Who is the best heavyweight fighter ever never to pick up the biggest prize in sport? – World Boxing News takes a closer look.
Here, WBN reveals the top ten KO specialists of all time never to have won the world championship.
Former and the oldest champion of the world, George Foreman, offered a rundown of the best knockout artists never to become a champion.
Foreman, who lifted the crown decades apart, listed Ernie Shavers at the top due to his 68 knockouts.
Shavers won 74 contests as a professional, challenging for the sport’s top prize in 1977 against Muhammad Ali and again in 1979 versus Larry Holmes.
The second place goes to Cleveland Williams. Scoring 60 knockouts from 80 victories, Williams also lost to Muhammad Ali, this time in 1966.
Despite fighting many times, most of these fighters are from an era where you got only one shot during your career.
Tony Galento, at number three, was another of those. He lost to Joe Louis in the 1930s and had an astonishing 57 knockouts to his name when he retired.
Jacob Henry Baer, known as Buddy Baer, is next. Baer scored 51 stoppages from 55 wins. He lost to Louis twice in the 1940s before stepping away after the second reverse.
Argentinian Oscar Bonavena is in the fifth spot with 44 KOs from 58 victories. Bonavena lost to Ali and Joe Frazier before suffering an untimely death in 1976 at 33.
Much is known about Jerry Quarry. He comes in sixth place. Quarry had 32 KOs on his record.
Jimmy Ellis, Frazier, Ali, and Ken Norton halted the ‘Bellflower Bomber’ from ever getting his hands on the heavyweight title.
Ron Lyle, often mentioned by George Foreman as one of the hardest punchers he ever faced, is seventh.
As well as losing to Foreman, Lyle also suffered defeat at the hands of Ali.
Making up the top ten are Mac Foster, Eddie Machen, and Boone Kirkman.
They all failed to claim the sport’s biggest prize.
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 himself scored a whopping 68 KOs from his 76 wins, losing just five times in a memorable and record-breaking career.
George 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.
On facing other big punchers, Foreman added: “Muhammad had my number. If I’d done it all over, no Ali fight.
“I didn’t want any of ‘Big Daddy’ Bowe [and] Lewis was a fight I didn’t want. Mama didn’t raise any fool.
“When I was the champ, we tried to make [the] Shaver’s fight. But he lost important fights. Later on, [it was] pretty much the same.”