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Shavers in 2005
|Real name||Earnie Dee Shaver|
|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 competed from 1969 to 1995, and challenged twice for the world heavyweight title in 1977 and 1979. He is considered by many boxing experts to be the hardest puncher of all time, holding a 91.8% knockout-to-win ratio, and having knocked out 50 opponents in three rounds or less; 24 in the first round.
Shavers 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. Shavers holds notable wins over heavyweight champions Jimmy Ellis and Ken Norton, as well as heavyweight contenders Jimmy Young and Joe Bugner.
Shavers officially retired from boxing in 1995. He released an autobiography about his life and boxing career, titled Welcome to the Big Time in 2001. Today, he attends boxing events as a special guest or autograph signer, and also works as a motivational speaker.
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 powerful prospect Roy Williams in a brutal back and forward battle in which Shavers was nearly knocked out. The match 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. Although Angelo Dundee in a Sports Illustrated mid 1970s article explained "He can get you out of there with any kind of shot," basically meaning left hook, right cross or right uppercut. Several famous tough chins had fallen to each of those punches. Bugner and Ellis to the uppercut.
At times lacking grace and accuracy, Earnie had a reputation for exhausting himself before round 7, this was probably due to insufficient training funds. Critics noted he rarely won a bout that went beyond 8 rounds. Well trained later, he fought Ali effectively for 15 rounds and later 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 however "box" as well as slug. Notably, he injured his right hand early in a 10-round match against rated craftsman Henry Clark and so 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
|Professional record summary|
|89 fights||74 wins||14 losses|
|89||Loss||74–14–1||Brian Yates||KO||2 (10), 2:49||Nov 24, 1995||Ho-Chunk Casino, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, U.S.|
|88||Win||74–13–1||Brian Morgan||MD||8||Sep 19, 1995||Georgetowne Club, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.|
|87||Win||73–13–1||Larry Sims||KO||2 (10), 1:30||May 16, 1987||Technical College Gymnasium, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.|
|86||Loss||72–13–1||George Chaplin||DQ||9 (10), 2:41||Mar 1, 1983||Civic Center, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.||Shavers disqualified for low blows|
|85||Win||72–12–1||Rahim Muhammad||PTS||10||Jan 29, 1983||El Paso, Texas, U.S.|
|84||Win||71–12–1||Tony Perea||KO||7 (10)||Nov 5, 1982||El Paso, Texas, U.S.|
|83||Win||70–12–1||Phil Clinard||TKO||2 (8), 1:05||Oct 14, 1982||Duke's Country, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|82||Win||69–12–1||Chuck Gardner||KO||2 (10), 2:07||Sep 5, 1982||Wales, Wisconsin, U.S.|
|81||Loss||68–12–1||Walter Santemore||UD||10||Aug 17, 1982||Blackham Coliseum, Lafayette, Louisiana, U.S.|
|80||Win||68–11–1||Billy Joe Thomas||KO||5 (10)||Jun 22, 1982||Astroarena, Houston, Texas, U.S.|
|79||Loss||67–11–1||James Tillis||UD||10||Jun 11, 1982||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|78||Win||67–10–1||Danny Sutton||TKO||7 (10)||May 15, 1982||USS Yorktown (CV-10), Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.|
|77||Win||66–10–1||Joe Bugner||TKO||2 (10), 2:14||May 8, 1982||Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas, U.S.|
|76||Win||65–10–1||Ali Haakim||PTS||10||Apr 22, 1982||Grand Traverse Hilton, Traverse City, Michigan, U.S.|
|75||Win||64–10–1||Jeff Sims||KO||5 (10), 1:34||Dec 11, 1981||Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, Nassau, Bahamas|
|74||Win||63–10–1||Mike Rodgers||KO||2 (10), 1:38||Sep 9, 1981||Civic Center, Lansing, Michigan, U.S.|
|73||Win||62–10–1||Terry Mims||KO||2 (10), 1:35||Jul 29, 1981||Civic Center, Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.|
|72||Win||61–10–1||Ted Wadkins||TKO||2 (10), 1:30||Oct 17, 1980||Auditorium, West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.|
