Shavers in 2005
|Real name||Earnie Dee Shaver|
|Nickname(s)||The Black Destroyer
Puncher of the Century
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Reach||79 in (201 cm)|
August 31, 1944 |
Garland, Alabama, U.S.
|Wins by KO||68|
Earnie Dee Shaver (born August 31, 1944), best known as Earnie Shavers, is an American former professional boxer who challenged twice for the world heavyweight title. He is considered by many boxing experts to be the hardest puncher of all time, holding a 91.8% knockout win ratio. He knocked out 50 opponents in three rounds or less; with 24 in the first round. He is best known for his fights with Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali; despite losing these contests, he scored a heavy knockdown against Holmes, and had Ali badly hurt in the second round as well as during the final rounds of their fight. The most notable wins of Shavers' career were his first-round knockouts of Jimmy Young, Jimmy Ellis, and Ken Norton, and his second-round knockout of Joe Bugner.
Prior to turning professional, Shavers had a short but notable amateur career. He was the 1969 National AAU Heavyweight champion.
Early professional career
Known as the "Black Destroyer", Shavers compiled an impressive record, winning 44 of his first 47 fights by knockout; mostly against unremarkable opposition. His KO streak included 27 consecutive knockouts, of which 20 victories were in the first round. He suffered setbacks with losses to Ron Stander and Stan Johnson.
He began to rise through the ranks of the heavyweight division after he hired a Cleveland-based promoter and ex-con named Don King to be his manager. His wins included a novice Jimmy Young who would later become a top contender. Stepping up the class of opposition, he came to public prominence with a first round KO of one time WBA heavyweight champion Jimmy Ellis. His progress was halted when he was KO'd in the first round by Jerry Quarry which was followed by another loss to a journeyman Bob Stallings. Shavers then had a thunderous match with hard hitting Ron Lyle but was stopped after 6 brutal rounds. He then knocked out hard hitter Howard King and beat Roy Williams in a back and forward battle in which Shavers was nearly knocked out. The latter Shavers always said was one of the toughest of his whole career.
Shavers vs Ali
Shavers fought Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden on September 29, 1977. Coming into the bout, Shavers had a record of 54-5-1, with 52 knockouts. Ali nicknamed Shavers "The Acorn" because of his shaved bald head, unlike early appearances. The fight was shown in prime time broadcast television by NBC, which rarely did prime time fights (ABC tended to get the Ali fights) and had the judges' scoring announced after each round to help avoid any controversial decision. Ali's cornerman Angelo Dundee had a crony (Baltimore matchmaker Eddie Hrica) in the dressing room watching the broadcast, and would get signals from his friend on the scoring. In the second round, Shavers hurt Ali badly with an overhand right. Ali exaggerated his motions enough that it seemed he might be play acting and Shavers hesitated. On the scorecard they exchanged rounds. Ali won the fifth decisively. To win the fight Ali had to survive the last three rounds. Shavers, whose stamina was suspect before the fight, came alive in the 13th round. In the 14th, he battered Ali about the ring. Before the 15th, (according to the story by Sports Illustrated's great boxing writer Pat Putnam) "Ali was on very wobbly legs."
Realizing Ali needed to last three more minutes, Dundee told him, "You don't look so good. You better go out and take this round." In a furious final round, the two men tagged each other, but Ali closed strongly, nearly dropping Shavers in the last 20 seconds. He won a unanimous decision. The next day, Garden Match Maker Teddy Brenner encouraged Ali to retire by stating the Garden would never make another offer to host an Ali fight. Brenner also thought that Shavers deserved the nod against Ali. The fight made the cover of Sports Illustrated, with "ALI'S DESPERATE HOUR" featuring a photograph of Shavers scoring with an overhand right. Fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco also urged Ali to retire after noting the damage Ali had absorbed against Shavers. Ali later said Shavers was the hardest puncher he ever faced, famously stating "Earnie hit me so hard, it shook my kinfolk back in Africa" although Ali had previously used this amusing punch line in reference to various other hard hitting opponents.
