|Real name||Earnie Dee Shaver|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Reach||79 in (201 cm)|
|Born||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 1983, with two further comebacks in 1987 and 1995. A two-time world heavyweight championship challenger, Shavers is known for being one of the hardest punchers in boxing history. He scored 68 knockout wins with 46 of them in the first 3 rounds and 23 first round knockouts. He holds a 91.8% knockout-to-win ratio, and a 76.4% overall knockout ratio.
Shavers had two world title fights, against Muhammad Ali in 1977 and Larry Holmes in 1978. He scored a seventh-round knockdown against Holmes, and badly hurt Ali in the second round. Shavers never won a world title, but defeated former world champions Vicente Rondón, Jimmy Ellis and Ken Norton, as well as contenders Jimmy Young and Joe Bugner.
In 2001, Shavers released an autobiography called Welcome to the Big Time. Since retiring from boxing he has attended boxing events as a special guest, autograph signer, and motivational speaker.
Shavers started boxing at the fairly late age of 22. Prior to turning professional, Shavers had a short but notable amateur career, winning the 1969 National AAU heavyweight title.
Tony Mange, National Golden Gloves director, said of him in March 1969, "I saw Shaver last year in Salt Lake City. He carries a hefty punch." He had nine straight knockout wins prior to his knockout loss in the hands of the 230-pound West German Horst Koschemann.
Cleveland Golden Gloves, Cleveland, Ohio, 1968:
National Team Selection Eliminator, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, October 1969:
Shavers has posted a 20–6 amateur record as a heavyweight and has recorded 14 knockouts (with half losses also by knockout.)
Known as the "Black Destroyer", Shavers won 44 of his first 47 fights by knockout; mostly against unremarkable opposition. This included 27 consecutive knockouts, of which 20 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 Cleveland-based promoter Don King to be his manager. His wins included a novice Jimmy Young who later became a 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, a match Shavers maintains was one of the toughest of his career.
Main article: Muhammad Ali vs. Earnie Shavers
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 Sports Illustrated 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. Ali's 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, stating "Earnie hit me so hard, it shook my kinfolk back in Africa" although Ali had previously used this quip in reference to other hard-hitting opponents.
In a mandatory title challenge eliminator he knocked out former champion 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 Paradise, NV 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, in a wild slugfest he was stopped in the eighth round by durable prospect Randall "Tex" Cobb. Prior to the Cobb fight, Shavers had undergone eye surgery for a detached retina. (Since eye surgery was not nearly as refined then as it is today, the majority of boxers retired for good after that kind of injury. In the words of Duane Ford, a detached retina for a boxer was like an AIDS diagnosis). Shavers had not fully recovered from the surgery when he came back for the Cobb fight. 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, and 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 said "He can get you out of there with any kind of shot", referring to Shavers's ability to inflict damage with a left hook, right cross or right uppercut. Several boxers famous for their tough chins had fallen to Shavers's punches, including Bugner and Ellis who were felled by his uppercut.
Shavers 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 responded with a strong jabbing performance to beat Clark, himself noted for his jabbing ability, on points.
Shavers published a video of highlights of his career in 1992 titled Earnie D. Shavers, The hardest one-punch hitter, and later an autobiography.
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". However, according to Rhonda Young, the film's casting director, the reason why he was eventually not chosen for the part is that his voice was too high-pitched and not menacing enough (Joe Frazier was also considered but, reportedly, couldn't even read the character's lines without stuttering).
Shavers visited Ali several times and he says he, Ali, and George Foreman became very good friends over the years. Foreman, when asked about toughest and hardest punching opponent he ever met in the ring, said:
Foreman: You only meet three genuine punchers throughout your career: Gerry Cooney, Ronnie Lyle and Cleveland Williams, and they hit so hard that it vibrates your body even if you block, it just goes right through you.
Letterman: What about Ernie Shavers?
Foreman: I never fought Earnie Shavers. Thank goodness.
Shavers accepted the invitation of the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International to preach at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
Earnie also worked in Liverpool in the UK, as head of security at Hannah's bar, where he was very much respected. The staff of Hannah's bar say that he does not work there now. Until 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.
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.
Shavers was married to Laverne Payne. They had five daughters from their marriage together: Tamara, Cynthia, Catherine, Carla, and Amy. He also has four daughters and a son from other relationships: Catherine, Lisa, Natasha and Latonya, and a son, Earnie, Jr. He has 24 grandchildren and one great grandchild. 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 attempted two abbreviated comebacks–—a fight in 1987, and two in 1995, in the second of which he was KO'd by Brian Yates in round 2. After this loss, Shavers retired for good.
Shavers has been named among the top-10 punchers in boxing history by The Ring and others.
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.
|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||Mar 8, 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||KO||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), 3:00||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 19, 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||Johnny 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||TKO||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||Gene Idelette||TKO||2 (6)||Dec 23, 1969||Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|6||Win||5–1||Chico Froncano||KO||1 (4), 2:05||Dec 18, 1969||Memorial Auditorium, Canton, Ohio, 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), 2:30||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), 2:05||Nov 6, 1969||Armory, Akron, Ohio, U.S.|