The Big Bombers: Shavers & Co.

By Mike Casey on April 2, 2012
The Big Bombers: Shavers & Co.
He was the scaremonger of the division, frightening but flawed, a man to avoid if possible.

Like a big shark casting its shadow, you simply never knew what Shavers was going to do next. Would he simply bump you or take a big bite?

Where does Earnie Shavers stand among the hardest hitting heavyweights in history? Statistically, he is up there with the gods, with an eye-popping 69 knockouts in his 75 career wins. But as we all know, one of the eternal and frustrating charms of boxing is that we can never conclusively prove what we believe to be right when tackling the eternally thorny exercise of comparing the fighters of past and present.

Now, if you will, consider the following ranking:

1. Joe Louis
2. Sam Langford
3. Jack Dempsey
4. Bob Fitzsimmons
5. George Foreman
6. Earnie Shavers
7. Rocky Marciano
8. Sonny Liston
9. Mike Tyson
10. Lennox Lewis

Before anyone starts chucking rocks at the old scribe here, I should hasten to explain that this little list is no property of mine and does not represent a 1-to-10 of the greatest heavyweight boxers in history.

Several years ago, the writers of The Ring magazine (when The Ring was still taken semi-seriously) compiled an exhaustive ranking of the greatest pound-for-pound punchers of all weight divisions. All I have done here is to pick out the heavyweights in their order of merit.

Firstly, I have no argument with the inclusion of any of the men on this list, and I wouldn’t dare tell the surviving members if I did. Secondly, we can argue long into the night about the running order. After more than 30 years as a boxing journalist, historian and incurable statistician, I continue to have a love/hate relationship with just about every top-10 list I compile. I fiddle with it, reshuffle it, hum and haw over it and frequently junk the whole darn thing and start over. Trust me, it can become a very unhealthy obsession.

Where The Ring’s order of merit list is concerned, I simply want to throw one mischievous question out into the alley and see how our cats here chew it over: Should Earnie Shavers be rated higher or lower than sixth?

Big banging Earnie was a thrilling conundrum throughout his career, a marauding fringe player who kept the elite on their toes by throwing in the occasional stick of dynamite whenever the heavyweight waters became mild and stagnant. He was never going to win the richest prize in sport, because he was too erratic and too fragile at the very top level. That goes with the territory for so many big hitters.

But Shavers was undoubtedly one of the most dangerous heavyweights to ever grace the stage, a one-man minefield in the way of the wild and wonderful Bob Satterfield before him. Earnie was the long residing scaremonger of the division, frightening but flawed, the man to avoid if possible. Like a big shark casting its shadow, you simply never knew what Shavers was going to do next. Would he simply bump you or take a big bite?

We all love a major league hitter, but we are especially fond of vulnerable punchers who provide no hint of the outcome when they step into the ring.

Take another look at our list and you will see why Shavers remains a fascinating outsider. In terms of overall ability, he never got close to those men with whom he keeps company here. Nor could he compete with them in durability and punch resistance.

What he did possess was that one prized asset that never fails to thrill boxing fans and make them gasp in awe and admiration when it hits the mark: the knockout wallop. It didn’t matter that Shavers was a quiet fellow by nature. His ability to stop opponents in their tracks with a blast from either fist gave him all the charisma he needed.

Punching power

The fascination of punching power in boxing is that logic so infrequently plays a part in the multi-faceted equation. Teach a big fellow to hit a golf ball correctly and he will nearly always hit it out of sight, well beyond the distance achieved by a man of smaller stature. In boxing, as we know, it doesn’t always follow that a muscled giant will hit the hardest, or indeed that he will be able to hit at all. Look at the pictures of the great hitters throughout history, especially from the lower weight divisions, and so many of them could pass for bank clerks or librarians when you see them in their street clothes. Many have that deceptive choirboy look of Steve Buscemi in The Sopranos and the classic sloping shoulders from which they derive their leverage.

Properly taught technique and the right attitude will go a long way to adding power to a fighter’s arsenal, but will only ever represent a percentage of the required recipe. So many boxers who show promise are never taught to throw punches correctly. You wonder how their so-called trainers get a job.

