CORNWALL, Ontario – Canada’s toughest boxer has a message for those who thinks the squared circle will one day be eclipsed by the octagon: he’s not impressed.
George Chuvalo, in an interview Friday night prior to offering the keynote address at Saturday’s Boxing for Change event, being held at Nav Centre to benefit the Children’s Treatment Centre, said the hype and success of mixed martial arts lacks the art of his sport.
“When I watch the UFC I get bored,” Chuvalo said. “They kind of look at each other and then they start grappling and go for the legs, and they stay there.
“It’s not exciting to get guys in a hold. You don’t see much movement. There’s not much science to it. It doesn’t excite me. When I watch it I am looking for action. But there’s no action.”
Chuvalo may know a little baout what he’s talking about.
He was ranked number four on ESPN’s greatest chin in boxing history list (having never been knocked down or knocked out as an amateur or professional boxer).
Chuvalo fought as a heavyweight during the 1960s and 70s and was a five-time Canadian heavyweight champion, and two-time world heavyweight title challenger. Chuvalo lost to heavyweight legends such as Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman.
Ali has often cited Chuvalo as his most fearsome opponent.
Today Chuvalo spends a lot of time mentoring young fighters. He spent time Friday talking with Cornwall’s Tony Luis, the WBC Continental Americas Lightweight champ.
“I feel for them. I can identify with them and I wish them all the best,” said Chuvalo. “I hope I can be some good to them in terms of advice.”
Luis said that is exactly what he was seeking from Chuvalo when they spoke.
It’s an honour to pick his brain…to get his opinion on similar experiences that may be I am going through in my career,” said Luis.
“I asked him how hard it was for him when he had to walk away from the sport, and how it affected him mentally,” Luis answered.
Does that mean the Cornwall pugilist is considering hanging up the gloves.
“Not anytime soon. No, no, no,” he said with a laugh. “We’ve got lots to do.”
Indeed. Luis will fight June 26 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. at Seneca Casino. He is scheduled to take on Guillermo Sanchez, a lefty with a 15-15-1 record and six knockouts.
He’s also been KO’d five times. The fight will be broadcast on CBS Sports.