TORONTO – Canadian boxer George Chuvalo received a key to the City of Toronto at a special ceremony Tuesday morning at City Hall.
Mayor Rob Ford presented the former fighter, who grew up in Toronto, with the ceremonial key in recognition of his achievements in the ring and his philanthropic efforts.
“I’m very fortunate to call George Chuvalo my friend,” Ford said. “And I’m very proud to present him the second key to our city.”
Chuvalo, now 75, was never knocked off his feet in 93 professional fights as a boxer.
“I kissed a few girls, but I never kissed the canvass,” Chuvalo said.
Born Jure Čuvalo, he faced such greats as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman.
“Fighting Ali in his prime, George became the first man to take him the full 15 rounds,” Ford said noting that Ali was hospitalized after the bout while Chuvalo was “out dancing” with his wife.
Chuvalo has dedicated a lot of his time to speaking to teens about drug abuse after losing son Steven to an overdose in 1996. His son Jesse took his own life in 1985 and his son Georgie was killed in a car crash in 1993.
Ford praised Chuvalo for his work “deglamorizing the lifestyle” of substance abuse across Canada.
He’s been inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the World Boxing Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame. Chuvalo was also made a member of the Order of Canada.
– with files by James Armstrong