This is not a modern disease. It has been going on for the last few decades and a lot of potential talent has gone to waste as a result. There are legions of preliminary boys who have all the enthusiasm you could wish for, yet they punch incorrectly and know next to nothing about weight transference, pivoting or maximizing the knockout power they might well possess. Bad habits that go uncorrected eventually become ingrained.

At the end of it all, however, the mighty knockout blow and the commitment to throw it is a gift of the gods and not bestowed upon any old fighter who might look the part. Trainers who know their business specialize in honing and polishing rough diamonds. If the diamond isn’t part of the package, there is nothing to be had.

Earnie Shavers had no such problems. The big punches flowed and the opponents fell with blissful regularity for Earnie. Natural punching power is a marvelous gift for a fighter to have. Those of you of a certain vintage will recall a contemporary of Earnie’s in the big-hitting Jeff Merritt.

Candy Slim, as he was known, was tall and lanky and possessed devastating power. He broke Shavers’ jaw in sparring and soared to prominence by wrecking the fading Ernie Terrell in one round at Madison Square Garden in 1973. Merritt was sporting a 23-1 record and prompting some excitable writers to reach for every superlative they could find. Two fights later, he was knocked out in one round by Henry Clark, a cute operator but never a big hitter. Then along came Stan Ward to knock out Jeff in three rounds, and that was pretty much it for Candy Slim.

Max Baer, so often derided for being a joker and a playboy, which indeed he was, was as natural a puncher as there ever was with his mighty right hand. When Max dropped the clowning and got serious, he was a frightening proposition. Cast the Carnera farce from your mind and look up Baer’s record. He was right up there with the very best heavyweights in the power rankings. In 1930, he gave Frankie Campbell such a ferocious beating at the Recreation Park in San Francisco that Frankie later died from his injuries. Three years later, when Ernie Schaaf failed to recover from his knockout at the hands of Primo Carnera, many believed that Ernie’s fatal injuries could be traced back to the shellacking he had previously received from Baer.

Max also administered a comprehensive and sustained beating to the peak-form Max Schmeling in their 1933 fight at Yankee Stadium, all of three years before Schmeling shocked Joe Louis.

Distance

Natural knockout punchers can look almost lazy and languid in their delivery. In the penultimate fight of his career, Ingemar Johansson knocked out Dick Richardson in the eight round of their European title fight at Gothenburg, with one of the most deceptively destructive blows I have ever seen. Richardson was a tough and rugged Welshman, yet he was poleaxed by a short right that appeared to do little more than gently caress his chin.

The perfect knockout blow rarely travels more than a foot and the greatest compliment it can receive is when the opponent and the observer admit to not even seeing it. It is the suddenness that catches the breath as much as the following explosion.

When Earnie Shavers knocked out former WBA champion Jimmy Ellis in the opening round in 1973, the big bomb dropped out of nowhere. The two fighters had moved into a corner and were locked in a free-swinging exchange when Earnie pulled the trigger. One bang. It was so often thus with Shavers. One bang, the familiar crunch of the impact and Ellis appearing to partially disintegrate before he even began his fall.

I remember seeing a picture of one of Earnie’s sparring partners around that time, wrapped tightly in the kind of lagging you put around your water tank. He was a big and formidable fellow in his own right, but had grown weary of Shavers rearranging his ribs during their lively sessions.

Shavers undoubtedly belongs with the all-time great heavyweight punchers, but in what context?

The men above Earnie on our list here were of equal power and even greater skill. Joe Louis had a master trainer in Jack Blackburn, an exceptionally good fighter in his own right in the early days of the last century. Louis was a natural, but he was never too proud to listen to sound advice and improve his technique. He was an eager student and all too happy to soak up Blackburn’s great wisdom. Joe could nail his prey early or late, with a single shot or with a volley. He could feint, shift and appear to thread a knockout blow through the eye of a needle. He was an old man when he put Jersey Joe Walcott to sleep in the eleventh round of their rematch.