Shavers v Norton/Holmes
In a mandatory title challenge eliminator he knocked out former champion and Ali beater Ken Norton in the first round, possibly the best win of his career.
Shavers then fought for the title against skilled champion Larry Holmes at Caesars Palace in Pardise on September 29, 1979, exactly two years after his defeat by Ali. Shavers knocked Holmes down in round seven but was himself knocked out in round eleven after taking punishment. Holmes, known for his ability to take a punch, later said that Shavers' blow was the hardest he had ever taken in his career.
The Holmes bout was the last big match for Shavers. In 1980, he was knocked out in the seventh round by durable prospect Randall "Tex" Cobb. He never again fought for the world title. In 1982 he fought Joe Bugner, also on the comeback trail. Bugner was knocked down in the first but was stopped by cuts in the second round.
Shavers continued to fight professionally for several years, retiring in 1995 after losing to Brian Yates. Many thought he should have retired after his upset loss to lower contender Bernardo Mercado. Shavers suffered a similar retinal eye injury as boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.
Shavers was a heavy-handed puncher who stalked his opponents, setting them up for his thunderous right, which was responsible for many of his knockouts. At times lacking grace and accuracy, Earnie had a reputation for exhausting himself before round 7. Critics remarked he rarely won a bout that went beyond 8 rounds. In subsequent fights he fought Ali well for 15 rounds and Holmes for 11. Earnie would throw punches against any legal area he could reach, exposed or covered, relying on his tremendous power to wear down his opponents and exploiting any opening. His fighting stance produced a short and powerful image. His chin was his weakness. He could "box" as well as slug. Notably, he injured his right hand early in a 10 round match against rated fighter Henry Clark and then nearly jabbed Clarke's head off, beating him at his own game as it were, to win on points.
Video and book
Shavers published a video of highlights of his career in 1992 titled Earnie D. Shavers, The hardest One-Punch Hitter, and later an autobiography.
Life after boxing
Shavers retired in 1983 after retinal problems were discovered. After retirement, he became an ordained Christian minister and moved to Phoenix, where he preached for many years. He moved to England to pastor a church there in the early 2000s. He has been on the Benny Hinn TV show several times.
During the early 1980s while preparing for the feature film Rocky III, Sylvester Stallone explored the possibility of using a real heavyweight boxer in the role of James "Clubber" Lang by inviting Earnie Shavers to spar with him. Shavers initially refused to hit Stallone with anything other than a soft jab. This frustrated Stallone, who asked Shavers, "C'mon Earnie, show me something real." Earnie responded by punching him once near the liver, forcing an immediate retirement; Stallone later said: "that nearly killed me. I went straight to the men's room and threw up".
Shavers has visited Ali several times and he says he, Ali, and George Foreman have become very good friends over the years. Shavers accepted the invitation of the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International to preach at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
Earnie also works in Liverpool in the UK, as head of security at Hannahs' bar, where he is very much respected. The staff of Hannah's bar say that he does not work there now. Until five years ago (2009) he worked at Yates' Wine Lodge in Liverpool "meeting and greeting". On occasion Shavers was a troubleshooting referee in professional wrestling after his retirement.
Earnie speaks to pupils at Barr Beacon Language College in Walsall. Earnie also gave a speech 26 February 2008 at The Streetly School in Walsall, which was based upon helping kids make the right decisions in life.
Shavers was married to Laverne Payne and has five daughters from their union, Tamara, Cynthia, Catherine, Carla, and Amy. He also has four daughters from other unions, Catherine, Lisa, Natasha and Latonya. He has 24 grandchildren. He worked at General Motors in Lordstown, Ohio in the late 1960s. Shavers made a guest appearance on the Irish TV programme The Late Late Show hosted by Ron Lyle where the two fighters discussed their previous bout that had happened a month earlier. Shavers was a frequent visitor to the pub "Roddy Bolands" in Dublin. There is a signed picture of Shavers drinking a pint of Guinness on the wall there.
Shavers made a short comeback in the late 1980s and early 1990s. After a few wins and losses he retired in 1995 after being KO'd by Brian Yates in round 2.
