ALI VS WEPNER March 24, 1975 Cleveland, OH
Fight Recap by: Shawn Matsko
Muhammad Ali was fresh off his miracle win over Big George Foreman in Zaire a little less than 6 months earlier. The talk at the time was that Ron Lyle would be first up. Then Ali decided that he wanted a white oponent for his first defense since regaining the title and picked Chuck Wepner instead. Just Who was Chuck Wepner? He was 39-9-2 with 13 kayoes. 4 of those 9 losses were to oponents he had in common with Ali.
Ali was (W 15)Vs Ernie Terrell, Wepner was (W 12). Ali was (TKO 7 & KO 1)Vs Sonny Liston, Wepner was (TKO by 10) Ali was (W 12) Buster Mathis Sr., (W 12) Joe Bugner, & (KO 8) George Foreman. Wepner was (TKO by 3) against all three of those. Against common oponents, Ali was 6-0 3 kayoes Wepner was 1-4 with all losses coming by TKO.
Ali was 45-2 as a pro with 32 knockouts. Wepner thought he could win. In fact he said he would throw Ali into the third row. Most of the scribes in Boxing thought Wepner would be lucky to last more than a few rounds.
How Long would Wepner last if at all? My Scoring in Green BIG PUNCH, CUT, OR KNOCKDOWN IN ALL CAPS.
Round 1-Ali Circles. Wepner swings a left & right that miss. Ali ties his man up while Wepner lands a right to the body. It gets a bit ugly early as both punch behind the head. Wepner lands overhand rights that stray behind the head. Ali ties him up.
Even Round 10-10
Round 2-Ali lays on the ropes as Wepner throws to the head and body. Ali is covering up as Wepner lands. Ali lands a left and right. Ali lands some more lefts and rights. The Champ is warming up.
Ali's Round 10-9 (20-19)Ali
Round 3-Ali has his hands high as Wepner goes downstairs. Ali begins to use the jab. Ali ties his man up as Wepner tries to work the body. Wepner lands rights as Ali covers up. Ali lands two jabs.
Ali's Round 10-9 (30-28)Ali
Round 4-Ali covers up as Wepner again goes to the body. Ali responds with a few jabs. Wepner throws his own jab. Wepner jabs with Ali but Muhammad is faster. Wepner lands rights to the body as Ali holds on. Ali lands a left-right at the bell.
Ali's Round 10-9 (40-37)Ali
Round 5-They Square off. Ali counters with a right off of Wepner's jab. Ali jabs & throws a right. Ali Jabs to the body. Ali is dancing and jabbing for the first time. Wepner lands a wild right. Wepner makes Ali cover up with body shots at the bell.
Ali's Round 10-9 (50-46)Ali
Round 6-Wepner paws with the jab. Ali covers up as Wepner works the body. Wepner grazes Ali with a right. Ali covers up again as Wepner lands a left. Wepner is trying to work the body. Ali lands lefts and rights at the bell.
Wepner's Round 10-9 (59-56) Ali
Round 7-Wepner is moving forward as Ali covers up. Wepner lands a wild right. Ali lands two jabs. Ali is working the jab & lands an ocasional right. Ali sticks and moves. Ali ties Wepner up at the bell.
Ali's Round 10-9 (69-65)Ali
Round 8-Ali is up on his toes circling. Ali jabs as Wepner misses wildly. Ali is sticking Wepner with the jab and moving like when he was young. Ali is now on the ropes and they wrestle. Ali dances at the bell.
Ali's Round 10-9 (79-74)Ali
Round 9-Ali is up dancing. He lands jabs. Wepner tries to land the left. Wepner lands a right to the arm. WEPNER LANDS A RIGHT TO THE BODY AND ALI IS DOWN NEAR THE ROPES! He's right up though. Ali hurts Wepner with a flurie at the bell.
Wepner's Round 10-8 (87-84)Ali
Round 10-Ali lands a left-right. Wepner lands behind the head again. Ali lands a second left-right. Ali lands two hooks. Wepner tries a left Wepner throws rights to the head and body as Ali ties him up. Ali lands two lefts at the bell.
Ali's Round 10-9 (97-93)Ali
Round 11-Ali starts with a left to the head. Ali is covering upas Wepner tries to land. Ali lands a right. Wepner lands a right to the side. Wepner paws with the jab as Ali ties him up. Ali dances a bit. Ali lands a right-left-right at the bell.
Ali's Round 10-9 (107-102) Ali
Round 12-Ali lands a left-right. Wepner lands two rights downstairs. Ali lands two jabs & a right. Ali wrestles with him. Ali continues to jab. Ali lands a left. Ali lands with left hooks. Ali ties him up near the bell.
Ali's Round 10-9 (117-111)Ali
Round 13-Ali holds on as Wepner lands a left and right. Ali still holds and Wepner lands another right. ALI LANDS A HOOK THAT STAGGERS WEPNER BRIEFLY! Ali lands a hook as Wepner throws wild punches. Ali lands two hooks and a left- right as the round ends.
Ali's Round 10-9 (127-120)Ali
Round 14-Wepner's left eye is almost closed. He's also cut above both eyes. Ali lands lefts and rights. Ali lands two jabs. Wepner can only swing wildly. Ali lands a left-right. Ali lands two lefts and a right. Ali lands a left hook and a flurie to end the round.
Ali's Round 10-9 (137-129)Ali
Round 15-They touch gloves. Wepner bulls Ali to the ropes. Ali lands a left- right. Ali lands a jab. Wepner is just swinging now. A LEFT-RIGHT HURTS WEPNER. ALI LANDS ANOTHER LEFT & RIGHT! WEPNER COLLAPSES INTO THE ROPES! THE REFEREE, TONY PEREZ, COUNTS TO 6 AND STOPS IT. ALI WINS BY TKO.
ALI TKO 15
This was the fight that spawned the Rocky movies. A 30ish Actor Writer Sylvester Stallone Took this fight and wrote his own story around it because this fight bore no resemblence to the 1st Rocky film. Apollo Creed was a combination of the Ali of the 60s, Joe Louis, & a prime Sonny Liston. He also lacked Ali's remarkable backstory. Ali emerged from this fight unscathed. In the movie, both Rocky Balboa and Apollo creed were battered beyond recognition. If Ali had been in the same shape after the Wepner fight, he would have been in no condition to face Ron Lyle 6 weeks hence. Or Joe Frazier 6 months afterward either. For Chuck Wepner there wouldn't be 4 sequals. His most prominent oponent after this was Duane Bobick who stopped him in 6 rounds. He was also seen in a boxer-wrestler fight with Andre the Giant.
Ali would go on to the Manilla holocaust with Smokin Joe Frazier and imortallity.