Chuvalo’s Fight vs. Drugs

By Robert Ecksel on May 28, 2011
Chuvalo’s Fight vs. Drugs

Former heavyweight contender George Chuvalo fought them all: Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Oscar Bonavena, Cleveland Williams, Jimmy Ellis, Jerry Quarry, and Floyd Patterson. He was as tough an SOB that ever walked the earth. Little short of future Hall of Famers stopped George Chuvalo.

After he retired in 1979 with a 73-18-2 (64 KOs) record, Chuvalo’s private battles began.

His three sons became addicted to heroin. His wife had a pill problem. It was as if a pandemic had hit the Chuvalos.

In 1985, his youngest son, Jesse, committed suicide at the age of 20. George Jr., Chuvalo’s oldest son, overdosed in 1993. George Jr.’s mother, Chuvalo’s wife, took her own life four days later, using prescription drugs. Chuvalo’s third son, Stephen, died three years later at the age of 35. He had just been released jail when he learned that his wife had divorced him and was taking the kids.

“He couldn’t go back home,” says Chuvalo, “and it was difficult for him. It’s tough enough to be an addict without all his problems. I can understand what happened to him.”

Chuvalo always liked a good fight, and he’s been fighting the good fight against drugs for 15 years.

“If I didn’t take up the cause it would be like my family died in vain,” he says. “I don’t ever want that to happen.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t have a tear in my eye for my sons and wife. Not one. You can’t just forget about people. You’re always pining for them. You’re always feeling sorry for the situation that evolved in their life and for what happened. But you gotta keep going.”

Chuvalo talks to young people because they’re the most vulnerable and most at risk.

“It’s so difficult to be a young person today,” says Chuvalo, “probably the most difficult in the history of mankind because there’s so much temptation to try drugs. Hollywood and television glamorizes drug use. You see movie stars doing drugs and you hear about them going to rehab and getting all messed up yet there’s still an element of romance to it. So a lot of people think it’s cool to do drugs. But it’s not too cool when you end up in a box in a coffin and they drop your body six feet under the ground.”

(Full article can be read here)

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  3. TEX HASSLER 01:06pm, 11/06/2011

    George Chuvalo always hung in there regardless of who he was facing and he did not know the meaning of quit. George had a fighter’s heart and mentality. May God bless George and his fight against drugs.

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