Earnie Shavers: Pure Power, Pure Punching, Pure Passion

shavers643277Having just read another article on heavyweight punching legend Earnie Shavers (this fascinating piece on Ringtv.com), I wanted to put up my own piece on “The Acorn,” a man who was once dubbed “The Puncher of The Century.”

I’ve had the privilege of speaking with the 1970’s and early ’80’s heavyweight terror a number of times and here he kindly lists for me his top-three all-time heavyweight punchers; as well as telling me how he feels he would have done – in his pure-punching, zinging prime – against fellow legends, Tyson, Foreman, Liston and today’s kings, the Klitschkos.

Earnie’s top-three heavyweight KO artists:

“The three hardest punching heavyweights ever are: me, Ron Lyle and George Foreman. We were the three hardest ever.”

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How Shavers would have done Vs. Iron Mike:

“I believe I would have KO’d Tyson. But Tyson, he would never have wanted any part of me. Because of Cus [D’Amato] – he warned Tyson about hard hitters like myself. He [Cus] wouldn’t have let him take such a fight.”

How Shavers would have done Vs. Foreman and Liston:

“Foreman, he never wanted to fight me either. I’d have stopped him in around four-rounds. And I believe I’d have KO’d Liston as well, he was too old and slow.”

Shavers Vs. the Klitschkos:

“I’ve seen a lot of their fights, and they’re okay. But in my opinion, if they had been around in my day, you would not have even heard of them. Myself, I’d have worked inside, then attacked the body first, to bring the hands down, and then I’d have gone to the head. I’d have landed shots to the heart, a left hook to the kidney, and then shot a right hand to the head. Then you’d have heard ‘Timbeeerrr!! I loved facing big, slow guys like that. I wouldn’t have had any problems with them. In fact, it’s not just me [who would have beaten the Klitschkos], guys like Ali, Holmes and Foreman, along with myself, we’d all have been way too much for the Klitschkos.”

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Shavers’ own favourite KO:

“My personal favourite KO that I scored is the one I got over Jimmy Young in 1973. He was a real slick fighter, but I hit Jimmy clean and stopped him in the 3rd-round. That was the first time I fought him. The KO win of mine that really got me into the big time was my KO of Jimmy Ellis (also in 1973).”

Shavers on the best fighter he ever went in with:

“Ali was the best fighter I faced, hands down. He was better than Holmes and all the other guys. I’m grateful that I had the chance to fight great guys like Ali and Holmes. I realise I was part of a golden era.”

Shavers on his toughest pro fight:

“Roy Tiger Williams was a real tough guy. He was so durable, and he was a mean guy. He was so tough and relentless. I was down and hurt in the tenth-round of that fight but I stopped him that same round. That was such a hard fight for me.”

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Shavers’ biggest career regret:

“I wish I could fight the second Larry Holmes fight all over again. In the 7th-round when I had him down and hurt, I wasted too many punches trying to finish him. I got excited and I got tired and he recovered. If I could do that fight over again I’d have been more patient and not gotten excited. I know I had him!”

Shavers on the hardest-ever puncher Pound-for-Pound (aside from himself):

“I’d say Tommy Hearns, he had brutal punching power! Then my old trainer, Archie Moore; he was so smart, and such a dangerous puncher. Archie really knew how to place his punches.”