Art imitating life

Sports film of the week: The Real Rocky

Grab some popcorn, turn the lights off and join us for a Sunday night movie. This time, truth is the same as fiction.

Released: 2011

Director: Jeff Feurerzeig

The plot: “In my opinion, Sylvester Stallone hijacked Chuck Wepner’s Soul,” says director Jeff Feurerzeig about ‘The Real Rocky’.  ”This film is my attempt to help Chuck get his soul back”.

Chuck Wepner was a journeyman boxer who’d earned the nickname “The Bayonne Bleeder” such was his propensity to inadvertently cover his opponents in his own blood. In his mid thirties, his life changed when he was given a shot at the World Heavyweight title against Muhammad Ali.

Entering the fight a 40/1 underdog, Wepner became just the third man in history to knock down the great Ali. For 15 rounds the two traded blows before referee Tony Perez stopped the fight, in Ali’s favour, with just nine seconds remaining.

Sound familiar? It should, and it’s not the only similarity between Wepner and Sly Stallone’s Rocky franchise as this enthralling documentary uncovers.

What the critics said: “Wepner didn’t deserve to go down as just the inspiration of a great fictional character, he deserved to go down with a reputation of his own. ‘The Real Rocky’ accomplished that, and if you haven’t seen the documentary yet I implore you to do so.” (Wes O’Donnell, Bleacher Report)

[YouTube Credit]

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