Up close and personal with Earnie "The Acorn" Shavers





     When a true boxing fan mentions the name Earnie Shavers the 
first thing out of his mouth is hands down the hardest puncher in 
boxing history.  Well, this is a true statement but I want to tell 
you about the man and not the many ring accomplishments or the 
legendary power.  The only way I can say the following is from the 
heart.  Earnie is one of the warmest, interesting and decent men I 
have ever had the pleasure to meet in boxing and out.  Earnie 
absolutely defines the saying, CLASS ACT!  

     Two interviews that I have sought from the first time I put my 
thoughts to paper have been Aaron "The Hawk" Pryor and Earnie "The 
Acorn" Shavers.  Well, today, this writer has the honor to have 
interviewed both of these great men. Both warriors in their respected 
weight divisions who gave the fans their hearts and souls in the ring.  

     If Earnie ever comes to your town, take the time to meet him at 
any of his speaking engagements or countless charity fundraisers he 
does.  You will find out for yourself what I mean when I say he 
defines the saying A CLASS ACT!

The following is our interview:






Interview by: Brad Berkwitt 

Brad: I can't tell you how many of my readers and fans of boxing I know that 
      always bring your name up when we talk about boxing.  They are always 
      talking about your power and the question most asked of me is, what are
      you doing today?

Earnie: I am a speaker.  I travel all over the world making appearances.  In 
        fact, I just returned from one with Gerry Cooney out in San Diego.  I 
        am going to be at a big engagement with Gerry Cooney, Joe Frazier, Kenny 
        Norton, Larry Holmes and a few other guys down in Antigua.  We are gonna 
        appear I think at the Tim Witherspoon fight.  

Brad:  How did you wind up in England?

Earnie: I had a young fan here that I came to see and met his Aunt.  Brad the day 
        I met her I knew I was going to marry this woman.  I did and now enjoy 
        living in England.  I travel back and forth to the states about twice a 
        month.  

Brad: I have always been a fan of yours and I am so happy to see you getting the 
      credit you have deserved since your heyday in the ring.  Do you feel you 
      got the proper credit you deserved when you were fighting?

Earnie: No not really.  I am getting it now.  I was chosen as the hardest puncher 
        of the 20th Century.  I think I may be inducted into the Hall of Fame this 
        year in both California and Canastota New York.    

Brad: I have followed boxing since 1975, but the fight that sticks in my mind the 
      most up until 1980 in the heavyweight ranks is your first round destruction 
      of Kenny Norton.  Going into that fight, what did you think would happen?

Earnie: Well Brad, I knew Kenny was afraid of my punching power.  I really beat 
        Kenny six weeks before the fight.  We had a press conference in California 
        with Don King.  Don King and Kenny Norton were talking about the return 
        match with Larry Holmes.  I turned to Don King and said you forgot about 
        me.  Don said oh yeah and brought me up on the stage.  I turned to Kenny 
        and said, "Kenny I am going to Destroy You!"  Kenny said Earnie we are 
        going to both make a lot of money.  I told Kenny I am the only guy who 
        is going to remember that. I put the fear of GOD into him and he never 
        got over it.  I figured in three rounds I would have him out of there. 
        My corner told me to go to him because he can't fight going backwards. 
        I did just that backed him up and knocked him out.

Brad: In your second attempt at the Heavyweight Title vs Larry Holmes you had him 
      down and what many thought out.  Somehow he was able to get up from that 
      murderous punch and pull out the win.  In hindsight, what would you have 
      done to pull out the win?

Earnie: Well one problem for me was in the third round I got thumbed.  I really 
        couldn't see Larry properly.  In fact, I saw three Larry Holmes and swung 
        at the wrong one.  Larry told me that out of all the guys he ever fought 
        that I was the greatest puncher.  He said you hit me so hard in the seventh 
        round that all I saw was like a flash from a camera.  Next thing I know 
        I was hitting the floor which woke me up. Larry ended by saying if you 
        had cut back on your punching power, I would still be there today! I didn't 
        realize at the time that I was punching so hard and wearing down.  I must 
        tell you Brad that Larry Holmes had the best recovery time I have ever 
        seen.  I must also say that Muhammad Ali did as well.  You know Brad the 
        fight game has been very good to me.  Those two fights with Holmes and 
        Ali has opened up so many doors for me especially now.  I am getting calls 
        everyday and getting paid about $5000.00 minimum for personal appearances.  
        (Earnie deserves every penny he gets for all the wars he has been in over 
        the years and mostly because he gave his fans his ALL.)

Brad: Who was your toughest challenger and why?

