144: Muhammad Ali Fight Worn Robe vs. Chuck Wepner-Marc
This Everlast robe was worn by heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in his win against Chuck Wepner in Cleveland, Ohio on March 24, 1975. The previous summer Ali had defeated George Foreman in Zaire to reclaim his heavyweight crown. Don King managed the fight, which paid a then astounding $1.5 milion to to Ali. His opponent, Wepner, was a journeyman fighter known as the Bayonne Bleeder for the cuts he often suffered. He combined his boxing career with a full time job as a liquor salesman.
Somehow Wepner managed to battle through fifteen rounds with the champ until Ali finally knocked him down and the referee stopped that fight with just 19 seconds to go.
That night, Sylvestor Stallone watched Wepner's gutsy challenge and was inspired to write the script for Rocky. After the movie's success, Wepner would later sue Stallone, unsuccessfully, for a share of the profits.
This robe is white satin with a brownish-black trim. It is full calf length and on the reverse in block, black lettering is reads 'MUHAMMAD ALI"" with MUHAMMAD forning an arc over ALI. The robe has experienced some fading with age to both the white and black colors. LOA: JO Sports, Inc. (Craig Hamilton).