Earnie Shavers, who fought Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight title, dies at 78

·1-min read

One of the most famous power punchers to ever live, Earnie Shavers, passed away on Thursday a day after his 78th birthday.

Shavers amassed a 74-14-1 record between 1969 and 1995, and he was 54-5-1 by 1977 when he earned a world heavyweight title fight against Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden.

Shavers lost a 15-round decision to Ali, who famously declared after the fight "Earnie hit me so hard, it shook my kinfolk in Africa".

Fellow heavyweights often spoke of Shavers' power, with George Foreman once telling David Letterman during a late-night talk show conversation about the hardest punchers he ever faced "I never fought Earnie Shavers, thank goodness".

Of his 74 career wins, 68 came by knockout, including 23 in the first round.