Earnie Shavers

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Earnie Shavers
Real nameEarnie Dee Shaver
Nickname(s)The Dark Destroyer
The Acorn
Rated atHeavyweight
Height6 ft 0 12 in (1.84 m)
Reach77 in (196 cm)
Born(1945-08-31) August 31, 1945 (age 69)
Garland, Alabama, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights89
Wins by KO68
No contests0
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Earnie Shavers
Real nameEarnie Dee Shaver
Nickname(s)The Dark Destroyer
The Acorn
Rated atHeavyweight
Height6 ft 0 12 in (1.84 m)
Reach77 in (196 cm)
Born(1945-08-31) August 31, 1945 (age 69)
Garland, Alabama, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights89
Wins by KO68
No contests0

Earnie Shavers (born August 31, 1945) is a retired American professional boxer. Shavers is considered by some boxing historians to be the hardest puncher of all time[citation needed]. He scored 68 KO wins in total, and 50 of those knockout wins came inside three rounds. Shavers released an autobiography about his life and his fights, called "Welcome to the Big Time" in 2002. He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States.

Notable Fights[edit]

Amateur career[edit]

Prior to turning professional, Shavers had a short but notable amateur career. He was the 1969 National AAU Heavyweight champion.

Early professional career[edit]

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 in which Shavers was nearly knocked out. The latter Shavers always said was one of the toughest of his whole career.

Shavers vs Ali[edit]

Shavers, fought Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden on September 29, 1977.[1] 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.[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.[3]

Shavers v Norton/Holmes[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Shavers during a 2005 interview.

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".[4]

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[5] 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.

He is also a Patron of The Shannon Bradshaw Trust,[6] 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[edit]

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 60s. 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 Ring Magazine. Within the sport of boxing, he is widely considered to be the hardest puncher of all time.[citation needed]

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[edit]