|71||Loss||60–10–1||Randall Cobb||TKO||8 (10), 2:19||Aug 2, 1980||Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.|
|70||Win||60–9–1||Leroy Boone||UD||10||Jun 14, 1980||Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.|
|69||Loss||59–9–1||Bernardo Mercado||TKO||7 (10), 0:41||Aug 2, 1980||The Great Gorge Playboy Club Hotel, Vernon Township, New Jersey, U.S.|
|68||Loss||59–8–1||Larry Holmes||TKO||11 (15), 2:00||Sep 28, 1979||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||For WBC heavyweight title|
|67||Win||59–7–1||Eddie Parotte||TKO||3 (10)||May 25, 1979||Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio, U.S.|
|66||Win||58–7–1||Ken Norton||TKO||1 (12), 1:58||Mar 23, 1979||Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.|
|65||Win||57–7–1||Harold Carter||KO||3 (10)||Dec 4, 1978||Civic Center, Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.|
|64||Win||56–7–1||John Girowski||KO||4 (10), 1:48||Oct 9, 1978||Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia, U.S.|
|63||Win||55–7–1||Harry Terrell||RTD||1 (10)||Jul 20, 1978||The Dome Civic Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia, U.S.|
|62||Loss||54–7–1||Larry Holmes||UD||12||Mar 25, 1978||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|61||Loss||54–6–1||Muhammad Ali||UD||15||Sep 29, 1977||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.||For WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles|
|60||Win||54–5–1||Howard Smith||KO||2 (10), 2:18||Apr 16, 1977||The Aladdin, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|59||Win||53–5–1||Roy Williams||KO||10 (10), 2:46||Dec 11, 1976||The Aladdin, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|58||Win||52–5–1||Henry Clark||TKO||2 (10), 2:19||Sep 28, 1976||Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|57||Win||51–5–1||Henry Clark||PTS||10||Mar 28, 1976||Pavillon de Paris, Paris, France|
|56||Win||50–5–1||Tommy Howard||KO||3 (10), 2:00||Nov 13, 1975||Howard Johnson's, Monroeville, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|55||Loss||49–5–1||Ron Lyle||TKO||6 (12), 0:47||Sep 13, 1975||Coliseum, Denver, Colorado, U.S.|
|54||Win||49–4–1||Oliver Wright||TKO||3 (10), 1:55||May 8, 1975||Steelworkers Hall, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.|
|53||Win||48–4–1||Rochell Norris||TKO||10 (10), 0:31||Apr 9, 1975||Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, Binghamton, New York, U.S.|
|52||Win||47–4–1||Leon Shaw||KO||1 (10), 2:55||Feb 11, 1975||Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|51||Draw||46–4–1||Jimmy Young||SD||10||Nov 26, 1974||Capital Centre, Landover, Maryland, U.S.|
|50||Loss||46–4||Bob Stallings||UD||10||Nov 4, 1974||Felt Forum, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|49||Win||46–3||Roy Wallace||KO||1 (10), 2:11||May 16, 1974||Civic Auditorium, San Jose, California, U.S.|
|48||Loss||45–3||Jerry Quarry||TKO||1 (10), 2:21||Dec 14, 1973||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|47||Win||45–2||Jimmy Ellis||KO||1 (10), 2:39||Jun 18, 1973||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|46||Win||44–2||Harold Carter||KO||1 (10), 2:10||May 12, 1973||Windsor Arena, Windsor, Ontario, Canada|
|45||Win||43–2||Jimmy Young||TKO||3 (10), 2:59||Feb 19, 1973||Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|44||Win||42–2||Leroy Caldwell||KO||2 (10), 2:00||Oct 25, 1972||High School Gym, Newton Falls, Ohio, U.S.|
|43||Win||41–2||A J Staples||TKO||1 (10), 2:12||Sep 22, 1972||Moonlight Gardens Ballroom, Canton, Ohio, U.S.|
|42||Win||40–2||Vicente Rondón||UD||10||Aug 26, 1972||Memorial Auditorium, Canton, Ohio, U.S.|
|41||Win||39–2||Lou Bailey||KO||2 (10), 1:07||May 5, 1972||Armory, Akron, Ohio, U.S.|
|40||Win||38–2||Bob Felstein||TKO||5 (10), 2:38||Apr 22, 1972||Fieldhouse, Struthers, Ohio, U.S.|
|39||Win||37–2||Charley Polite||KO||3 (10), 0:50||Apr 6, 1972||Packard Music Hall, Warren, Ohio, U.S.|
|38||Win||36–2||Elgie Walters||KO||2 (10), 0:20||Feb 15, 1972||Beaumont, Texas, U.S.|
|37||Win||35–2||Ted Gullick||KO||6 (10)||Feb 1, 1972||Packard Music Hall, Warren, Ohio, U.S.|
|36||Win||34–2||Del Morris||KO||3 (10), 2:40||Nov 28, 1971||Bryant, South Dakota, U.S.|
