The debate will rage on for centuries about who the hardest-punching boxer of all time is. Is it Deontay Wilder? Today, WBN puts forward their candidate in Ernie Shavers.
All the talk of Deontay Wilder and Mike Tyson from the last two generations gets into the mix. But it’s one man from that era who also puts the Shavers case forward.
Alongside Ron Lyle and Joe Louis, the oldest heavyweight champion of all time, George Foreman listed the three men as ones he wouldn’t have liked to receive a hook from in anger.
Forever bashful and not one to put himself in that category, even when many would. Foreman sees Shavers, Lyle, and Louis as the frontrunners.
“1 Joe Louis, 2 Ernie Shavers. The others did hit me: Ali, Liston, Frazier, and Lyle,” said Foreman when asked to name those boxers.
Alongside those – possibly without Ali, Wilder and Tyson may come somewhere in the top ten. But without the depth they enjoyed in the division, it’s hard to place either any higher than those three.
Shavers, Lyle, Louis, Foreman, Wilder, and Tyson could be joined by Larry Holmes, Sonny Liston, Rocky Marciano, and Lennox Lewis as ten of the most concussive punchers ever.
Adding Lyle in there would come at Foreman’s request. ‘Big George’ has long champion the destructive nature of the former world title challenger.
“I didn’t get a taste of Ernie Shavers punch. But Lyle gave me a taste of “Space Travel.” Afterward, I could have become a consultant for NASA,” he joked.
Promoter Lou DiBella gave his case for Wilder when the pair worked together. But like George, Shavers was a constant for both.
“(Deontay Wilder has) Arguably the greatest one-punch power ever. Up there with Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Ernie Shavers. The hardest punchers in heavyweight history,” said DiBella.
Avid boxing fan and Hollywood actor John Cusak was undoubtedly firm about who he sees as the top knockout artist.
“The one thing all the greats agree on somehow is whenever you ask a heavyweight who had the hardest punch, it’s always Ernie Shavers,” he pointed out.
Retiring in 1995 after a failed comeback and another further down the line not counted on his pro record, Shavers stopped 68 of his 74 victims.
He may have had a fearsome punch, but Shavers could also be hurt. He lost seven times by stoppage from fourteen losses.
But that’s what made a Shavers fight a must-see event. You didn’t know which way it could go at times.
Despite not winning the top division crown, Shavers will surely be happy with his place in history with the tag every heavyweight wants to own.