André the Giant vs boxer Chuck Wepner 1976 | Summary & Highlights
June 25, 1976
Venue: Shea Stadium
Location: New York City
Match Time Limit:
10 Rounds / 3 minute rounds
Referee: John Stanley
Commentators: Vince McMahon
Despite sharing a nearly identical workspace and having spent decades under the jurisdiction of the same state legislative bodies, boxing and wrestling are worlds apart. There have been many attempts over the years to see who would win a battle of wresting and boxing.
On the undercard of bizarre fight card headlined by boxing legend Muhammad Ali vs Japanese wrestling legend Antonio Inoki was another circus bout that arguably defines 'freak show.'
Professional boxer Chuck Wepner faced wrestler André the Giant in a bout that many believed influenced the Rocky III match between fictional heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa and Thunderlips, played by Hulk Hogan.
Was André vs Wepner a legitimate match?
Answer: It's highly unlikely. For starters, Wepner would have been at a clear disadvantage because he was forced to wear gloves while André was not. Not being able to land punches with bare-fisted force nor hold or clinch effectively would have severely limited Wepner if such a match was real.
André the Giant's popularity was peaking at this time so a loss to a non-wrestler or serious injury would have certainly been a big setback so it's not likely the WWF's McMahon would allowed an all-out fight to take place.
In the end, Wepner lost by countout after Andre threw him out of the ring in Round 3.
André the Giant vs Wepner Facts
- Wepner's heroic, albeit lopsided, defeat against Muhammad Ali, in which he knocked Ali down while stepping on his foot in a 1975 world title match, served as an inspiration for the Academy Award winning movie Rocky. (Source: BoxRec)
- Also, it's likely Andre vs Wepner inspired the fight between Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan) and Rocky Balboa in Rocky III.
- Wepner was 6'5" and weighed roughly 230 lbs; André was billed as 7'4" with weights ranging from 475 to 640 lbs
- It's believed André was unbeaten in WWF matches for roughly 15 years
- André would later lose in legitimate matches outside of WWF parameters; a pinfall loss in Mexico to Canek in 1984 and a submission loss in Japan to Antonio Inoki in June 1986
- Wepner, who finished 35-14-2, 17 KOs in boxing, had faced Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston and George Foreman, losing by knockout each time