November 12, 2003

Will Mr. T and Dolph Lundgren be named as witnesses?: A boxer who claims that his life was the inspiration for Rocky thinks that Sylvester Stallone's been profiting off his life story long enough. Yup, it's a lawsuit!

posted by Jaquandor to boxing at 05:35 PM - 7 comments

I should note that aside from the biggest names in boxing -- Ali, George Foreman, the like -- I know nothing at all about the sport, and I've certainly never heard of this guy, so I personally have no idea if there's any merit here.

posted by Jaquandor at 05:36 PM on November 12, 2003

Isn't there some kind of statute of limitations here? Why didn't the Wepster sue 20 years ago?

posted by billsaysthis at 06:06 PM on November 12, 2003

Mr. T for the defense.

posted by forksclovetofu at 06:45 PM on November 12, 2003

Wepner really was a Rocky-type story, and the movie was at least to some extent inspired by him, as Stallone apparently keeps pointing out. I don't think the statute of limitations applies here, as Wepner is saying Stallone continues to point to Wepner as legitimacy for the film, but has not compensated him. I don't know the legal stuff here (jump in, lawyers), but I'm guessing if a jury thought the "Rocky" franchise was profiting for using Wepner's name, he might get something. I guess it centers around the argument of whether this is based on Wepner's life (which I don't think it is), or whether Wepner inspired the film and is being used to help promote it (which I think he is). The problem with using Wepner's photos to help promote the film is he is butt ugly.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:30 AM on November 13, 2003

He kinda looks like Tony Soprano.

posted by worldcup2002 at 09:50 AM on November 13, 2003

I think there's a likeness rights issue - if his story (and his fight with Ali) was the inspiration for the character, and Stallone has admitted as much, then Mr. Wepner has a big, fat fucking cheque waiting for him at the end of this. Box office, merchandise, you name it - If it says Rocky, he is entitled to a slice. I've seen an interview where Stallone mentions going to see, or hearing about Wepner's bloody fight with Ali and Ali calling it the toughest fight he's ever had. I think that stuff like that can be used as evidence.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:49 AM on November 13, 2003

Wepner has long been regarded as the inspiration for Rocky. He took Ali into the fifteenth round and actually knocked him to the canvas in the ninth. Allegedly in his corner after the ninth round he said to his manager "I knocked Ali down!" to which his manager replied "Yeah, and boy does he look pissed." Stallone should have been taking care of him all along. Too bad he wasn't. Hopefully Wepner will get enough to ensure a comfortable retirement, Stallone can afford it.

posted by vito90 at 11:29 AM on November 13, 2003

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