More than 30 years after "Rocky" hit the big screen, the man who inspired the movie gets his own moment in the Hollywood sun. "Chuck" is the story of Chuck Wepner, the New Jersey heavyweight whose courageous performance against Muhammad Ali provided the basis for Rocky Balboa.

Liev Schreiber portrays Wepner in the film, which opens in theaters Friday. Schreiber is easily identifiable as star of Showtime's "Ray Donovan" or as Boston Globe editor Marty Baron in the Oscar-winning picture "Spotlight," but fans may also recognize his voice as narrator of various HBO Sports documentaries including the "24/7" and "Hard Knocks" series. 

Here are eight notable facts about Chuck Wepner, along with scenes from the movie, directed by Philippe Falardeau:

Fighting The Best

Photo by Sarah Shatz - Courtesy of IFC Films Jim Gaffigan as John and Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner

Chuck Wepner fought three men who were world heavyweight champion at some point: Sonny Liston (former champ), George Foreman (future champ) and Muhammad Ali (reigning champ).

Defining Moment

IFC Films Chuck Movie Poster

Wepner's 1975 title bout against Ali was held at Richfield Coliseum, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers at the time. Wepner lasted until Ali knocked him down with 19 seconds left in the 15th and final round.

Going National

Photo by Sarah Shatz - Courtesy of IFC Films Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner and Ron Perlman as Al Braverman

In advance of his fight against Ali, Wepner was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Legal Settlement

Photo by Sarah Shatz - Courtesy of IFC Films Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner

"Rocky" was released in 1976 and won the Oscar for best picture. Wepner sued Sylvester Stallone to get compensation for being the inspiration to the movie and its sequels. He won an undisclosed settlement in 2006. "After 30 years of promises and promises, I just took him to court and he had to fork up some money," Wepner told NJ.com last year."It was probably covered by the insurance company." Wepner added that he and Stallone are on good terms.

Before Everyone Called It MMA

Photo by Sarah Shatz - Courtesy of IFC Films Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner and Elisabeth Moss as Phyllis Wepner

On the same night in 1976 that Ali fought Japanese wrestling icon Antonio Inoki in Tokyo, Wepner had a match against Andre The Giant at Shea Stadium. Andre won by throwing Wepner out of the ring in the third round. (A similar scene unfolds in "Rocky III" as Thunderlips, played by Hulk Hogan, tosses Balboa over the ropes.)

Sequel But No Cameo

Photo by Sarah Shatz - Courtesy of IFC Films Naomi Watts as Linda Wepner and Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner

Wepner auditioned to play himself in "Rocky II" -- but didn't get the part.

WWE Celebrity Guest

Photo by Sarah Shatz - Courtesy of IFC Films Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner

Wepner was a guest judge at WrestleMania XV in the Brawl For It All boxing match between Butterbean and Bart Gunn in Philadelphia.

Behind The Scenes

Photo by Sarah Shatz - Courtesy of IFC Films Naomi Watts as Linda Wepner and Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner

In 2011, Wepner was the subject of an ESPN 30 For 30 documentary called "The Real Rocky." Its director, Jeff Feuerzeig, is one of the writers and executive producers for "Chuck." Mike Tollin is a producer on both.

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