If you don’t know Chuck Wepner’s claim to fame, you will in a hurry after you enter his small apartment in this gritty North Jersey city on the Hudson River.
Maybe you’ll see the framed poster of the most famous boxer of all time in his office, the one autographed, “To Chuck and Linda: Good luck to my dear friends, from Muhammad Ali. After me, there will be no other. P.S. Stay off my foot!” (We’ll explain that in a minute).
Or maybe he’ll hand you a business card for his job as a liquor salesman. Flip it over, and you’ll find a photo of a young Wepner, boxing trunks pulled over his navel, standing over a fallen Ali in the ring.
Or maybe he’ll sit down in his recliner and tell you one of his favorite stories, like the night he came back to his hotel room after he survived 15 rounds with Ali in a stunning 1975 fight.
“The day before the (Ali) fight, I took my wife out shopping and bought her a powder-blue negligée, because I told her, ‘You need to look right when you sleep with the heavyweight champion of the world,'” he said. “The night I lost, my (ex-)wife is sitting on the edge of the bed in the negligée and she asks, ‘So, am I going to Ali’s room or what?'”
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