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Thread: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

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    George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    George Chuvalo took all the punches his opponents had, but losing his family to drugs is a pain he can't shake off

    By JOE WARMINGTON TORONTO SUN


    No one ever knocked him down.

    It's amazing how many tough rounds George Chuvalo has fought. It's equally as impressive how the Canadian icon is still out there fighting -- to keep our kids off the dope that resulted in the deaths of three of his sons and the eventual suicide of their mother.

    Tough punches. Most would have been knocked to the canvas long ago. Not George Chuvalo. If he can save one kid from going down the path of drugs, he'll stand in there for whatever punishment the competition brings.

    "You try to make the best of a bad situation. I am doing okay for not being okay," he said. "It's a private hell. You can't lose three sons and all of a sudden say it's all right. It's never going to be all right. I live with it and do the best I can."

    And helping other parents avoid the same tragedy is part of that. There's not a week that goes by where Chuvalo is not speaking somewhere.


    FIGHT AGAINST DRUGS

    Take tonight, May 9, 2006, when about 1,000 friends and fans will pack the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the George Chuvalo Canadian Tribute Dinner -- a black-tie affair to help raise money for the Fight Against Drugs charity.

    Lots of big names are expected at the $500 a plate dinner -- including Dickie Duff, Darryl Sittler, Bert Sugar and Fergie Jenkins.

    Last minute tickets are available at 416-224-9990.

    This is a big night for George who has had some big ones before.

    The Canadian heavyweight champ from 1958 to 1979 fought George Foreman, Floyd Patterson and Joe Frazier.

    But the biggest one was March 29, 1966 -- 40 years ago -- that the Canadian heavyweight champion George Chuvalo squared off against the world heavyweight champion, the Louisville Lip himself, Muhammad Ali.

    It was a classic billing at Maple Leaf Gardens and was, really, the movie Rocky before Stallone could even spell "Yo, Adrianne."

    What you had here was the high profile, big talking, flashy champ against the loveable ethnic kid with a strong work-ethic, a big heart and an even bigger punch.

    What a script! Where the heck are the Canadian movie makers? "I believe it was the most electric night in Toronto ever," says boxing expert and radio personality Spider Jones. "The city was on fire and everybody was there -- including Joe Louis."

    40TH ANNIVERSARY

    The 40th anniversary of the legendary fight kind of got past the local media, where we tend to focus on the Maple Leafs and Raptors. But there was no second billing on that night four decades ago.

    "You couldn't get a ticket for that thing," says Spider, who sparred with Ali at Sully's gym and snuck in with the champ's entourage.

    But he was pulling for his friend, the Canadian.The whole country was.

    There was also a lot of controversy about Ali at that time -- mostly about him not going to Vietnam.

    George said he didn't know what all the fuss was about. "I said I am not American, I am Canadian, so I guess I was sympathetic to him."

    Ali appreciated that and they are friends to this day. "I like him and I think he likes me," said Chuvalo.

    But there was no love lost in the ring. George took his fair share of jabs but he landed a few, too -- mostly to Ali's mid section.

    John Gold of the New York Evening News wrote: "Cassius Clay came to play and was forced to fight.

    "George Chuvalo is the hero of international boxing."

    Ali agreed, joking though, "George's head is the hardest thing I ever punched."

    "George is tougher than Terrell, tougher than Patterson, tougher than Liston. Look at these hands -- they're so bruised, I can't shake hands with anyone."

    George fired back: "He was very quick but he was not a hard puncher. But he was tougher than he looks. I always said he was too good-looking to be that tough."

    Love that stuff. At the end of the fight the decision went to Ali and years later when people say to George, "Hey, you made it 15 rounds with The Greatest" his answer is always the same. "You mean, he made it!"

    And he's not kidding. "He's the guy who went to the hospital after that fight," Chuvalo said. "He had problems with his kidneys. I heard he was passing blood for 16 days."

    Now you see why whether it's 1966 or 2006, you just can't knock George Chuvalo down.

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    Great article and thanks for posting.It's ironic timing as today I just received a copy of The Last Round: Ali vs Chuvalo.I'll have to watch it tonight.

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    I remember reading an interesting article in Boxing Illustrated from the Mid-Sixties, On Cagey Fringe contender Amos Johnson detailing his sparring with Chavalo, and detailing where he apperently handled George with Ease...And Floored him....