In 2003, Shavers was ranked number 10 among boxing's greatest punchers in history by The Ring. Within the sport of boxing, he is widely considered to be the hardest puncher of all time.
Shavers finished his career in 1995 with a record of 74 wins (68 by knockout, 23 inside the first round), 14 losses and 1 draw.
Professional boxing record
|89 fights, 74 wins (68 knockouts), 14 losses (7 knockouts), 1 draw|
|Loss||74-14-1||Brian Yates||KO||2||24 Nov 1995||Ho-Chunk Casino, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, United States|
|Win||74-13-1||Brian Morgan||UD||8||19 Sep 1995||Omaha, Nebraska, United States|
|Win||73-13-1||Larry Sims||KO||1||16 May 1987||Cincinnati Technical College Gymnasium, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States|
|Loss||72-13-1||George Chaplin||DQ||9||1 Mar 1983||Civic Center, Baltimore, Maryland, United States|
|Win||72-12-1||Rahim Muhammad||UD||10||29 Jan 1983||El Paso, Texas, United States|
|Win||71-12-1||Tony Perea||KO||7||5 Nov 1982||El Paso, Texas, United States|
|Win||70-12-1||Phil Clinard||TKO||2||14 Oct 1982||Duke's Country Nightclub, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States|
|Win||69-12-1||Chuck Gardner||KO||2||5 Sep 1982||Wales, Wisconsin, United States|
|Loss||68-12-1||Walter Santemore||UD||10||17 Aug 1982||Blackham Coliseum, Lafayette, Louisiana, United States|
|Win||68-11-1||Billy Joe Thomas||KO||5||22 Jun 1982||Astro Arena, Houston, Texas, United States|
|Loss||67-11-1||James Tillis||UD||10||11 Jun 1982||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, United States|
|Win||67-10-1||Danny Sutton||TKO||7||15 May 1982||Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, Charleston, South Carolina, United States|
|Win||66-10-1||Joe Bugner||TKO||2||8 May 1982||Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas, United States||Bugner down in the first round. Fight stopped due to Bugner's cut|
|Win||65-10-1||Ali Haakim||UD||10||22 Apr 1982||Grand Traverse Hilton, Traverse City, Michigan, United States|
|Win||64-10-1||Jeff Sims||TKO||5||11 Dec 1981||Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, Nassau, Bahamas||Shavers down in first round. Fight was announced as stopped at 1:30 of Round 4|
|Win||63-10-1||Mike Rodgers||KO||2||9 Sep 1981||Civic Center, Lansing, Michigan, United States|
|Win||62-10-1||Terrel Williams||KO||2||29 Jul 1981||Civic Center, Saginaw, Michigan, United States|
|Win||61-10-1||Ted Hamilton||KO||2||17 Oct 1980||Auditorium, West Palm Beach, Florida, United States|
|Loss||60-10-1||Randall Cobb||TKO||8||2 Aug 1980||Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, United States|
|Win||60-9-1||Leroy Boone||UD||10||14 Jun 1980||Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati, United States|
|Loss||59-9-1||Bernardo Mercado||TKO||8||2 Aug 1980||Great Gorge Resort, McAfee, New Jersey, United States||Mercado down in the third, and then floored Shavers in the seventh before the stoppage.|
|Loss||59-8-1||Larry Holmes||TKO||11||28 Sep 1979||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, United States||For WBC Heavyweight title. Holmes was down in round 7.|
|Win||59-7-1||Eddie Parotte||TKO||3 (10)||25 May 1979||Richfield, Ohio, United States|
|Win||58-7-1||Ken Norton||TKO||1||23 Mar 1979||Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, United States|
|Win||57-7-1||Harold Carter||KO||3||4 Dec 1978||Saginaw, Michigan, United States|
|Win||56-7-1||John Girowski||KO||4||9 Oct 1978||Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia, United States|
