Muhammad Ali vs. Earnie Shavers

Muhammad Ali and Earnie Shavers fought each other in a fifteen-round boxing match on September 29, 1977. The fight went the full distance with Ali emerging the winner through a unanimous decision.[1][2][3]

DateSeptember 29, 1977
Tale of the tape
Boxer United States Earnie Shavers United States Muhammad Ali
Nickname The Black Destroyer The Greatest
Purse $300,000 $3,000,000


Shaver's payday was ten times less than Ali's, totalling $300,000, nevertheless that sum was more than he earned during his entire career.[4]

The fightEdit

Ali was badly hurt in the second round, but by pretending to be even more hurt than he was, deceived Shavers into thinking he was play-acting resulting in Shavers not going for a knockout. By finishing each round strongly, Ali won favor with the judges. Shavers put up a strong performance in the 13th and 14th rounds, but Ali finished the 15th round very strongly, nearly knocking Shavers down with a flurry of punches towards the end of the fight. Some experts regard Ali's performance in the Shavers fight to be one of the finest in his boxing career.[1][2][3]

Commenting on this fight, Pat Putnam, long time boxing writer for Sports Illustrated, observed:

That fight with Shavers, and particularly the last round, sums up for me what Ali was about, even though he was long past his prime. Could have taken him out. He had him hurt early. Ali was ready to be taken, because if Shavers hit you, you were gone. But he suckered Earnie. He faked being more hurt than he was, and conned him out of going for the kill. He fought through that; he fought through fourteen rounds. People talk about Manila; they talk about Foreman; they talk about Liston. But to me, the fifteenth round against Shavers was as magnificent as any round Ali ever fought. He was exhausted. I don't know where he found the strength and stamina to go on, because when he went back to his corner after fourteen there was nothing left in his body. But he came out for the last round and fought three minutes as good as any three minutes I've ever seen. Not many people remember it now, but late in the round, he even had Shavers in trouble. Only the rope kept Shavers from going down.[5]


  1. ^ a b Felix Dennis and Don Atyeo (2003). Muhammad Ali: The Glory Years. miramax books. p. 252.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Stephen Brunt (2002). Facing Ali. The Lyons Press. pp. 269–72.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "Once more to the well". Sports Illustrated. 10 October 1977. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  4. ^ Earnie Shavers vs. Muhammad Ali (Documentary)
  5. ^ Thomas Hauser (1991). Muhammad Ali:His Life and Times. Simon & Schuster. pp. 346–7.