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Old 10-04-2007, 05:03 PM   #1
SteveO
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Default Hardest HW classic puncher

Chuck Wepner (who fought Sonny Liston and George Foreman) said on ESPNC that Liston was the hardest puncher. I've heard stories and legends that Liston could knock the speedbag off of its mount, split heavy bags, and blow the stitching off of headgear.

Did Liston really hit harder than Foreman at that time, or is it that Liston was a purer boxer and could string together his punches better and was more damaging and punishing over the course of the fight?

And how does Earnie Shavers, who is often said to be the hardest punching HW, fit into all of this?
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Old 10-04-2007, 05:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Shavers had the power, foreman and liston where big puncher's but shavers just had something special, he wasn't as good as either of those men but he could hit just as hard if not harder.
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

There have been reports that Cleveland Williams was a harder puncher than Liston, but that he didn't have Sonny's chin or physical durablility. Big Cat did take out Ernie Terrell in seven, something nobody else managed to accomplish until the very end of Terrell's career.

Also, there have been allegations that Johansson hit harder with his right than Liston did with either hand, although Ingo didn't have the jab, chin or left handed power Sonny possessed. Johansson did wipe out Machen in one, whereas Liston had to go the 12 round distance. (I doubt Ingo could have taken a decision over Machen. Unlike Sonny, Ingo probably had to take out Eddie to win.)

I would like to know who agrees with Wepner on the superiority of Liston's punching power over Foreman's, among those who remembered being hit by both.

Of course Wepner never competed against Shavers.

There are only two I'm aware of who were hit by Earnie, whose power failed to make an impression on them. The first, who supposedly claimed to be unimpressed by his power, was Jimmy Ellis, who probably never knew what hit him. (As is the case with Gene Fullmer against Robinson. What Gene knows about Robby's "perfect" left hook is apparently what the rest of us know about it-from the footage.) Jerry Quarry claimed immediately after his match with Shavers that Earnie never hit him. Like Fullmer against SRR, the only reason Quarry knew Shavers hit him was from the footage.

Ali would not be able to compare the power of Cleveland Williams to that of anybody else, as he was never really hit by Big Cat.

Shavers destroyed Norton with ten ounce gloves, but while he initally stunned the average chinned Kenny with a left hook, it was a massive right to Norton's sculpted torso which immediately preceded the first knockdown in that blowout.

Holmes says Shavers hit him the hardest. Norton says Shavers hit him the hardest. Ditto Leroy Caldwell and Ali. The consensus by those who know best seems overwhelmingly in favor of Shavers over everybody else.

The two hardest punchers of the late 1950s and early 1960s, according to their targets, would seem to be Ingo and Big Cat, with Liston third. Chuvalo claims that Mike DeJohn landed the hardest punch his took in his career, buckling his knees with an uppercut, but that may have been an isolated incident. Consistent reports would be more telling.

Threads like this are always good for generating a stimulating dialogue, no matter how many times these questions get repeated.
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duodenum
Chuvalo claims that Mike DeJohn landed the hardest punch his took in his career, buckling his knees with an uppercut, but that may have been an isolated incident. Consistent reports would be more telling.


Good post, as usual, squire. The reason i've singled the Chuvalo comment out is that fighters can sometimes throw their best ever punch and connect harder than many much bigger hitters, e.g Renaldo Snipes vs Larry. Snipes was no hitter, really, but I doubt Holmes was hit much harder than that (expect Shavers and, maybe, Tyson). So often fighters commenting on who hit them hardest can be misleading. It might be better to judge it on a consistency basis (i.e I think Wepner said "every" punch Liston his him with felt like a rock).


ps. Did you know that Amos Johnson was the only man to floor Chuvalo...in sparring, mind. The only time he ever tasted any canvas, apparently.
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Old 10-07-2007, 07:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Quote:
Originally Posted by My dinner with Conteh
ps. Did you know that Amos Johnson was the only man to floor Chuvalo...in sparring, mind. The only time he ever tasted any canvas, apparently.
I was not aware of that. Very interesting item. (We can probably be fairly confident that the referee's stoppage of Foreman/Chuvalo probably saved Chuvalo of that indignation in competittion.)
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Shavers IMO would be the hardest. Ali, who took Liston's, Foreman's, Shavers, and and Frazier's hardest shots, said Shavers hit the hardest. Also Holmes who fought Cooney, Shavers, Tyson, Mercer, McCall, and Roy Williams said that Shavers hit hardest, with Cooney at 2nd.
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill1234
Shavers IMO would be the hardest. Ali, who took Liston's, Foreman's, Shavers, and and Frazier's hardest shots, said Shavers hit the hardest. Also Holmes who fought Cooney, Shavers, Tyson, Mercer, McCall, and Roy Williams said that Shavers hit hardest, with Cooney at 2nd.
3. Mercer
4. Mccall
5. Roy Williams
6. Renaldo Snipes
7. Tim Witherspoon
8. Marvis Frazier
9. Butterbean
10. Tyson
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Quote:
Originally Posted by miamite
3. Mercer
4. Mccall
5. Roy Williams
6. Renaldo Snipes
7. Tim Witherspoon
8. Marvis Frazier
9. Butterbean
10. Tyson
He had Tyson at 3.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Some fighters had a special punch with devestating power, like Coopers and Fraziers left hooks. Some have equally powerful punches and are proficient with both hands, like Foreman and Liston.