|Win||55-7-1||Harry Terrell||TKO||2||20 Jul 1978||The Dome Civic Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States||Terrell floored twice in the first round. Terrell did not come out for the second.|
|Loss||54-7-1||Larry Holmes||UD||12||25 Mar 1978||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, United States||Eliminator for WBC Heavyweight title.|
|Loss||54-6-1||Muhammad Ali||UD||15||29 Sep 1977||Madison Square Garden, New York City, United States||For WBC & WBA Heavyweight titles.|
|Win||54-5-1||Howard Smith||KO||2||16 Apr 1977||The Aladdin, Las Vegas, United States||Smith down three times in first round.|
|Win||53-5-1||Roy Williams||KO||10||11 Dec 1976||The Aladdin, Las Vegas, United States||Shavers down in round 10 before stopping Williams.|
|Win||52-5-1||Henry Clark||TKO||2||28 Sep 1976||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York|
|Win||51-5-1||Henry Clark||UD||10||28 Mar 1976||Pavillon de Paris, Paris, France|
|Win||50-5-1||Tommy Howard||KO||3||13 Nov 1975||Howard Johnson's, Monroeville, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Loss||49-5-1||Ron Lyle||TKO||6||13 Sep 1975||Denver, Colorado, United States||Lyle was knocked down in the 2nd, Shavers down in the 6th round.|
|Win||49-4-1||Oliver Wright||KO||3||8 May 1975||Steelworkers Hall, Baltimore, Maryland, United States|
|Win||48-4-1||Rochelle Norris||KO||10||9 Apr 1975||Binghamton, New York, United States|
|Win||47-4-1||Leon Shaw||KO||1||11 Feb 1975||Orlando, Florida, United States|
|Draw||46-4-1||Jimmy Young||PTS||10||26 Nov 1974||Capitol Center, Landover, Maryland, United States|
|Loss||46–4||Bob Stallings||UD||10||4 Nov 1974||Felt Forum, New York City, United States||Shavers down in 9th round.|
|Win||46–3||Roy Wallace||KO||1||16 May 1974||Civic Auditorium, San Jose, California, United States|
|Loss||45–3||Jerry Quarry||TKO||1||14 Dec 1973||Madison Square Garden, New York City, United States|
|Win||45–2||Jimmy Ellis||KO||1||18 Jun 1973||Madison Square Garden, New York City, United States|
|Win||44–2||Harold Carter||KO||1||12 May 1973||Arena, Windsor, Ontario, Canada|
|Win||43–2||Jimmy Young||TKO||1||19 Feb 1973||Spectrum, Philadelphia, United States|
|Win||42–2||Leroy Caldwell||KO||2||25 Oct 1972||High School Gym, Newton Falls, Ohio, United States|
|Win||41–2||A.J. Staples||KO||1||22 Sep 1972||Moonlight Gardens Ballroom, Canton, Ohio, United States|
|Win||40–2||Vicente Rondon||UD||10||26 Aug 1972||Canton, Ohio, United States|
|Win||39–2||Lou Bailey||KO||2||5 May 1972||Akron, Ohio, United States|
|Win||38–2||Bob Felstein||KO||5||22 Apr 1972||Akron, Ohio, United States|
|Win||37–2||Charley Polite||KO||3||6 Apr 1972||Packard Music Hall, Warren, Ohio, United States|
|Win||36–2||Elgie Walters||KO||2||15 Feb 1972||Beaumont, Texas, United States|
|Win||35–2||Ted Gullick||KO||6||1 Feb 1972||Packard Music Hall, Warren, Ohio, United States|
|Win||34–2||Del Morris||KO||3||30 Nov 1971||Bryant, Indiana, United States|
|Win||33–2||Elmo Tex Henderson||KO||4||29 Oct 1971||Stateline, Nevada, United States|
|Win||32–2||Charlie Boston||KO||2||17 Oct 1971||Akron, Ohio, United States|
|Win||31–2||Pat Duncan||KO||5||28 Sep 1971||Reno, Nevada, United States||Won USA Nevada State Heavyweight title.|
|Win||30–2||Richard Pittman||KO||1||11 Aug 1971||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, United States|
|Win||29–2||Bill McMurray||KO||1||13 Jul 1971||Sahara Tahoe Hotel, Stateline, Nevada, United States|
|Win||28–2||Bill Hardney||KO||1||29 Jun 1971||Western Reserve Field, Warren, Ohio, United States|
|Win||27–2||Chuck Leslie||KO||10||10 Jun 1971||Sahara Tahoe Hotel, Stateline, Nevada, United States|