Jack Dempsey was over the hill when he produced two of his most famous left hooks in despatching Jack Sharkey and very nearly doing the same to Gene Tunney. As Sharkey said, “Dempsey could hit you in the shoulder and dislocate it.” When you zoom in on the old films and measure the length of his knockdown or knockout punches, Manassa Jack continues to lead the field as the greatest short range hitter, and by some distance.

Gene Tunney said of Jack: “He was a great hitter.His right hand to body or jaw was explosive. Even more devastating was his left hook to liver and jaw. Weaving and bobbing, he feinted opponents into leads, slipped those leads and jolted home his short punches to body and head. He hurt and stunned opponents. He knocked them down and, eventually, kept them down.

“The most remarkable thing about Dempsey’s fighting make-up was the shortness of his punching. His blows seldom travelled more than six inches to a foot. He had a trick of hooking his left to the body and then to the head in practically the same movement.”

Sam Langford, with his powerful, thick-set body and abnormally long wingspan, was similarly blessed with natural power, knocking out an incredible 130 of his recorded 182 victims, from lightweight to heavyweight. In the latter part of his career, when his eyesight was severely deteriorating, Sam’s instinct was such that he was still lowering the boom on opponents by listening out for their footwork and anticipating their next move. Langford truly was a one-punch knockout specialist.

Similarly, Bob Fitzsimmons was also able to carry his power up through the weight classes, although it was as a middleweight that he was most destructive. At a time when Australia was a hotbed of fistic talent, Ruby Robert racked up a string of impressive knockouts during his seven-year campaign there from 1883. The famous solar plexus punch with which Fitzsimmons relieved James J Corbett of his heavyweight title at Carson City in 1897, was a potent and debilitating blow. Fitz, at what for him was a heavy 170 lbs., also finished the hulking Ed Dunkhorst (260) with a single blast to the pit of the stomach.

To ascertain just how hard George Foreman could hit, we have the testament of that perennial tough guy contender, George Chuvalo, who compared the effect to being struck by a Cadillac going at 50 mph. One can only hope that Chuvalo didn’t have to suffer the latter experience in order to be able to make the analogy.

Foreman could destroy opponents in any way he had to, and he didn’t have to swing around the houses as he did on his night of madness with Muhammad Ali. As a creaking old timer, George pulled out one of the shortest and most lethal punches you could wish to see in his sudden annihilation of Michael Moorer. A true one-off who actually punched above his weight, George didn’t have to worry about technique or finesse. He was naturally powerful and naturally heavy-handed.

Company

In such exalted company, Earnie Shavers stacks up pretty well in this writer’s estimation. But here is the one strong opinion I have on this issue. I don’t believe that Earnie should be ahead of Rocky Marciano.

Allow me to say at this point that I am not one of those blind Marciano junkies. I don’t rank Rocky as the greatest of all the heavywewights. What does rankle with me no end is that this 187-lb. ring marvel, who had short arms, short legs and virtually no formal boxing education when he started out, has suddenly become everyone’s favorite whipping boy. Does all the spite really boil down to that niggling 49-0 record and the few lucky breaks that come the way of every great champion?

Marciano, of all the great men I have discussed here, was probably the most able practitioner of utilizing his punching power to the maximum. Charley Goldman, a great little trainer, labored over Rocky for hours at a time in the gym when he first began to teach him, sometimes employing the most fundamental routines in drilling his charge on the important points of balance, weight distribution and the correct method of punching.

Like Louis before him, Rocky sucked it all up and learned. At his peak, he didn’t just knock men out, he broke their hearts and occasionally busted the blood vessels in their arms. Roland LaStarza attested to the latter fact.

When Muhammad Ali hooked up with Rocky to film the outcome of their famous computer fight in the late sixties, The Greatest was agog at how hard his opponent could clout after some friendly fire had found the target. By that time, Marciano had been retired for some fifteen years.

Joe Louis once said of Rocky, “He doesn’t know too much about the boxing book, but it wasn’t a boxing book he hit me with. It was a whole library of bone crushers.”

