continued to drink champagne. He would never have been broken down to journeyman level as he was in his own era.
     
  10. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Mate if Wepner could get a title shot these guys would have no trouble with a little imagination.

    I think that anybody who fought for the title in the 30s would have had their chance in the 70s and a few who didnt.
     
  11. ChrisPontius

    ChrisPontius March 8th, 1971 Full Member

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    Wepner didn't earn his title shot though.

    He was one of the 10.000 journeymen around that was gifted it.
     
  12. Bummy Davis

    Bummy Davis Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Right, like Dunn, Evangelista,Spinks
     
  13. Duodenum

    Duodenum Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Sincerely, Chuck ultimately vindicated his title shot by stepping up to perform as well as he did against a still dangerous GOAT, who had just kayoed the most physically powerful boxing champion of all time. He certainly did far better than Daniels, Stander, LeDoux, Cobb and Cooney did in their championship bids. (No, Chuck didn't quite go the distance as Tex did with Holmes, but Tony Perez almost certainly would have stopped Holmes/Cobb. Unlike Tex, Wepner managed to win some rounds in his title shot.)

    Going in, the big lure for many kids was the fact that Wepner was the largest contender of his day, but prognosticators were predicting that the Bayonne Bleeder would wind up like Henry Cooper did twice, and like Chuck himself did against Liston. While there was never any question about who would be the winner, it was impressive that Ali was able to drop him for the count as late as he did. (Wepner was down for 12 seconds before struggling up to his feet on his own. Tony Perez waved off his count at seven, but if he continued it, he would have counted Chuck out.) Foreman and Liston failed to drop Wepner with headshots, something Muhammad wouldn't have done either without Perez's call of that earlier knockdown for Chuck.

    Don King in fact offered Wepner a rematch with Foreman for the title, after Chuck knocked out 37-3-2 Terry Heinke in 11 rounds, before Ali upset Big George, in anticipation of a failed challenge by Muhammad.

    I don't recall any protests against Wepner getting his shot. Chuck was well liked as a gutsy performer, and a genuine regular guy who average fans could relate to. A white liquor salesman against a tee-totaling Muslim? Of course such a pairing would be promotable. It was also the requisite easy payday the public accepts of newly crowned champions.

    Wepner was a proven 12 round performer (albeit in the two minute rounds of NJ Title bouts).

    Wepner was the only white American heavyweight to challenge for the championship between Ron Stander and Scott LeDoux. In a country where the majority of the population is Caucasian, this was highly desirable for Don King to promote (dollar green being the only color he cares about), and Ali immediately capitalized by declaring Wepner a "Great White Hope" (failing to conceal the smile on his face as he said it). Chuck tried to generate some promotional heat by calling Ali "Clay," but then he kept calling Muhammad a "gentleman" and "Champ" to his face. All the pretenses of animosity were flagrantly good natured, and tongue in cheek, but the public was more amused than disappointed by the interplay between the two. (Even today, when they encounter each other, Ali playfully stomps on Wepner's foot.)

    Looking back, Wepner was as suitable as any Caucasian-American contender could have been at the time. Ali had Jerry Quarry's number. Bobick wasn't ready yet (and never would be). Yes, Chuck may have gotten a gift decision against Terrell, but he was also screwed out of one against King Roman in PR. He'd been plugging away for eleven years, had only lost to competent opponents, and avenged two of his nine losses (to Tomasetti and Neuman) in decisive fashion.

    Finally, he produced the most credible performance of any unsuccessful challenger for the title since Ali himself in the FOTC. Because of him, the fans in Cleveland got their money's worth, and that's more than many other championship opponents can say.
     
  14. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    So darling. Is Ali coming to our room or are we coming to his?
     
  15. Duodenum

    Duodenum Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    If Ali comes to Wepner's room, sell me a ticket. (Maybe he'll break Chuck's foot with his walker, or run over it with his wheelchair.)
     


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