World Boxing News can confirm that former heavyweight contender and big-punching expert Earnie Shavers has died at 78.
Shavers, who fought Muhammad Ali and a host of top stars during his career, is widely regarded as the heaviest hitter ever to grace the sport.
Only since the emergence of Mike Tyson in the 1980s and Deontay Wilder in the 2010s has Shavers gotten compared to later fighters for sheer power.
Shortly after his 78th birthday, the family announced that Shavers had passed.
World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman broke the news.
“Our sympathy goes to the family and friends of our dear Earnie Shavers, who passed away one day after turning 78.
“One of the hardest punchers in boxing and a lovely human being. May he Rest In Peace.”
Tributes to Shavers have since followed.
Boxing analyst Al Bernstein stated: “So sad to hear of the passing of Earnie Shavers. Not only was he a terrific boxer, but he was also a terrific guy.
“I met him when I did a feature on him for Boxing Illustrated in 1978. Known him ever since, and every moment around him was good. He’ll be missed.”
Long-time promoter J. Russell Peltz added: “Earnie Shavers KO’d Jimmy Young in three rounds on my card in February 1973, at The Spectrum.
“Every time I ran into him over the years, he had a smile and handshake for me. He gave me a thumbs-up.
“Tuesday, then I wished him a happy birthday on Facebook. Now he’s gone, and we’ll all miss him.”
George Forman named Shavers and Ron Lyle among his top five punchers ever. At the same time, Shavers was also called the top heavyweight knockout artist not to win a world title.
Top Ten Heavyweight KO artists not to win a world title
1 Ernie Shavers 68 KOs
2 Cleveland Williams 60, KOs
3 Tony Galento 57 KOs
4 Buddy Baer 47, KOs
5 Oscar Bonavena 44, KOs
6 Jerry Quarry 32, KOs
7 Ron Lyle 31 KOs
8 Mac Foster 30 KOs
9 Eddie Machen 29, KOs
10 Boone Kirkman 25 KOs
Foreman scored a whopping 68 KO’s from his 76 wins, losing just five times in a memorable and record-breaking career.
Foreman discussed his experience with the hardest hitters: “1 Joe Louis, 2 Ernie Shavers. The others hit me: Ali, Liston, Frazier, and Lyle.”
“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.
WBN would like to offer our condolences to the family of Earnie Shavers.