In his native town of Bayonne, in the state of New Jersey the United States, they stop him on the streets.
In his native town of Bayonne, in the state of New Jersey the United States, they stop him on the streets. Chuck Wepner is the local hero - the "great white hope" who has been given a chance to pull off a miracle.
On 24 March in Cleveland, Ohio, the hero of Bayonne will face the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammed Ali, who to most sports enthusiasts' astonishment has agreed to defend his title against Wepner.
Although Wepner is a public figure in his native town, to the world at large he is not that well-known. Hence the amazement at Ali's decision and the disparity in the fees each fighter will receive for the bout.
Ali will get 1.5 million US dollars (GBP650,000 sterling) and Wepner only 100,000 dollars (GBP 44,445 sterling) - which is ten times more than the pride of Bayonne has ever received before for a fight.
Unlike most boxers, the 33-year-old Wepner also has a full-time job as a liquor salesman. He claims this is essential to maintain himself, his wife and three children in a style that suits them.
Throughout his career Chuck Wepner has faced disparagement from boxing pundits and the public alike. They call him a "loser" and "the Bayonne Bleeder" and even scorn the two titles he holds -- the North American and New Jersey Heavyweight Championships.
But he is not deterred. He points out that far from being a consistent loser, he has in fact lost only nine fights since he turned professional in 1964. He also reckons - not surprisingly - that he stands a good chance of beating Muhammed Ali.