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The Bleeder

Duration: 1 hour, 29 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC One LondonLatest broadcast: on BBC Two Northern Ireland HD

1970s Bayonne, New Jersey. Perhaps past his prime, Chuck Wepner is a part-time prize fighter best known for being able to take punishment in the ring – his nickname is the Bayonne Bleeder. Then opportunity knocks: the only white heavyweight in the US top 10, he is picked to fight Muhammad Ali. Their bruising 15-round encounter in 1975 brings Chuck wider fame, inspiring the movie Rocky - though Chuck gets paid nothing by the film-makers. By association, Chuck is seen (and sees himself) as a success, but long-suffering wife Phyllis finally tires of his womanising and cocaine habit, throwing him out, while the chance to work with Sylvester Stallone gets frittered away. Then Chuck is caught supplying cocaine in a police sting and sent to jail. After his release, a barmaid he had taken a shine to, Linda, re-enters his life when he is at a low ebb, and together they start afresh. Show less

Contributors

Chuck Wepner:
Liev Schreiber
Phyllis Wepner:
Elisabeth Moss
Al Braverman:
Ron Perlman
Muhammad Ali:
Pooch Hall
Sylvester Stallone:
Morgan Spector
Writer:
John Stahl

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