Jersey Joe Walcott, who suffered at the hands of both Louis and Marciano, pointed out that the Brown Bomber mostly took out his opponents with combinations, but that Rocky was “… a one punch artist. With all respect to Joe, Marciano hit harder.”

Jack Dempsey was unstinting in his praise of The Rock. “I’ve scored my share of knockdowns along the way, but more often than not my opponents got up after being knocked down and had to be knocked down repeatedly. The same is true of Joe Louis. But Marciano needs only one solid smash and it’s all over.”

George Foreman rates Marciano the second greatest heavyweight of all time behind Louis, while former middleweight and welterweight champ Carmen Basilio has no doubts that Rocky could cut the mustard in the present era. “Today he’d look like a midget against some of those heavyweights around, but he’d clobber them all.”

What made Rocky special was that he was a genuine, two-fisted knockout puncher who could damage an opponent with equal effect to both head and body. Marciano’s outstanding endurance enabled him to keep firing and he would fire at any available target. As Dempsey and Louis correctly noted, Rocky could knock a man out with a single shot or break his body and his heart over the long haul with a battery of powerful blows.

Scientists tell us (and I’ll be damned if I know how they find out such things) that some 700 foot-pounds of energy is required to lift a man off his feet with an uppercut. Around 1955, Rocky Marciano had his punch measured at a USA military installation, where it is believed that the test was conducted on a ballistic pendulum. Rocky achieved a score of 925 foot-pounds whilst wearing a 12 oz. boxing glove. Those who witnessed the test could hardly believe what they had seen.

Power punching, for all its surface brutality and apparently meaningless violence to the eye of the layman, is a wonderful science. The precious few who genuinely possess it must marry a formidable range of components and make them flow in harmony. These factors include athleticism,  reflexes, natural power, balance, body-to-hand coordination, leverage, follow-through, positioning, snap, timing, speed of body turn, accuracy, commitment to the punch and physicality

Historian Mike Hunnicutt says: “I’m inclined to think that Marciano was the hardest hitter behind Dempsey, because Rocky could hurt you anywhere with both hands. Louis, by contrast, wasn’t a great body puncher. Charley Goldman taught Marciano to punch short with plenty of snap. Rocky had good snap and shoulder turn.

“Some of these vital elements, along with general toughness, are missing from the game in the present era, because the trainers in general aren’t so good and the competition isn’t as fierce. Unless you were damn good in Marciano’s day—a real warrior—you weren’t going anywhere. Any weakness in your game was going to be exploited because the schooling was so tough.”

The ‘It’ factor

If there is one common denominator that links all the men on our list, it is the indefinable ‘it’ factor. In short, they were all unforgettable and Earnie Shavers would surely have to share top billing with anyone for sheer thrills.

I will certainly never forget the night in September, 1979, when the man they called Mister Devastation came to visit me in my hotel room in Salt Lake City. Not literally, you understand. Earnie was actually in the neighboring state of Nevada, priming himself in his corner to commit his usual brand of mayhem on WBC champ Larry Holmes at Caesars Palace.

But I felt that Shavers was with me in spirit at least and I needed a trusted companion after a long and savagely hot day slogging around Bryce Canyon (a story in itself). Splayed out on my vibrating bed, which didn’t vibrate, every bone in my body ached. It was a cheap hotel but at least the TV set worked with the aid of a mild left hook, so everything was riding on Mr. Shavers to provide the evening’s thrills and spills.

It was Earnie’s second and final fling at the big bauble and things didn’t look promising for six rounds as the clever Holmes prudently jabbed, moved and circled.

Then came the seventh.The arrival of the magic moment. In one frenzied flash, the roof of Caesars seemed to fall straight into the ring. Shavers finally connected with a thunderous right to the jaw and Holmes was in another land, his communication cord severed, his body hurling backwards. Earnie, like so many natural punchers, seemed oddly detached from the mighty explosion he had created. As Larry’s body slammed to the deck, it was as if he had been uprooted by a detonation from below the canvas.