|Win||26–2||Willie Johnson||TKO||4||24 Apr 1971||Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa, Florida, United States|
|Win||25–2||Mac Harrison||KO||2||21 Apr 1971||Akron, Ohio, United States|
|Win||24–2||Young Agabab||KO||1||24 Mar 1971||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, United States|
|Win||23–2||Steve Carter||TKO||1||3 Mar 1971||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, United States||Carter down three times.|
|Win||22–2||Dick Gosha||TKO||5||17 Feb 1971||Armory, Akron, Ohio, United States|
|Win||21–2||Johnny Mac||KO||3||3 Feb 1971||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, United States|
|Win||20–2||Nat Shaver||KO||1||16 Jan 1971||Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida, United States|
|Win||19–2||Lee Estes||KO||2||6 Jan 1971||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, United States|
|Win||18–2||Jim Carefelli||KO||2||11 Dec 1970||Austintown Fitch High School Gym, Youngstown, Ohio, United States|
|Win||17–2||Bunky Akins||KO||1||7 Dec 1970||Madison Square Garden, New York City, United States|
|Win||16–2||Johnny Mac||TKO||4||18 Nov 1970||Austintown Fitch High School Gym, Youngstown, Ohio, United States|
|Win||15–2||John Hudgins||KO||1||14 Oct 1970||Canton, Ohio, United States|
|Win||14–2||Don Branch||KO||1||12 Sep 1970||Cooper Arena, Columbus, Ohio, United States|
|Win||13–2||Jim Daniels||KO||1||29 Aug 1970||Austintown Fitch High School Gym, Youngstown, Ohio, United States|
|Loss||12–2||Ron Stander||KO||5||11 May 1970||Omaha, Nebraska, United States|
|Win||12–1||Frank Smith||KO||4||14 Apr 1970||Canton, Ohio, United States|
|Win||11–1||Ron Asher||KO||1||23 Mar 1970||Fitch High Gym, Youngstown, Ohio, United States|
|Win||10–1||Art Miller||KO||1||6 Mar 1970||Canton, Ohio, United States|
|Win||9–1||Abe Brown||TKO||5||27 Jan 1970||Orlando, Florida, United States|
|Win||8–1||Joe Byrd||KO||3||24 Jan 1970||Canton, Ohio, United States|
|Win||7–1||Abe Brown||KO||1||7 Jan 1970||Akron, Ohio, United States|
|Win||6–1||Gene Idelette||KO||1||26 Dec 1969||Orlando, Florida, United States|
|Win||5–1||Chico Froncano||KO||1||18 Dec 1969||Canton, Ohio, United States|
|Win||4–1||J. D. McCauley||KO||2||4 Dec 1969||Akron, Ohio, United States|
|Win||3–1||Lee Roy||KO||3||21 Nov 1969||Rapid City, South Dakota, United States|
|Loss||2–1||Stan Johnson||UD||6||13 Nov 1969||Arena, Seattle, United States|
|Win||2–0||George Holden||KO||1||11 Nov 1969||Orlando Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida, United States|
|Win||1–0||Silas Howell||KO||2||6 Nov 1969||Akron, Ohio, United States|
- Mulvaney, Kieran (2011-11-28). "Remembering Ron Lyle". ESPN. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- Keown, Tim (2012-01-17). "70 reasons to celebrate Muhammad Ali". ESPN. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
- Bob Westerdale (2007-09-04). "Junior's close Shave with ring legend Ernie". The Star. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- Romano, Frederick V. (August 27, 2004). The boxing filmography: American features, 1920–2003. McFarland & Company. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-7864-1793-3.
- Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International FGBMFI UK & Ireland empower men for life
- Shannon Bradshaw Trust
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Earnie Shavers.|
- on YouTube.
- Professional boxing record for Earnie Shavers from BoxRec
- Statistical analysis of the KO record of Earnie Shavers
|Awards and achievements|
|United States Amateur Heavyweight Champion