Boxing legend Earnie Shavers takes spotlight in Edmonton Wednesday

A living piece of history from boxing’s golden age, Earnie Shavers, will be in the spotlight at Edmonton’s Royal Alberta Museum Wednesday night.

Former 'Black Destroyer' will reminisce about his destructive days in the ring

Earnie Shavers, right, fought Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden in 1977.

Earnie Shavers, one of the most-feared heavyweight punchers in history, was the Mike Tyson of his day, a KO specialist possessing concussive crunch in either hand. His opponents were all deers in the headlights of a fast-moving Mack truck. 

Shavers, who boxed in the 1970's during the golden age of heavyweights, will once again be in the spotlight at Edmonton's Royal Alberta Museum on Wednesday night.

The former Black Destroyer battled champs Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali, among many top contenders. Ali called him the hardest puncher ever. 

During his keynote address at the museum, Shavers will reminisce about his glory days in the ring, including the famous fight with Ali at Madison Square Garden in 1977.

Now 71 years old, Shavers is proud of that fight.

"I had a plan. I didn't want to punch myself out in my first title match," Shavers said in an interview Wednesday with Edmonton AM, CBC's morning radio show. 

"So I relaxed and did 15 rounds and I think I did quite well for myself." 

Shavers compiled an impressive record during his career, winning 44 of his first 47 fights by knockout. His KO streak included 27 consecutive knockouts, 20 of which were in the first round.

Shavers credits his hard-working upbringing outside Cleveland for his powerful punch.

"I grew up on a farm, throwing them bales of hay and did a lot of chopping trees for wood. And the power came from that."

Today Shavers is a keynote speaker, published author, and a father to 10 grown daughters and a son. Even though he fell short in his two title bids, Shavers has no regrets.

"Fighting provided a great life for me. I feel great."

Tickets for Shavers's appearance can be purchased at the door of the museum for $40. Doors open at 7 p.m.