    Of course, Like Page against Tyson in sparring, or Ali vs Blue Lewis in Sparring, Attempting to replicate their Gym successes in a real fight would be an entirely different matter.

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    I do not believe that is true, that is the fact that Amos Johnson floored him in sparring.

    I will ask George as I speak to him all the time.

    I am sure he will be honest with me about it. I spoke to him about two days ago when he called me about Floyd's passing.

    best,
    Ron

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    Ron

    I am sure, that even at his most noteworthy, (Defeat of Henry Cooper ?) it was not every day the Amos got a couple of pages of journalistic ink devoted to him in A top Boxing magazine of the day ! (perhaps too good an opportuntiy not to self promote/embellish ?)

    It would be good to hear any recollections George has

    Please pass on my regards to George, If only we had a few like him around today !

    Regards Sage

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    I am a big Chuvalo fan. He gave Ali hell. Showed the blueprint to beat him, which Frazier took to another level.

    However, Chuvalo would have been knocked off his feet by Frazier and Foreman had the referee not come to his rescue. The type of beating he was taking from those guys, it was not going to end pretty for George.

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    George is a champ in my book. He gave the best Ali a real war and deserves much praise for that. I know Im gonna get some disagreement but in watching the Foreman and Frazier bouts again and again I dont think George was gonna go down. He was dealing with the punishment and probably would have fought back to a respectable showing. Just my opinion. In neither bout do I see weak legs on George.

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    Regarding Chuvalo-Frazier, George's eye injury was too severe to allow him to continue, I don't think Chuvalo was close to going down and I'm not sure Frazier was capable of dropping George. I think the stoppage was entirely in order.

    As to Foreman-Chuvalo, Chuvalo was staggered, but seemed to have weathered it and got his legs back somewhat. He was taking plenty of leather from Foreman, but that's what Chuvalo did best. Knowing later about Foreman's stamina issues, I've often wondered where that pace would have left Foreman against Chuvalo; if he shot his bolt, and saw that the Canadian was still there, how would Foreman react to that?

    That said, however, up to the point of stoppage, Foreman was definitely handing Chuvalo's ass to him and only Chuvalo was pissed that it was stopped. As to going down, I would hate to see a fighter get hit with the punch or punches that it would take to drop Chuvalo, he was so goddam tough. Foreman may have been able to be the guy that did it, and it was probably good fortune for Chuvalo that the referee didn't wait for it to happen before ending it.

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    Was either of the two times Chuvalo hit the floor against Bonavena ruled a legit knockdown? I've seen the tape, but I don't recall the ref beginning a count. PeteLeo.

  10. #10
    mike
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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    wasnt george pretty old by some of these fights-foreman frazier- i might be wrong

  11. #11
    mike
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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    not quite as old as i thought sorry.

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...


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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    George never took a count in any pro fight. The ref never counted in the Bonavena fight which I have and played the off balance slip back, over and over again. Totally off balance and not even close to being hurt.

    Ron

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    I'm curious as to which of you has seen the tape of the Chuvalo - Pat McMurtry fight in Madison Square Garden. As I mentioned on another post recently I had the opportunity to meet Pat a couple of weekends ago and he brought the tape of this fight along with him. Chuvalo went to the canvas at one point during the bout and the referee ruled it a slip. Pat was adamant that it was a knockdown, and when we watched that part a 2nd time I still wasn't sure.

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    I've never seen a fighter hit harder, flush more often than Chavalo was by Foreman. He took over a dozen Foreman shots flush when Foreman was fresh. It almost defies the laws of physics to see Chavalo absorb those shots and not shatter ... he was still standing , definately hurt but rock solid .. a few more of those and Foreman could have killed him...no one took a shot like this guy, not Mercer or anyone else...it was almost like he was too tough...

  16. #16
    mike
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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    chuvalo may well have been the toughest heavy of the century--who else comes to mind-??

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    Tex Cobb?

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    Re: George Chuvalo: Nobody Ever Knocked Him Down But ...

    jeffries and dempsey- then cobb and marciano? ali a little overrated on this--most of time did not come towards opponents--big difference. cobb and even chuvalo never quite took chances like a jeffries or dempsey--they were conservative.????

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