Former world heavyweight title contender Ernie Shavers has died at the age of 78. He is considered one of the greatest boxers in one of the most famous eras of the blue division.
The American, considered one of the strongest boxers in history, twice fought for the heavyweight world title. In 1977, Shavers was defeated by Muhammad Ali in a title fight, and two years later he was defeated by Larry Holmes. Shavers knocked out Holmes in the bout, which comes a year after Holmes won a non-title bout by decision over his compatriot.
After his victory against Shavers, Muhammad Ali said, “Ernie hit me so hard it shook my relatives in Africa.”
Shavers never fought for a world title again; his reputation is such that famous boxers Joe Frazier and George Foreman are relieved to avoid him. Foreman, who was also a heavyweight champion of the world, once listed his toughest opponents and added: “Thank God I never fought Ernie Shavers.”
A native of Garland, Alabama, Shavers retired from professional boxing in 1995 with a professional record of 74-14-1. 68 of his wins have been by knockout. The cause of his death has not yet been released.