Springing up on my bed and knocking over my mug of whiskey laced with coffee, I remember yelling an unpleasant variation of my lord and savior’s name, which is not a good thing to do in downtown Salt Lake. Holmes was out. He had to be. He was on his back with stiffened arms and legs, his body jerking from the aftershock. It was then, not for the first time in his career, that Larry showed the heart of a lion. Incredibly, he got up. He was swaying and rocking and reeling, but he was back in the fray. As he tottered and staggered and Shavers chased and flailed, so the crowd gasped and screamed and squeaked in its excitement and frustration.

Earnie fired and fired again, but Holmes gutted it out to survive one of the most harrowing rounds of his career.

And that was it. One round against the grain, one terrific bolt from the blue, and then the anti-climax of Shavers running out of steam and going down to a TKO defeat in the eleventh. The normal picture had been resumed after a brief and violent rush of static.

In bed that night, I kept thinking about that seventh round. Shavers had the greatest prize of all in his hands, only to let it slip through his fingers like a bar of soap. He was the champion elect and then he wasn’t. The moment had passed, the chance had gone.

No matter. Perhaps the Earnie Shavers story would have lost its romance if Mister Devastation had stepped over the threshold that night and won the heavyweight title. The big shark would have surfaced and lost its aura of mystery and menace.

In all honesty, I don’t know where old Earnie should be on that list of ours. What I know for sure is that he thoroughly deserves his place in the pantheon of boxing’s glory boys.

Mike Casey is a freelance journalist, artist and boxing historian and a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO).

(www.artgallery.co.uk/artist/mike_casey)

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Larry Holmes vs Earnie Shavers ll - [2/6]



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Larry Holmes vs Earnie Shavers ll - [4/6]



Larry Holmes vs Earnie Shavers ll - [5/6]



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  1. Michael Hegan 10:14am, 05/10/2013

    Shavers had two cracks at Larry Holmes.  Earnie and Larry were good friends….and both couple’s went to dinner many times.

    ‘One writer said…when both couples came to Holme’s place after an evening out….finishing with some drinks…...
    Shavers says..to Holmes..’..if you ever disrespect that lady(Holmes lovely wife)..I’ll kick your ass !!’......and Holmes responds….” if you ever dis your lady(Shavers’ wife)...I’ll kick your ass !!”

    Larry’s wife says…..‘Sounds like a whole lotta ass kickn’ to me !!!”

    Earnie Shavers and Larry Holmes made some good money together….and remain good friends to this day.

    Shavers….like FOreman(early version) could knock down a building…but had some stamina issues.  This made SHavers a very attractive money maker….He’d get good matches due to the perceived threat he was….and good fighters would roll the dice….hoping to get a big fight purse….with Shavers…and hopefully get him into the deep end of the pool, where they had a better chance of the win

  2. Jethro's Flute 05:20am, 11/05/2012

    “George Foreman rates Marciano the second greatest heavyweight of all time behind Louis”

    This is quite interesting as I would happily pick George to beat Rocky Marciano in the opening round, probably by one-punch knockout.

    This is because George is a big heavyweight whose power is proven against other big heavyweights while Marciano is a cruiserweight who fought mostly other cruiserweights.

    As for “Shavers truly could punch and as big as the Klitschko brothers are one solid punch from Earnie would finish either one of them. That has already been proven by past opponents.”

    Given that Vitali Klitschko has never been on the canvas in his entire career, this patently is not true.

    Wladimir Klitschko doesn’t have a particularly good chin but he’s never been taken out with one punch either.

    Earnie Shavers has been decked by cruiserweights as well so I reckon that both K brothers and George Foreman and Mike Tyson and possibly Lennox Lewis would beat him in the first round and probably by one-punch knockout.

  3. TEX HASSLER 07:13pm, 04/14/2012

    In reality we have no way to know who was the hardest puncher of all time but it is fun to think about it. Any of the men mentioned could end a fight with one punch if it landed cleanly. Marciano has far more skill than most people today give him credit for and so did Dempsey. Shavers truly could punch and as big as the Klitschko brothers are one solid punch from Earnie would finish either one of them. That has already been proven by past opponents.

