Best of Q: Boxer George Chuvalo urges youth to respect themselves

George Chuvalo (left) lands a punch to the head of Muhammed Ali during a boxing match in Toronto in 1966. (File/Canadian Press)

George Chuvalo (left) lands a punch to the head of Muhammed Ali during a boxing match in Toronto in 1966. (File/Canadian Press)

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In a conversation from the Best of Q, boxing champ George Chuvalo joins Jian to discuss his harrowing personal memoir on life, loss and a lifetime of heavyweight boxing.

Chuvalo, Canada's longest reigning heavyweight champ, not only went head-to-head with Muhammad Ali Chuvalo in a famous 1972 boxing match but also a parade of other greats, including George Foreman and Joe Frazier. Chuvalo was famously able to take hit. In his whole career, 93 pro fights, he never once got knocked off his feet.

But it's his harrowing personal life that has really tested the fighter's strength.

He opens up on the deaths of his children and his wife, how he managed to stay standing following those devastating losses, and why he is now on a crusade to knock out drug addiction among the young.

"No one starts out by doing crack, coke or heroin. They usually start off with a simple cigarette," said Chuvalo, who says all those substances involve "disrespecting yourself."

The "Toronto Hard Rock" chronicles his highs and lows in his new book Chuvalo: A Fighter's Life: The Story Of Boxing's Last Gladiator.

The original segment aired October 30, 2013.

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