|35||Win||33–2||Cleo Daniels||KO||2 (10)||Nov 23, 1971||Packard Music Hall, Warren, Ohio, U.S.|
|34||Win||32–2||Elmo Henderson||KO||4 (10), 2:35||Oct 28, 1971||Sahara Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.|
|33||Win||31–2||Charlie Boston||KO||2 (10), 1:55||Oct 16, 1971||Dean Chance Gymnasium, Akron, Ohio, U.S.|
|32||Win||30–2||Pat Duncan||KO||5 (10)||Sep 28, 1971||Primadonna, Reno, Nevada, U.S.||Won vacant Nevada State heavyweight title|
|31||Win||29–2||Richard Pittman||KO||1 (10)||Aug 11, 1971||Silver Slipper, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|30||Win||28–2||Bill McMurray||KO||1 (10), 2:56||Jul 13, 1971||Sahara Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.|
|29||Win||27–2||Bill Hardney||KO||1 (10), 1:52||Jun 29, 1971||Western Reserve Field, Warren, Ohio, U.S.|
|28||Win||26–2||Chuck Leslie||KO||10 (10), 1:15||Jun 10, 1971||Sahara Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.|
|27||Win||25–2||Willie Johnson||TKO||4 (10), 0:33||Apr 24, 1971||Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa, Florida, U.S.|
|26||Win||24–2||Mac Harrison||KO||2 (10), 1:16||Apr 21, 1971||Dean Chance Gymnasium, Akron, Ohio, U.S.|
|25||Win||23–2||Young Agabab||KO||1 (10)||Mar 24, 1971||Silver Slipper, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|24||Win||22–2||Steve Carter||TKO||1 (10)||Mar 3, 1971||Silver Slipper, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|23||Win||21–2||Dick Gosha||TKO||5 (10), 2:38||Feb 17, 1971||Armory, Akron, Ohio, U.S.|
|22||Win||20–2||Johnny Mac||KO||3 (10)||Feb 3, 1971||Silver Slipper, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|21||Win||19–2||Nat Shaver||KO||1 (6)||Jan 15, 1971||Convention Center, Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.|
|20||Win||18–2||Lee Estes||KO||2 (8)||Jan 6, 1971||Silver Slipper, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|19||Win||17–2||Bunky Akins||KO||1 (6), 0:59||Dec 7, 1970||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|18||Win||16–2||Johnny Mac||TKO||4 (8)||Nov 18, 1970||Fitch High School Gym, Austintown, Ohio, U.S.|
|17||Win||15–2||John Hudgins||KO||1 (6), 0:55||Oct 14, 1970||Moonlight Gardens Ballroom, Canton, Ohio, U.S.|
|16||Win||14–2||Don Branch||KO||1 (6)||Sep 12, 1970||Cooper Stadium, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.|
|15||Win||13–2||Jim Daniels||KO||1 (10)||Aug 29, 1970||Fitch High School Gym, Austintown, Ohio, U.S.|
|14||Loss||12–2||Ron Stander||KO||5 (8), 0:52||May 11, 1970||Civic Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.|
|13||Win||12–1||Frank Smith||KO||4 (6)||Apr 14, 1970||Moonlight Gardens Ballroom, Canton, Ohio, U.S.|
|12||Win||11–1||Ron Asher||KO||1 (8), 0:58||Mar 23, 1970||Fitch High School Gym, Austintown, Ohio, U.S.|
|11||Win||10–1||Art Miller||TKO||1 (6), 2:41||Mar 10, 1970||Moonlight Gardens Ballroom, Canton, Ohio, U.S.|
|10||Win||9–1||Abe Brown||TKO||5 (6), 1:35||Jan 27, 1970||Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|9||Win||8–1||Joe Byrd||TKO||3 (6), 1:35||Jan 24, 1970||Memorial Auditorium, Canton, Ohio, U.S.|
|8||Win||7–1||Abe Brown||TKO||1 (6), 1:44||Jan 7, 1970||Armory, Akron, Ohio, U.S.|
|7||Win||6–1||Chico Froncano||KO||1 (4), 2:05||Dec 18, 1969||Memorial Auditorium, Canton, Ohio, U.S.|
|6||Win||5–1||Gene Idelette||KO||2 (6)||Dec 9, 1969||Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|5||Win||4–1||J. D. McCauley||KO||2 (4), 2:18||Dec 4, 1969||Armory, Akron, Ohio, U.S.|
|4||Win||3–1||Lee Roy||KO||3 (6), 2:20||Nov 21, 1969||Municipal Auditorium, Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S.|
|3||Loss||2–1||Stan Johnson||UD||4||Nov 13, 1969||Ice Arena, Seattle, Washington, U.S.|
|2||Win||2–0||George Holden||KO||1 (6), 1:01||Nov 11, 1969||Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|1||Win||1–0||Silas Howell||TKO||1 (4), 2:20||Nov 6, 1969||Armory, Akron, Ohio, U.S.||Professional debut|
Titles in boxing
|United States heavyweight champion
|New title||Nevada State heavyweight champion
September 28, 1971 – October 1978
Title next held byMike Weaver
- 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
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