Chuvalo Still A Model of Perseverance
Boxing fans will remember George Chuvalo well..
A favorite Canadian son, George was a world-class heavyweight, taking on the likes of Muhammad Ali, Jimmy Ellis, Joe Frazier,Buster Mathis and Jerry Quarry. Once ranked #2 in the world, Chuvalo had 93 professional fights, fought six world champions and was never knocked down his entire career. He beat the likes of Jerry Quarry, but lost his biggest tests against the best heavyweights of his era like Ali, Frazier and Foreman.
Despite losing a 12 round UD, he apparently pounded Ali's body so badly that 'The Greatest' had to be admitted to hospital for bleeding kidneys that evening after their fight at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Here's his record :
George Chuvalo is a beloved sports figure in Canada and supreme human being who embodies the spirit of perseverance like few others. His personal life has been marred by tragedy after tragedy, and yet this incredible man still keeps a positive attitude and travels the country speaking to at-risk youth and at high schools about the perils of drug addiction.
George has been clean his whole life, but for some reason all three of his sons ended up heroin addicts, two of them died of overdoses and the third committed suicide after years of battling his addiction. His wife Lynne was so distraught after the death of their second-born that she committed suicide just days after, and now his grand daughter has been struck down by cancer at the age of 30.
I was just reading an article today about how he was awarded the key to the city of Toronto recently in a ceremony hosted by Mayor Rob Ford. The event had to be postponed by one week due to the passing of his granddaughter.
And although he didn't talk to the media, there he was, looking as vibrant and healthy as ever - but surely heartbroken, as he has so often been throughout his life.
How much can a man endure ?
I had the pleasure of meeting George when he was in London a few years ago at a charity event. I chatted with him about his fight with Cleveland Williams, he signed a pair of boxing gloves for me and that was it. But just being in the same room with him was a treat. He exudes such positive energy and strength, albeit in a quiet manner. He looks incredible for his age, and is extremely personable.
When I read the article I just felt like I had to type something up for you guys to read so you can get an idea of what an exemplary human being we are talking about here. I admire him for his strength and fortitude. He is a Canadian legend who just keeps plugging along despite the heavy shots that life keeps dealing out to him.
Nobody could knock him down in 93 fights, and it seems nothing can knock him down in life either. He has taken his pain and transformed it into good work as he warns people about the dangers of drug use and tries to deliver a positive message to people who may be vulnerable to the horrors of addiction that he has had to witness first hand.
The next time you are feeling sorry for yourself, think about this guy and all he has endured. Think about the tragedy he has somehow molded into a message of hope. What a class act.
No wonder we Canadians simply refer to him as 'The Champ'.