  4. the thresher 05:20pm, 04/09/2012

    Below is Boxing Illustrated 10 Hardest Punchers P4P of
    All-Time.2


    Interestingly, Earnie Shavers is number 7 on the list.

    1. Jimmy Wilde
    2. Max Baer
    3. Bob Fitzsimmons
    4. George Chaney
    5. Charles Ledoux
    6. Bob Satterfield
    7. Earnie Shavers
    8. Joe Louis
    9. Jack Dempsey
    10. Sandy Saddler


    Don’t know the dat.

  5. the thresher 05:51pm, 04/06/2012

    Mike, point taken

  6. Matt McGrain 09:37am, 04/06/2012

    The problem with Wlad at #1 I think is that he has so few bolt-from-the-blue type KO’s.  He tends to take an age to soften guys up first.  This makes such a huge difference.  You’re far more likely to go if you’ve been jabbed to death.

  7. the thresher 08:25am, 04/04/2012

    I think I just might rank Wlad first. Prime Tyson and Lewis come close. Max Baer as well was a lethal hitter.

  8. RaulGroom 06:44am, 04/04/2012

    Interesting list.  It’s very difficult to rank fighters, particularly All-Time Heavies, by a single attribute or quality.  As the saying goes (I think it’s Persian?  maybe Turkish) a quality must have a vehicle.  The fastest racehorse in the world will never win a race if he won’t take the bit. 

    Shavers had enough tools that we got to see his power in action against some top fighters, so we know how hard he hit.  But lesser fighters we’ll never see certainly hit as hard or harder than Shavers, we just never got to see them because they were too terrible.

    Butterbean hit very hard.  Where does he rank?  No one knows - he never fought a significant opponent (a beyond-washed-up Larry Holmes doesn’t count.) 

    Shavers certainly qualifies as a great puncher, as do all the guys on this list.  The “Pound for Pound” qualifier is important, though - the idea that Dempsey or Marciano hit harder than George Foreman flies in the face of simple physics.

  9. the thresher 06:20am, 04/04/2012

    I’d rank Shavers just below Satterfield and I’d rank Satterfield very high up.

  10. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 08:29pm, 04/03/2012

    When Wlad sits down on that textbook right cross instead of just “placing it”, it is as devastating as any punch ever thrown…just ask the “Boxing banker”. I’m glad that Kingpin had enough mustard on his punches to shut up Leapai…..jeez…. these people get a win streak going and the first thing out of their mouths is Klitschko!

  11. the thresher 04:54pm, 04/03/2012

    “shotgun drive-bys” Hmmmmm

  12. McGrain 08:40am, 04/03/2012

    I hated the way they just dropped Mike’s head back onto the canvas like it was a bowling ball.  What on earth is the point of that?  Cradle him, then mash his head of the canvas…go easy on the coffee, Don.

  13. mikecasey 08:07am, 04/03/2012

    Devastating shots, Don. Bob said he never threw a cleaner one than the Tiger KO. But the Quarry masterpiece gave it a close run! I thought poor Mike was a goner after seeing that.

  14. Don From Prov 07:58am, 04/03/2012

    When people start talking about devastating one punch knockouts I must admit I always think of what Bob Foster did to Mike Quarry and Dick Tiger: Like shotgun drive-bys.

  15. Don From Prov 07:52am, 04/03/2012

    “my mug of whiskey laced with coffee”  :)


    Foreman airborning Fraizer with that hooking uppercut—or uppercutting hook—of his.


    Marciano just always coming forward.


    The underrated cleverness of Dempsey, and as noted, those vicious short shots.


    How Louis could just let combos flow.


    And it’s funny, that although most everyone who fought Shavers seemed to think he had the most power they’d faced, he’s now seen as a little overrated power-wise: Maybe he just lacked some intangibles.

  16. mikecasey 07:35am, 04/03/2012

    The right chop that knocked out James Shuler was a gem from Hearns. Yes, Ted, I remember getting very excited about Jeff Merritt when he first came along. It was generally short and sweet with Jeff either way. Incidentally, have you ever written a stand-alone piece about Satterfield? A nice jazz connection there too!

