Floodlights streaking the sky, smoke billowing outside its front door and a Marachi band playing traditional Mexican music, signaled the Grand Opening of Bayonne’s beautiful new restaurant, and 2nd El Aquila Dorada location.
On hand for the ribbon cutting was El Aquila owners Isreal and his wife Irma, their family and friends also attending, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis and Bayonne Council members; Sharon Ashe Nadrowski, Juan Perez, and Gary LaPelusa. Bayonne Chamber President Tom Coughlin, Annette Rubin and Jack Kennedy.
Bayonne boxing legend Chuck Wepner and wife Linda also attended the Grand Opening.
El Aquila Dorada was packed with friends and customers.
I am certain that audiences all over the world are going to fall in love with the movie CHUCK starring Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner and Naomi Watts as Chuck’s wife Linda.
This movie is a tough, gritty, “other side of the tracks,” love story.
It combines boxing with romance, personal pain and triumph.
It’s also about, loss, human error, redemption and pride.
CHUCK lets you see Wepner with his goodness (Never knew he wrote poetry), and his human frailty, his run in with the law, his partying, his coming to grips with the man he should become.
Schreiber in his performance also makes you really like Chuck Wepner and what’s not to like, in real life Chuck Wepner is a likeable guy.
I first met him right after he fought Muhammad Ali in the mid- seventies and have run into him on many occasions through the years, he always offers a big smile and a hello to everyone he meets.
So that is why at the Premiere of CHUCK at Bayonne’s Frank Theater on Friday, May 12th family, friends and fans of Chuck Wepner joined together in his honor, and were proud of Bayonne’s favorite son.
Chest busting proud, wide smiles proud, back slapping proud.
Bayonne loves Chuck Wepner and perhaps after you watch the movie CHUCK you will too, and feel proud that Chuck Wepner got the shot to fight Muhammad Ali and the recognition he deserved for being the inspiration for the movie Rocky.
In reality, CHUCK the movie is letting the world know “Chuck Wepner is the real Rocky.” The Everyman who beats the odds.
And that is a cause we all can get behind.
Here are some photos by Steve Mack from May 12th Premiere event of the movie Chuck in Bayonne
To see more photos and read more about the movie Chuck go to:
Bayonne Boxing Champ Chuck Wepner – the real Rocky Balboa – Star of ESPN Documentary
By Sally Deering
At 72, Chuck Wepner of Bayonne stands 6’5”, weighs 250 lbs, has biceps like ropes of steel, and looks like he can still go a few rounds in the ring – even though it’s been 36 years since his match with Muhammad Ali for the World Heavyweight title.
In 1975, Wepner boxed 15 rounds with Ali and lost with a broken nose, cuts over his eyes and a bruised ego. But what the Bayonne boxer didn’t know was that an unknown named Sylvester Stallone was watching the fight on his TV set and three days later would write “Rocky” based on underdog Wepner. The film became a major hit in 1976 winning three Academy Awards and earning Stallone fame and fortune. Yo! Let’s not forget the sequels, too.
On Tues, Oct 25 at 8 p.m., “The Real Rocky” a documentary about Wepner’s life as a championship boxer and the story behind his bout with Ali airs on ESPN. (It also airs Wed, Oct 26 at 11 p.m. and Sat, Nov. 26 at 7:30 a.m. on ESPN2.) And a film based on Wepner’s amazing story is in pre-production and will star Liev Schreiber as Wepner.
The one-hour documentary is directed by Jeff Feuerzeig, an award-winning director whose feature film “The Devil and Daniel Johnston” won top documentary directing honors at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. On ESPN.go.com, Feuerzeig, who grew up in New Jersey, explained his inspiration for making the Wepner documentary.
“ I’ve been a Chuck Wepner fan ever since 1975, when I was 10 years old and my father took my brother and me to Sports Night at the Raritan High School gymnasium in Hazlet to see Chuck, aka ‘The Bayonne Bleeder,’ just months before he was set to go up against Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight title,” Feuerzeig told ESPN. “There were no figures who loomed larger in this 10 year-old’s imagination than Evel Knievel, Andre the Giant and, especially, Muhammad Ali – “The Greatest” – and here was a 6-foot-5 behemoth (Wepner) in a full-length fur coat…and ridiculous amount of jewelry leading us in a chant of ‘Who’s gonna beat Ali? WEPNER!’ And in that instant, Chuck Wepner became a real-life mythological figure — as real to me as the Jersey Devil that haunted the local Pine Barrens.” Continue reading Boxing Legend Chuck Wepner “The Real Rocky” interview with Sally Deering of the River View Observer→
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