Statue to Honor the Real-Life Rocky
Mayor Jimmy Davis announced that the City of Bayonne will unveil a statue of Bayonne boxing legend Chuck Wepner on Saturday, November 12, at 12:00 noon, in Dennis P. Collins Park. The event will take place on 1st Street between Avenue C and Zabriskie Avenue. Various public officials will attend the ceremony. The event is open to the public. Mayor Davis said, “The City of Bayonne is very proud of Chuck Wepner. We are very happy that he will be with us in person on November 12 to enjoy the long-awaited unveiling of the statue, which is sure to become a very popular attraction in Dennis P. Collins Park.”
Bayonne businessman Bruce Dillin spearheaded the effort to raise funds for the completion of the statue. Zhen Wu, a Chinese-born artist and Bayonne resident, made the 2,500 lb. statue. It took him six months to mold the clay which was then cast in bronze. The semi-retired Wu made the statue at no cost to the City of Bayonne. He donated his time to making the Wepner statue. Dillin raised funds privately to complete the project.
Wepner’s professional boxing career lasted from 1964 to 1978. He won 35 matches (including 17 knockouts), lost 14, and had 2 draws. Wepner held the USA New Jersey Heavyweight title and the National Americas Heavyweight title. In one of his most famous matches, Wepner was 19 seconds short of a full fifteen rounds with Muhammed Ali in 1975.
Wepner was the inspiration for the leading character in the Rocky movies.