Earnie: My toughest challenger was a guy named Roy "Tiger" Williams out of 
        Philadelphia.  When I first turned pro back on November 6, 1969, I trained 
        upstate New York with some of the Philadelphia fighters.  They would tell 
        me all about this guy and say Earnie this guy is tough.  You guys will 
        meet and it will be a life and death fight.  So get all the money you 
        possibly can for the fight because it is going to be a tough one.  From 
        then on, I never forgot that name. So what happened was when I was trying 
        to get a fight with Muhammad Ali whom at the time had Roy Williams as a 
        sparring partner and fired him because he was so tough.  Ali than told me 
        if you beat Roy I will give you a title fight.  Brad I didn't want nothing 
        to do with Roy in fact I didn't even want to go past Philly because I might 
        run into him.  I really had no other choice but to fight him so I could 
        get my first title fight.  See I had Roy as a sparring partner too and 
        after a week, my trainer fired him because every day in sparring was a war.  
        My trainer told me you can't have these kinds of wars every day because 
        you're leaving the fight in the gym.  

Brad: What was the outcome of the Roy "Tiger" Williams" fight?

Earnie: I knocked him out in the 10th round.  The first eight rounds were very 
        close.  I was ahead on points and Roy decided to comeback in the 9th and 
        10th rounds to make up for the first eight.  He literally had me out in 
        those two rounds.  Brad I watch the fight now and still get afraid.  

Brad: I feel that the current heavyweight division today lacks the excitement and 
      the characters of your era.  What do you think of the current heavyweight 
      ranks?

Earnie: I feel the same way.  During the 1970s, it was the toughest era in the 
        history of the heavyweight division.  In fact, it was known as the Golden 
        Era for heavyweights.  There were so many great guys out there and great 
        trainers too.  We were so competitive back than.  We did not want any 
        fighte to get an edge on us so we did whatever we had to do to stay on 
        top.  

Brad: I have always heard a rumor but want to clear it up.  True or false? You 
      used to knock the heavybag off the chain?

Earnie: True!  I use to break the speedbag too.  Earnie than said, "I had a little 
        punching power."  (I replied to his statement by saying a little? That's 
        like saying Donald Trump has a little bit of money.)  

Brad: Talking about your power.  Where did it come from?

Earnie: Well Brad, I grew up on a farm and use to throw bales of hay, carried bags 
        of wheat, and chopped down big trees.  This gave me power in the back 
        of my leg muscles.  So when I turned professional, Archie Moore and those 
        other guys would have me chop down trees to keep my punching power going.  
        Everytime I chopped for a fight, I could tell the difference.  In fact, 
        when I chopped, I punched 25% harder than when I didn't for a fight.  

Brad: What do you think of females in boxing?

Earnie: I really don't care for it.  Boxing is a tough sport and in the long run 
        they are going to get hurt.  Women's bodies are not built to take punches 
        and a mans body is not built to take punches either. Look at us guys and 
        see what is has done.  I just don't like to see that for women.

Brad: Do you favor a mandatory retirement fund for all boxers to pay into once 
      they turn professional?

Earnie: I totally agree with you 100% from day one you should start putting 
        something away.  Take me for example I did not make that much money in 
        the ring but boxing gave me a name that now has allowed me to make and 
        put money away that I wish I would have done when I was fighting.

Brad: If you could have chosen any other profession besides for boxing, what would 
      it have been?

Earnie: First of all I am an outdoors person so it would have to be an outdoors 
        job.  Probably something like construction because I enjoy hard work 
        because it keeps you in shape and makes you stronger.  Like I said 
        construction or maybe a builder.

Brad: How did you get into boxing?

Earnie: Since the age of 12, I knew I wanted to be an athlete.  So I started taking 
        care of myself.  My brothers friend who was a highschool football player 
        told me what I had to do and other guys as well growing up.  I never smoked, 
        drank or did drugs my whole entire life.  I dedicated my whole life to 
        being an athlete.  I got into the fight game at 22 and thank God for me 
        starting late because I was more mature, stronger than most guys and well
        conditioned.    

Brad: What would your advice be to the young man that is just turning professional?

Earnie: You must eat, sleep and live boxing 24 hours a day.  Listen to fighters 
        that came before you and the trainers that can tell you good, bad and what 
        not to do.

Brad: With all the hype and big bucks the fighters are getting today.  How do you 
      feel they would fair against the boxers of your era?

Earnie: I am glad the guys today are getting big money but the would not fair well 
        against the guys from my day.  We just had better competition back then.

Brad: Do you have any funny stories of any stuff that happened before a fight or
      after that you were involved in.

Earnie: Yes.  I use to tell guys something I learned a long time ago about doing.  
        You start to tell an opponent a little story but you don't finish it. By 
        doing this you get the guys mind messed up.  You find out something bad
        about your opponent but you wouldn't tell him the whole story.  You tell 
        him just enough to make him think and worry. I did this when I fought 
        Howard Smith.  See Howard use to be one of my sparring partners.  I used 
        to knock him out in the gym everyday with the big gloves on.  At the weigh-
        in, I said Howard remember the old times.  He turned to his trainer and 
        told him, "I am not ready for this guy." 

