Muhammad Ali vs Ernie Shavers
(30 Sept 1977, New York)
In the second round, Shavers hurt Ali badly with an overhand right. Ali exaggerated his motions enough that it seemed he might be play acting and Shavers hesitated. They exchanged rounds scorewise, Ali won the fifth in a big way. But from the 12th, Ali outboxed Shavers on the judges’ scorecards and in the eyes of most viewers. All Ali had to do was survive the last three rounds. But Shavers, whose stamina was suspect before the fight, came alive in the 13th. In the 14th, he battered Ali about the ring. Before the 15th, according to the story by Sports Illustrated’s great boxing writer Pat Putnam, Ali was on very wobbly legs. Ali was always very resilient.
Though knowing Ali needed only to last three more minutes, Dundee told him, “You don’t look so good. You better go out and take this round.” In a furious final round, the two men tagged each other, but Ali closed strong, almost dropping Shavers over the last 45 seconds. He took a unanimous decision