However i'd still go for Shavers being the hardest hitter. He's the only fighter i know of who imploded a glove with the power of his punch.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Mac Foster deserves a mention. Tom Sharkey is also getting very underrated, for his time he was a monster...
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Old 10-09-2007, 01:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO
Chuck Wepner (who fought Sonny Liston and George Foreman) said on ESPNC that Liston was the hardest puncher. I've heard stories and legends that Liston could knock the speedbag off of its mount, split heavy bags, and blow the stitching off of headgear.

Did Liston really hit harder than Foreman at that time, or is it that Liston was a purer boxer and could string together his punches better and was more damaging and punishing over the course of the fight?

And how does Earnie Shavers, who is often said to be the hardest punching HW, fit into all of this?
I did statistical studies of some of the contenders a while back which I haven't posted but this seems a good place--It includes their total ko percentage, their ko percentage against fighters ever rated by Ring Magazine, and top five men they ko'd, and countouts against the rated opponents:

Elmer Ray
Total bouts 102---87-13-1 (1nc) 70 ko's 69%
Rated opponents---13 bouts 6-6-(1 nc) 3 ko's 23%
Top five victims---Lee Savold
1 countout out of 3

Turkey Thompson
Total bouts 72---54-15-2 (1nc) 39 ko's 54%
Rated opponents---19 bouts 8-9-2 5 ko's 25%
Top five victims---Elmer Ray, Lee Murray, Gus Dorazio
1 countout out of 5

Cleveland Williams
Total bouts 92---78-13-1 58 ko's 63%
Rated opponents---21 bouts 11-10-1 6 ko's 27%
Top five victims---Ernie Terrell, John Holman
4 countouts out of 6

Earnie Shavers
Total bouts 89---74-14-1 68 ko's 76%
Rated opponents---17 bouts 8-8-1 6 ko's 35%
Top five victims---Jimmy Young, Jimmy Ellis, Ken Norton, Joe Bugner
4 countouts out of 6

Bob Satterfield
Total bouts 80---50-25-5 35 ko's 44%
Rated opponents---36 bouts 16-19-1 9 ko's 25%
Top five victims---Billy Smith, Lee Oma, Bob Baker, Cleveland Williams, John Holman, Paul Andrews
8 countouts out of 9

Lee Savold
Total bouts 137---93-40-3 (1 nc) 65 ko's 47%
Rated opponents---38 bouts 17-21 11 ko's 29%
Top five victims---Lou Nova (2), Lem Franklin (2), Johnny Flynn, Nate Bolden, Buddy Walker, Bruce Wood****
7 countouts out of 11

Last edited by OLD FOGEY; 10-09-2007 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:52 PM   #12
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave krieg
Chuck Wepner (who fought Sonny Liston and George Foreman) said on ESPNC that Liston was the hardest puncher. I've heard stories and legends that Liston could knock the speedbag off of its mount, split heavy bags, and blow the stitching off of headgear.

Did Liston really hit harder than Foreman at that time, or is it that Liston was a purer boxer and could string together his punches better and was more damaging and punishing over the course of the fight?

And how does Earnie Shavers, who is often said to be the hardest punching HW, fit into all of this?

Foreman knocked Wepner out in 3 rounds in Foremans 3rd pro fight.Liston fought Wepner 1 year or so after Foreman beat him and took 9 rounds to stop Wepner.So either Foreman was more skilled than Liston after only 3 pro fights or he hit alot harder than Liston.I am sure Wepner is either saying Liston hits harder because he is dead or because he was embarassed because Foreman knocked him out so quickly.
No other fighter who fought both Liston and Foreman said Liston hits harder.Ali for a fact said Foreman was a far harder puncher even though Foreman never landed a clean blow to the head the whole fight.Shavers landed blow after blow on a fat out of shape Ali and couldn't drop him even though people like Cooper and Frazier were able to knock Ali down.Shavers knocked out Jimmy Young only because Young had about 10 fights at that time.Shavers knocked out a past his best Norton who based on what i read stopped training after the last Ali fight in which he was robbed.I would say Shavers power is highly overrated.
At least learn how to use the quote button, man!
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Old 10-09-2007, 04:10 PM   #13
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave krieg
Ali for a fact said Foreman was a far harder puncher even though Foreman never landed a clean blow to the head the whole fight.
really?you have watched the fight?
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:25 PM   #14
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Quote:
Originally Posted by My dinner with Conteh
ps. Did you know that Amos Johnson was the only man to floor Chuvalo...in sparring, mind. The only time he ever tasted any canvas, apparently.
Interesting.

"Big Train" Johnson was Liston's sparring partner in the early 60s and one day a Liston trainer was at ringside watching and he reported that

"Liston hit Amos with such a right hand and Amos's headgear flew off --and we thought his head had flew off!"
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:33 PM   #15
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Default Re: Hardest HW classic puncher

Measuring the "best puncher" demands alot of factors.
I'd include at least the following:

-power
-delivery (which could be speed, accuracy or both)
-quality of opponents including the solidity of opponent's chin and/or
defensive skill
-ability to carry power into later rounds ["power stamina"]


.... measuring such things get tricky but it can be done. Fogey has some good objective beginnings of this. Delving into this would make a good paper. We would also have to make room for the myths -be they the less measurable past that is CT and Janitor's specialty, or those flash in the pans who could hit like hell but lacked other necessary qualities ... guys like Ray Actis -has hands couldn't withstand the pressure of his shots and effected his career.
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