74 Wins (68 knockouts, 6 decisions), 14 Losses (7 knockouts, 7 decisions), 1 Draw [7]
Loss74-14-1United States Brian YatesKO2 (10)24 Nov 1995Wisconsin Ho-Chunk Casino, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, United States
Win74-13-1United States Brian MorganPTS819 Sep 1995Nebraska Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Win73-13-1United States Larry SimsKO1 (10)16 May 1987Ohio Cincinnati Technical College Gymnasium, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Loss72-13-1United States George ChaplinDQ9 (10)1 Mar 1983Maryland Civic Center, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Win72-12-1United States Rahim MuhammadPTS1029 Jan 1983Texas El Paso, Texas, United States
Win71-12-1United States Tony PereaKO7 (10)5 Nov 1982Texas El Paso, Texas, United States
Win70-12-1United States Phil ClinardTKO2 (8)14 Oct 1982Oklahoma Duke's Country Nightclub, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
Win69-12-1United States Chuck GardnerKO2 (10)5 Sep 1982Wisconsin Wales, Tulsa, Wisconsin, United States
Loss68-12-1United States Walter SantemoreUD1017 Aug 1982Louisiana Blackham Coliseum, Lafayette, Louisiana, United States
Win68-11-1United States Billy Joe ThomasKO5 (10)22 Jun 1982Texas Astro Arena, Houston, Tulsa, Texas, United States
Loss67-11-1United States James TillisUD1011 Jun 1982Nevada Caesars Palace, Houston, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win67-10-1United States Danny SuttonTKO7 (10)15 May 1982South Carolina Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Win66-10-1Australia Joe BugnerTKO2 (10)8 May 1982Texas Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas, United StatesBugner down in the first round. Fight stopped due to Bugner's cut
Win65-10-1United States Ali HaakimPTS1022 Apr 1982Michigan Grand Traverse Hilton, Traverse City, Michigan, United States
Win64-10-1United States Jeff SimsKO5? (10)11 Dec 1981The Bahamas Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, Nassau, BahamasShavers down in first round. Fight was announced as stopped at 1:30 of Round 4
Win63-10-1United States Mike RodgersKO2 (10)9 Sep 1981Michigan Civic Center, Lansing, Michigan, United States
Win62-10-1United States Terrel WilliamsKO2 (10)29 Jul 1981Michigan Civic Center, Saginaw, Michigan, United States
Win61-10-1United States Ted HamiltonKO2 (10)17 Oct 1980Florida Auditorium, West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
Loss60-10-1United States Randall CobbTKO8 (10)2 Aug 1980Michigan Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, United States
Win60-9-1United States Leroy BooneUD1014 Jun 1980Ohio Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Loss59-9-1Colombia Bernardo MercadoTKO8 (10)2 Aug 1980New Jersey Great Gorge Resort, McAfee, New Jersey, United StatesMercado down in the third, and then floored Shavers in the seventh before the stoppage.
Loss59-8-1United States Larry HolmesTKO11 (15)28 Sep 1979Nevada Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesFor WBC Heavyweight title. Holmes was down in round 7.
Win59-7-1United States Virgin Islands Eddie ParotteTKO3 (10)25 May 1979Ohio Richfield, Ohio, United States
Win58-7-1United States Ken NortonTKO1 (12)23 Mar 1979Nevada Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win57-7-1United States Harold CarterKO3 (10)4 Dec 1978Michigan Saginaw, Michigan, United States
Win56-7-1United States John GirowskiKO4 (10)9 Oct 1978Virginia Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia, United States
Win55-7-1United States Harry TerrellRTD2 (10)20 Jul 1978Virginia The Dome Civic Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia, United StatesTerrell floored twice in the first round. Terrell did not come out for the second.
Loss54-7-1United States Larry HolmesUD1225 Mar 1978Nevada Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesEliminator for WBC Heavyweight title.
Loss54-6-1United States Muhammad AliUD1529 Sep 1977New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United StatesFor WBC & WBA Heavyweight titles.
Win54-5-1United States Howard SmithKO2 (10)16 Apr 1977Nevada The Aladdin, Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesSmith down three times in first round.
Win53-5-1United States Roy WilliamsKO10 (10)11 Dec 1976Nevada The Aladdin, Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesShavers down in round 10 before stopping Williams.
Win52-5-1United States Henry ClarkTKO2 (10)28 Sep 1976New York Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United States
Win51-5-1United States Henry ClarkPTS1028 Mar 1976Île-de-France Pavillon de Paris, Paris, France
Win50-5-1United States Tommy HowardKO3 (10)13 Nov 1975Pennsylvania Howard Johnson's, Monroeville, Pennsylvania, United States
Loss49-5-1United States Ron LyleTKO6 (10)13 Sep 1975Colorado Denver, Colorado, United StatesLyle was knocked down in the 2nd, Shavers down in the 6th round.
Win49-4-1Jamaica Oliver WrightKO3 (10)8 May 1975Maryland Steelworkers Hall, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Win48-4-1United States Rochelle NorrisKO10 (10)9 Apr 1975New York Binghamton, New York, United States
Win47-4-1United States Leon ShawKO1 (10)11 Feb 1975Florida Orlando, Florida, United States
Draw46-4-1United States Jimmy YoungPTS1026 Nov 1974Maryland Capitol Center, Landover, Maryland, United States
Loss46–4United States Bob StallingsUD104 Nov 1974New York Felt Forum, New York, New York, United StatesShavers down in 9th round.
Win46–3United States Roy WallaceKO1 (10)16 May 1974California Civic Auditorium, San Jose, California, United States
