Larry Holmes vs. Earnie Shavers II
Now recognized as the legitimate Heavyweight Champion in the wake of Muhammad Ali's retirement, Larry Holmes defends his title in a rematch with devastating puncher Earnie Shavers. Similar to their first encounter a little more than a year prior, Holmes has his way the first six rounds, bringing laughter from Shavers after hitting the challenger with some power shots in the fourth round. Bleeding from a cut over his right eye, Shavers suddenly floors the champion flat on his back with a monstrous right hand near the end of the seventh, but Holmes shows incredible resolve in not only beating the count but surviving the round. Spent from throwing everything at the champion, Shavers is unable to stop Holmes from regrouping and landing some bombs of his own in the next several rounds. Holmes has him ready to go in the final seconds of the ninth round until Shavers sends the champion spiraling to the canvas with a right to the shoulder that Referee Davey Pearl does not rule a knockdown. With Shavers looking out on his feet at the end of the tenth, Pearl again makes an odd ruling by stopping the action but not the fight. Unable to raise his hands to defend himself and taking too much punishment, Shavers is saved by Pearl without argument late in the eleventh round of an awesome bout.