Holmes was peak for Shavers. Tyson was peak for Holmes, but Larry was also 38 years old and coming off an 18 month retirement. Earnie also takes Holmes out in that situation. This isn't about the final result, but what Larry experienced in the way of power from the best prepared versions of Shavers and Tyson to compete.Quick did well to recover as he did. He was stopped 11 times, but the record indicates he was never counted out. If true, nobody came closer to actually achieving this than Earnie.
Nobody's questioning that Mike was the more effective
puncher, and a vastly superior boxer, but Earnie did more damage to James with a single face planting right than all the punches Tyson landed on a fading (and by then thrice stopped) Tillis put together.Tillis came back from the dead, but he was running on all cylinders by that stage of the bout (neither cold nor exhausted), and it was a single, albeit monstrous shot which very nearly did do the job. James was once beaten (by Weaver over the championship distance) and peaking, about to turn 25, trained by Angelo Dundee. First rate conditioning and youth can go a long way towards being able to recover from a single monster shot. (Tyson needed far more that that to stop Holmes, who came within five seconds and a caught right uppercut in the ropes of surviving round four. Mike needed 45 seconds between knockdowns two and three to finish an obviously rusty and misfiring Assassin.)Mercado was a huge, deadly puncher who the record indicates was never counted out. He would stop Prater in 12 his next time out. Less than a year earlier, Bernardo had starched Berbick in one (a repeat of an amateur win the Colombian held over Trevor), and he'd just retired Henry Clark via ten round decision. That was the best, most resilient version of Mercado (just turned 2
to ever step in the ring against an aging Shavers (now pushing 35). He had the necessary youth and conditioning to recover from a single shot like that.I have never compared Earnie's power to David's, and don't know that there's a recipient of punches from both qualified to make that assessment. With Tyson and Foreman, the testimony of common opponents is available.
No question Tua was much the sharper and more effective puncher with better placement. That's readily apparent from clips of him in action, but I was no longer a fan of boxing by the time David came along.