Heavyweight Puncher Earnie Shavers Dies At 78

Boxing has reportedly lost one of its hardest punchers in heavyweight history.

Earnie Shavers died on Thursday – a day after turning 78. His cause of death has yet to be announced.

Shavers began his career in 1969.

He challenged for the heavyweight title twice. The first was on September 29, 1977 against Muhammad Ali, who he survived, but ended up losing a 15-round unanimous decision.

The second shot came on September 28, 1979, but Shaver fell short via an 11th round stoppage against Larry Holmes. Shavers was able to send Holmes to the canvas in the seventh round of the bout.

And that’s what Ali and Holmes credited Shavers the most for: his punching power.

Even former world champion George Foreman – who was also known for his punches – said during an interview, “I never fought Earnie Shavers. Thank goodness.”

Though Shavers (74-14-1, 68 KOs) never got to hold the title, he had some huge wins that included knocking out Ken Norton in the first round in 1979, a first-round knockout of Jimmy Ellis in 1973 and a third-round stoppage of Jimmy Young in 1973.

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