  17. the thresher 05:24am, 04/03/2012

    Wlad Klit also has it and has demonstrated it in late rounds as against Chambers and Brock. He hit you with the straight right, it’s all over.


    I’d maybe rate him over Ernie

  18. the thresher 05:21am, 04/03/2012

    I always liked Hearns for one-punch power too. Jeff Merritt had it as well.

  19. McGrain 02:34am, 04/03/2012

    Aye, both made 154lbs in the prime of life and both have devastating one-punch KO’s over an absolutely top HW of their era in Harry Wills and James Corbett.

  20. mikecasey 02:31am, 04/03/2012

    Pound for pound, McGrain, I think you are spot on about Fitz and Langford. Both were devastating.

  21. McGrain 01:25am, 04/03/2012

    I think Shavers is as good a shout as any for the #1 spot for heavyweights, but it needs to be remembered that the source list is a p4p one…p4p I think all the guys ranked ahead of Shavers should be above him.  In p4p terms it is possible literally nobody hit harder than Fitz, unless maybe it was Langford.


    Foreman is comparable to Shavers in one punch power I think, and is around the same weight, so I think Earnie is ok at #6 on a p4p type HW list.

  22. mikecasey 12:49am, 04/03/2012

    Thanks too, Schmidty and Frankie!

  23. mikecasey 12:47am, 04/03/2012

    Ted, I agree with you 100%. I do actually cover the points about Earnie’s endurance and lack of consistency within the article, and draw a direct line of comparison with Satterfield. A nice thing for me that you too give a big nod to Bob here, who I know you admire. He truly was a ‘lights out’ specialist and I certainly rate him above Earnie in that department. Satterfioeld’s first round blast-out of Bob Baker was something else - I still watch it and still find myself saying, ‘Wow!’ And let’s not forget that Bob wasn’t a true heavyweight in poundage terms.

  24. FrankinDallas 06:34pm, 04/02/2012

    I watched Shavers-Holmes with my old man. When Holmes went down, the old man jumped up screaming “It’s all over! It’s all over!”. But damn, Holmes got up. A seriously underrated HW.


    Statistically, Vitali Klit has the highest KO rate of any all time HW. At least he was until his fight with Chisora…might be a percent or so lower now.

  25. the thresher 06:23pm, 04/02/2012

    Great piece Mike. Thanks for the trip back. I love these stories about old school guys..


    Actually, and with all respect and no criticism intended, I always thought Earnie’s power was just a tad overrated. Or let me put it this way. I think a myth grew about his one-punch power, but many of his stoppages were not of that variety. Yeah, he was a major bomber, but he also had major stamina issues and if you could take him into the late rounds, you had a decent chance of bopping the big bopper. Cobb did it and so did Mercado. If ES did not get you out early, he had some issues, He was one of the first to use iron in his training and his upper body was massive but it also cost a bit him in agility.


    The thing he could do with one punch is stun an opponent (like an animal stuns prey) and then finish him off with two or three more bombs. I liked that even better.


    Holmes and Ali took his best shots and survived. Roy Williams almost got him out but then lost in the final round in an all time great fight.


    Shavers was dynamite insofar as being fan friendly. I once wrote an article titled, “Was the power of Ernie Shavers overrted.” I almost got lynched by the lads on another site that Mike used to write for.


    On that list, I would put Bob Satterfield before ES, because Rapid Robert could ko you with a miss but I’d keep ES up pretty high. Satterfield man could do the one punch KO like no one I have ever seen do it except for Joe Louis.. Another guy named Bob Foxworth could also do it. But the best I ever saw was Joe Louis hands down-no pun intended,.

    As to where he should be rated, I have to mull that over and get back on this great thread.

  26. mike schmidt 05:08pm, 04/02/2012

    Welcome to the Big Time by Earnie Shavers—great book and great guy—love the article Mike—one of the things that makes guys like Earnie and a guy like Julian Jackson standout—a lot of their fights- bang one punch adios—was not the wear you down round after round power—one punch lights out—Mike get on the Julian Jackson article next buddy—you got it cookin’ here sir.

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