Saturday, 23 November 2013


                                     BLACK                    SOCIAL              HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Earnie Shavers born August 31, 1945 , is a former professional American boxer, who competed in the heavyweight division. Shavers is considered to be one of the hardest punchers in boxing history. This is a respectable claim which has been comfirmed by former opponents namely; Ron Lyle, Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Ken Norton and Joe Bugner. In his long career he scored 68 KO's in 74 wins. He finished 50 opponents within three rounds and 23 opponents in the first round.
His greatest victories came against Vicente Rondon, Jimmy Young, Jimmy Ellis, Ken Norton, and Joe Bugner.
Shavers fought for the world heavyweight championship on two occasions, but was unsuccessful in his challenge. The first time in 1977 against Muhammad Ali and the second time in 1979 against Larry Holmes. Although he did badly hurt both champions during their bouts.
The late boxing historian Bert Randolph Sugar ranked Earnie Shavers as the hardest puncher of all time, and even the late legendary trainer Angelo Dundee respectfully noted "He can get you out of there with any shot.

Amateur career

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 "White Hope" 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. 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. 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 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.[2] Fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco also urged to 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.

Later 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 surgery as boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.

Fighting style

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

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".[4]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.
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. On occasion Shavers was a troubleshooting referee in professional wrestling after his retirement.
He is also a Patron of The Shannon Bradshaw Trust, a children's charity based in Warrington, Cheshire, helping children with life threatening conditions, and their families.
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.

Personal life

Shavers was married to Laverne Payne and has eight daughters, Tamara, Cynthia, two daughters named Catherine, Carla, Amy, Lisa, Natasha and a son named Earnie Jr.. He also has eleven grandchildren. He worked at General Motors in Lordstown Ohio in the late 60s. Shavers was a guest appearance in the Irish TV programme "The Late Late Show" hosted by Ron Lyle where the two fighters discussed their previous bout that had previously 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 hung up 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 Ring Magazine. Shavers was given the title of "Puncher of the Century". 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