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The Last Great Contenders - Boxing Book

The heavyweight division of the 1970s was arguably
the most competitive in boxing history. Joe Frazier,
George Foreman and Muhammad Ali all earned the
title of "Heavyweight Champion of the World" during
this time period. But in order to be the "baddest man on the
planet"  they had to survive a crucible of contenders unlike
any other in the division's history. Names like Ken
Norton, Jerry Quarry, Earnie Shavers, Jimmy Young
and others dotted the landscape. No fighter who
competed during this era  emerged from these battles


Jerry Quarry
was named by George Foreman as
the greatest fighter to never win a title and Foreman
freely admits to have avoided him.  Many a viewer
Jimmy Young defeated both Muhammad Ali
and Ken Norton but his style was not "crowd
Jeff Merritt was labeled as a "can't
miss" prospect by everyone who ever saw
him...But the drug lifestyle robbed him of his future.  
Earnie Shavers punched "like a Mack truck" but a
soft chin and poor stamina led to untimely losses.


Anyone who has seen Foreman versus Lyle will
never forget it. The last round of Holmes versus
Norton has made for many a barber shop
conversation. Quarry vs. Frazier is the equivalent
of the immovable object against the irresistible
force. Shavers vs. Lyle was a seldom seen
classic. Great fighters all competing for what was a
modern day answer to a gladiator tournament.  
These brutal battles became the standard by which
all heavyweight fights are judged.

What did Roy “Tiger” Williams say when
Muhammad Ali owes him money? The two
engaged in a fierce two day sparring session to settle
their dispute.  This was an example of how
sometimes the best fights took place outside the
arena and in the gym, sparking rumors and
hearsay. Was Sonny Liston knocked cold by ex-
Marine Mac Foster in an Oakland gym? Did Earnie
Shavers leave Muhammad Ali's camp by choice or
was he thrown  out?

Pedro Agosto - Top Puerto Rican slugger
Billy Aird - Beloved club fighter of Britain
Rahman Ali - Brother of Muhammad Ali
Ibar Arrington - Steel chinned ex-Navy champion
Jody Ballard - Sparring partner of the greats
Duane Bobick - The most criticized fighter of the era
Rodney Bobick - Sparring partner for Ali, died in car accident
Oscar Bonavena - Wild and wooly Argentinian
Johnny Boudreaux - Was compared to Muhammad Ali
Joe Bugner - Underrated veteran who fought them all
George Chuvalo - Perhaps the toughest fighter of all time
Henry Clark - Clever San Francisco heavyweight
Dino Denis - Popular Massachusetts stick and mover
Tony Doyle - Was considered Utah’s best boxing prospect
Jim Lee Elder - Up and coming slugger who died from a brain tumor
Lou Esa - Giant former bouncer out of Florida
Mac Foster - Ex Marine who won 24 straight by knockout
Jose Luis Garcia - Venezuelan slickster who ate himself out of contention
Terry Hinke - Heavy left hooker who was Foreman’s sparring partner
Morris Jackson - Nebraska power puncher
Scrap Iron Johnson - The trial horse of the division
Florida Al Jones - Giant Miami prospect hampered by a hand injury
Leroy Jones - Good boxer forced to retire because of detached retina
Boone Kirkman -Popular draw out of Washington state
Scott Ledoux - Minnesota brawler who always gave his best
Alvin Blue Lewis - Detroit tough guy
Pedro Lovell - Popular Argentinian who fought out of L.A.
Ron Lyle - Denver slugger who gave Foreman hell
Danny McAlinden - Aggressive Irish brawler
Humphrey McBride - The decade’s answer to Butterbean
Jeff Merritt - Brutal left hooker who was knocked out by drugs
Larry Middleton - Army champ who played spoiler
Fili Moala - Power punching Tongan
Randy Neumann - Intelligent boxer who worked as a writer, model, and investor
Wendell Newton - Bahamian sparring partner for the champs
Ken Norton - Always gave Ali fits
Jack O’Halloran - Goliath who suffered from “gigantism”
Jerry Quarry - One of the most popular fighters of the era
Charlie Reno - Crafty but overweight clubfighter
Young Sanford - Chicago journeyman managed by Redd Foxx
Mike Schutte - The South African “Tank”
Earnie Shavers - Arguably the hardest hitting heavyweight of all time
Mircea Simon - Romanian defector had brief pro career
Howard Smith - One of the best out of Los Angeles
Ron Stander - Engaged in gore fests with Frazier and Norton
Paul Sykes - Crazy jailbird out of Britain
Mani Vaka - Free swinging Polynesian heavyweight
Stan Ward  - Powerful heavyweight out of Sacramento
Chuck Wepner - No fighter shed more blood
Roy Williams - A rough character out of Philly
Jimmy Young - Fought brawn with brains

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