White Cadillac: Chuck Wepner

Here’s to the type of guy that I grew-up admiring.

They were blue-collar types.

I remember Paul Langley, a friend of my father who worked in auto body repair (before masks were mandatory) and WWII B-17 tail gunner.

I remember Bill Kabus, a farrier who could solve any livestock/farming problem in my hometown. His hands were huge. In my memory, his knuckles were the size of golf balls. I spent hours watching him ply his craft.

I remember Al Korber, a farmer from Kansas who always had a joke, even about the two fingers missing from his right hand (courtesy of a hay-baler). He never complained. He loved every moment of his life. After all, life is too short to do otherwise.

None were perfect, but that’s not a good enough reason to forget them. You never heard of them, but that doesn’t make it right. None are alive today, but if lifespan were determined by toughness, they would all be immortal.

Here’s someone you should have heard of: boxer Chuck Wepner. He had everything that those men did. Blue collar. Tough-as-nails. Enduring. Moxie. Fearless. Vibrant. Flawed.

For the Korbers and Kabuses and Langleys of the world, we’re granting a seat in the Caddy to Chuck Wepner.

Gold Gloves Champ.

New Jersey State Heavyweight Boxing Champ.

“I’ve been a survivor my whole life…if I can survive the Marines, I can survive Ali.”

Took Ali just a few seconds shy of 15 rounds in 1975, and knocked him down in the 9th.

United States Marine.

Blue collar.