EARNIE SHAVERS/MUHAMMAD ALI
Madison Square Garden, New York
September 29, 1977
Ali won a 15-round unanimous decision
About Earnie Shavers
Born August 31, 1945 in Garland, AL
Currently resides in Warren, OH
Career record: 74 wins (68 KO/23 in the 1st round), 14 defeats, 1 draw
"The Black Destroyer"
Many boxing historians consider Shavers to be the hardest puncher of all time. In one of his bouts, he hit his opponent so hard that his glove burst apart and had to be replaced. Ali often referred to Shavers as "The Acorn" because of his bald head, but after their fight said "Earnie hit me so hard, it shook my kinfolk back to Africa". Though Ali won a unanimous decision, he didn't look great doing so, and Garden matchmaker Teddy Brenner tried to encourage Ali to retire by refusing to ever offer or host another Ali match-up.
Exactly two years after being defeated by Ali, Shavers once again fought for the heavyweight title, this time against Larry Holmes. Shavers was knocked out in the 11th round. That would be the last time he fought for the title, though he continued to fight for several years, despite having retinal eye surgery.
Shavers became an ordained Christian minister and pastored in Phoenix for many years before moving to pastor a church in England. In his capacity as a man of the cloth, he preached at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, and is a patron of the Shannon Bradshaw Trust, a children's charity in Cheshire, England. The father of five daughters and grandfather of 11, Shavers, George Foreman and Ali have become good friends over the years.