        I will tell you another story about Jimmy Ellis.  Ali told me how to fight 
        Jimmy.  Ali knew Jimmy who by the way is a wonderful guy.  Ali told me if 
        Jimmy boxes you he is going to beat you because he has more experience 
        than you.  You have to make him try and out punch you.  So Archie Moore
        went to Jimmy and told him, about a week before our fight, that he cannot 
        punch.  Jimmy and Angelo Dundee had the plan to outbox me.  Well, after 
        hearing that, Jimmy tried to outpunch me.  He hit me with a good right-hand 
        in the first round, but forgot to move.  I threw a right uppercut and 
        caught him.  Bingo, Ballgame is over.  If he would have just boxed me, he 
        would have probably beaten me.  The whole key to the fightgame is to be 
        in good condition and learn how to con your opponent.  I had a problem 
        with Ali and Larry Holmes.  I tried to con those guys and they just stared 
        right back at me.  I said to myself it's going to be a long night. 

        Brad I have to tell you one more funny story.  When I fought Jeff Sims in
        Nassau.  Well, before I fought him they called me and I was in retirement 
        at the time.  They offered me $50,000 to fight my grandmother meaning 
        basically an opponent I could beat.  My people told me that you know that 
        they are going to switch opponents on you before the fight. So fight time 
        naturally he got hurt. So when I got to Nassau some guy asked me who I was 
        going to fight and I said Jeff Sims.  He said oh my God.  He punches almost 
        as hard as you and that's him over there. I looked over him and he looked 
        like a gorilla.  I went over to him and said Jeff, is so and so your 
        manager?  He said yes and I said you are nothing but one of his Negro's.
        He isn't even here.  I bet he will be here in time to cut up the money 
        though.  Jeff said that's right.  See I got him going.  I than said look 
        Jeff don't get hurt.  So in the first round, he had me down.  I got up and 
        said hey Jeff, slow it down we have ten rounds to go.  He said OK.  So I 
        went to work on him in about the third or fourth round and knocked him out 
        in like the 5th or 6th round.  Jeff told me, man you told me to slow it 
        down.  You tricked me!  I told him you bought it, welcome to the BIGTIME!

Brad: Why did Ali nickname you "The Acorn"?

Earnie: Because I had a shaved head that looked like an acorn.  When the fight was 
        over, he said, "Earnie, you're a hard nut to crack!"

Brad: Have you stayed friendly with any of the fighters from your generation?

Earnie: Every last one of them.  There is not one guy in the fightgame I do not
        like.  There is not one of them who have turned me down for any request 
        I have ever asked of them.  

Brad: I have reviewed your fight record and it's quite impressive at give or take, 
      73 wins, 14 losses, and one draw.  I noticed that if it went to a decision, 
      you came up on the short end of the stick almost every time.  Why do you 
      think that is so?

Earnie: I usually tensed up in a fight and it took me a long time to learn to relax 
        in there.  If you don't relax in there you burn yourself out.  So if the 
        fight went more than five rounds, I would burn myself out from being so
        tense.  I learned to relax at the end of my career.  They told me you never 
        learn the fight game till your fight game is over.

Brad: I have many of your tapes and noticed you were interviewed by the legendary 
      Howard Cosell.  What was it like be interviewed by him?

Earnie: Howard was OK.  He was your friend as long as you were there in front of 
        him.  When you turned and walked away he got you.  I guess that was part 
        of his job.  

Brad: Finally, what would you like your fans to remember you for when they mention 
      the name Earnie Shavers?


Earnie: That I gave them their money's worth when I fought win, lose or draw.  
        People paid their hard earned cash and they want to see a good fight which 
        I think I gave them.


I have been asked many times on how to purchase Earnie Shavers memorabilia.  Also, 
how to get him to do a speaking engagement at different events which he truly is a 
speaker that puts fans on the edge of their seats when they hear about the Golden 
Era of the Heavyweights.  The following information is provided:

For Grand Openings and After Dinner Speaking engagements the fee of $5000.00
plus traveling expenses. 

For something really special for the diehard boxing collector Earnie has:

An Original Poster by Leroy Neiman of Larry Holmes vs Earnie Shavers 
Championship Fight on September 28, 1979, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

These posters are selling for $5000.00 dollars each at Caesars Palace in Las 
Vegas, "unsigned" by Neiman, Holmes and Shavers.

The fight poster that Earnie is offering are personally autographed by Leroy 
Neiman, Larry Holmes and Earnie with pictures of all three signing the 
poster.  In addition, the poster comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.  

The bidding on these starts at a minimum bid of $2500.00 Dollars.  These 
posters and bookings for Earnie can be done through:

              Mr. Jerry Haack
                 C/O NEWPORT MARKETING IN
                 416 Acacia Avenue
                 Corona del Mar
                 CA.  92625
                 Phone (949) 673-7045
                 Fax (949) 673-7458

When contacting Earnie, tell the them Brad sent you.

As always fight fans, keep reaching for the stars and all your dreams can be 
fulfilled. 

Brad Berkwitt

BBerkwitt@aol.com