After a short but notable amateur career, Earnie Shavers earned the nickname ‘Black Destroyer,’ winning 44 of his first 47 professional fights by KO (including a streak of 27 straight KOs). 20 of these victories were in the first round. With the help of promoter Don King, Shavers quickly rose through the ranks, earning prominence with his first round KO of former WBA Heavyweight Champ Jimmy Ellis.
In his legendary fight against Muhammad Ali, Shavers was hurt badly by an overhand right in the second round, but stood tall and exchanged rounds on the scorecard throughout the fight. To win, Ali just had to survive the last three rounds, but the ‘Black Destroyer’ came alive in the thirteenth round and battered Ali, putting him ‘on very wobbly legs’ going into the 15th round. Ali went on to win the decision, but the Sports Illustrated cover story on the fight read ‘ALI’S DESPERATE HOUR,’ and Ali went on record saying, “Earnie hit me so hard, it shook my kinfolk back in Africa.’
After a first round knockout of Ken Norton, who had beaten Muhammad Ali, Shavers lost a title fight against Larry Holmes in Caesars Palace in 1979. In addition to the trio of Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, and Ken Norton; Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb, Ron Lyle, and Joe Bugner all credited Shavers as being the hardest puncher that they ever faced in the ring. He continued to fight off and on professionally before retiring in 1995.
Today, Earnie Shavers is an ordained Christian Minister.
Earnie Shavers vs. Kenny Norton:
Earnie Shavers vs. Muhammad Ali: