TASTY TIDBITS Wepner settles with Stallone; Lee, Clark headed for pro hoops in Europe

Life can now go on as we know it. Famed heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner, known nationally as “The Bayonne Bleeder,” has reached a settlement with Hollywood superstar Sylvester Stallone over a long-standing lawsuit Wepner, who still resides in his hometown of Bayonne, filed against Stallone.

Wepner claimed that Stallone used his life story as the basis for the Oscar-winning movie, Rocky, which won Best Picture honors back in 1976.

Wepner filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Stallone, saying he was never properly compensated for Stallone using Wepner’s life for the inspiration for the original movie and subsequent series of movies.

Stallone had stated back then that he was indeed inspired to write the screenplay for the movie after seeing Wepner take on Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight championship of the world in 1975.

A few years ago, Wepner filed the lawsuit against Stallone and the two sides came to an undisclosed agreement last week.

With the lawsuit now settled, Stallone can continue to work on the movie “Rocky Balboa,” the sixth in the “Rocky” movie series. The movie, which will bring the hero back into the ring once again, should be released by Christmas…

Two local college basketball stars have decided to pursue professional careers in Europe.

Former St. Anthony standout Dwayne Lee, who played his college basketball at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, having a brilliant career there, has signed a contract with a professional basketball team in Germany.

Lee, who was part of the Friars’ back-to-back Tournament of Champions titles in 2000 and 2001, was on the St. Joseph’s team in 2003-04 that went to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Lee will get a chance to play regularly in Germany and will receive a guaranteed salary there. His best friend and former high school teammate, Donald Copeland, will pursue a professional career in Puerto Rico…

And former St. Peter’s College sharpshooter Keydren “Kee-Kee” Clark has signed a professional contract to play in Greece. Clark turned down invitations to go to some NBA free agent camps over the summer and signed the contract with the pro team in Greece, believed to be in excess of $300,000 for three years.

Just goes to show you that there are opportunities in the game of basketball if you’re willing to work hard enough and pay your dues…

Speaking of basketball, congrats to former Duke All-American Bobby Hurley for his prized colt Praying for Cash’s performance last Sunday in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

While Bluegrass Cat ran away with the victory in the Haskell, Hurley’s Praying for Cash ran a strong second and made a lot of Jersey City followers happy who put Praying for Cash with Bluegrass Cat in their exacta wagering.

Praying for Cash is a horse with a very bright future and should return to the winner’s circle at some stakes race sometime soon…

From the reports we’re received, there was a very strong local contingent at Monmouth to watch the Haskell and Praying for Cash last Sunday. It’s safe to say that the locals returned home with smiles on their faces after the strong performance and even stronger payouts…

St. Peter’s Prep standout running back/linebacker Will Thompson is getting closer to a decision about where he will play his college football next fall and will apparently make his choice known sometime next week.

Whatever school Thompson chooses will be a winner, because the talented young man is one of a kind, both on and off the field. He truly epitomizes what it means to be a student/athlete in every facet possible. Thompson is going to be a gigantic success wherever he decides to go. We’ll have more on his decision next week…– Jim Hague