Loss45–3United States Jerry QuarryTKO1 (10)14 Dec 1973New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Win45–2United States Jimmy EllisKO1 (10)18 Jun 1973New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Win44–2United States Harold CarterKO1 (10)12 May 1973Ontario Arena, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Win43–2United States Jimmy YoungTKO1 (10)19 Feb 1973Pennsylvania Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win42–2United States Leroy CaldwellKO2 (10)25 Oct 1972Ohio High School Gym, Newton Falls, Ohio, United States
Win41–2United States A J StaplesKO1 (10)22 Sep 1972Ohio Moonlight Gardens Ballroom, Canton, Ohio, United States
Win40–2Venezuela Vicente RondonUD1026 Aug 1972Ohio Canton, Ohio, United States
Win39–2United States Lou BaileyKO2 (10)5 May 1972Ohio Akron, Ohio, United States
Win38–2Canada Bob FelsteinKO5 (10)22 Apr 1972Ohio Akron, Ohio, United States
Win37–2United States Charley PoliteKO3 (10)6 Apr 1972Ohio Packard Music Hall, Warren, Ohio, United States
Win36–2United States Elgie WaltersKO2 (10)15 Feb 1972Texas Beaumont, Texas, United States
Win35–2United States Ted GullickKO6 (10)1 Feb 1972Ohio Packard Music Hall, Warren, Ohio, United States
Win34–2United States Del MorrisKO3 (10)30 Nov 1971Indiana Bryant, Indiana, United States
Win33–2United States Elmo Tex HendersonKO4 (10)29 Oct 1971Nevada Stateline, Nevada, United States
Win32–2United States Charlie BostonKO2 (10)17 Oct 1971Ohio Akron, Ohio, United States
Win31–2United States Pat DuncanKO5 (10)28 Sep 1971Nevada Reno, Nevada, United StatesWon USA Nevada State Heavyweight title.
Win30–2United States Richard PittmanKO1 (10)11 Aug 1971Nevada Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win29–2United States Bill McMurrayKO1 (10)13 Jul 1971Nevada Sahara Tahoe Hotel, Stateline, Nevada, United States
Win28–2United States Bill HardneyKO1 (10)29 Jun 1971Ohio Western Reserve Field, Warren, Ohio, United States
Win27–2United States Chuck LeslieKO10 (10)10 Jun 1971Nevada Sahara Tahoe Hotel, Stateline, Nevada, United States
Win26–2United States Willie JohnsonTKO4 (10)24 Apr 1971Florida Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa, Florida, United States
Win25–2United States Mac HarrisonKO2 (10)21 Apr 1971Ohio Akron, Ohio, United States
Win24–2Nigeria Young AgababKO1 (10)24 Mar 1971Nevada Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win23–2United States Steve CarterTKO1 (10)3 Mar 1971Nevada Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesCarter down three times.
Win22–2United States Dick GoshaTKO5 (10)17 Feb 1971Ohio Armory, Akron, Ohio, United States
Win21–2United States Johnny MacKO3 (10)3 Feb 1971Nevada Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win20–2United States Nat ShaverKO1 (6)16 Jan 1971Florida Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win19–2United States Lee EstesKO2 (8)6 Jan 1971Nevada Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win18–2United States Jim CarefelliKO2 (10)11 Dec 1970Ohio Austintown Fitch High School Gym, Youngstown, Ohio, United States
Win17–2United States Bunky AkinsKO1 (6)7 Dec 1970New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Win16–2United States Johnny MacTKO4 (8)18 Nov 1970Ohio Austintown Fitch High School Gym, Youngstown, Ohio, United States
Win15–2United States John HudginsKO1 (6)14 Oct 1970Ohio Canton, Ohio, United States
Win14–2United States Don BranchKO1 (6)12 Sep 1970Ohio Cooper Arena, Columbus, Ohio, United States
Win13–2Jim DanielsKO1 (6)29 Aug 1970Ohio Austintown Fitch High School Gym, Youngstown, Ohio, United States
Loss12–2United States Ron StanderKO5 (8)11 May 1970Nebraska Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Win12–1Frank SmithKO4 (6)14 Apr 1970Ohio Canton, Ohio, United States
Win11–1United States Ron AsherKO1 (8)23 Mar 1970Ohio Fitch High Gym, Youngstown, Ohio, United States
Win10–1United States Art MillerKO1 (6)6 Mar 1970Ohio Canton, Ohio, United States
Win9–1United States Abe BrownTKO5 (6)27 Jan 1970Florida Orlando, Florida, United States
Win8–1United States Joe ByrdKO3 (6)24 Jan 1970Ohio Canton, Ohio, United States
Win7–1United States Abe BrownKO1 (6)7 Jan 1970Ohio Akron, Ohio, United States
Win6–1United States Gene IdeletteKO1 (6)26 Dec 1969Florida Orlando, Florida, United States
Win5–1United States Chico FroncanoKO1 (6)18 Dec 1969Ohio Canton, Ohio, United States
Win4–1United States J D McCauleyKO2 (6)4 Dec 1969Ohio Akron, Ohio, United States
Win3–1Lee RoyKO3 (6)21 Nov 1969South Dakota Rapid City, South Dakota, United States
Loss2–1United States Stan JohnsonUD613 Nov 1969Washington (state) Arena, Seattle, Washington, United States
Win2–0United States George HoldenKO1 (6)11 Nov 1969Florida Orlando Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida, United States
Win1–0United States Silas HowellKO2 (6)6 Nov 1969Ohio Akron, Ohio, United States


  1. ^ Mulvaney, Kieran (2011-11-28). "Remembering Ron Lyle". ESPN. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  2. ^ Keown, Tim (2012-01-17). "70 reasons to celebrate Muhammad Ali". ESPN. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  3. ^ Bob Westerdale (2007-09-04). "Junior's close Shave with ring legend Ernie". The Star. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  4. ^ Romano, Frederick V. (August 27, 2004). The boxing filmography: American features, 1920–2003. McFarland & Company. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-7864-1793-3. 
  5. ^ Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International FGBMFI UK & Ireland empower men for life
  6. ^ Shannon Bradshaw Trust
  7. ^ http://www.boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=000320&cat=boxer

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
George Foreman
United States Amateur Heavyweight Champion
Succeeded by
Ron Lyle