LEON SPINKS/MUHAMMAD ALI I
Hilton Pavilion, Las Vegas, NV
February 15, 1978
Spinks won a 15-round split decision
LEON SPINKS/MUHAMMAD ALI II
Superdome, New Orleans, LA
September 15, 1978
Ali won a 15-round unanimous decision, regained title for record 3rd time
About Leon Spinks
Born July 11, 1953 in St. Louis, MO
Currently resides in Columbus, NE.
Career record: 26 wins (14 KO), 17 defeats (9 KO), 3 draws
Spinks and his brother, Michael, were teammates on the Montreal Olympics boxing team in 1976, and both walked away with a Gold Medal. Sugar Ray Leonard, Leo Randolph and Howard Davis, Jr. were among their other teammates. Two years earlier, Leon, the older of the two, also won the Gold Medal at the first World Amateur Boxing Championships in Havana, Cuba.
The former Marine made boxing history in his eighth fight when he defeated Muhammad Ali to win the world heavyweight title - it was the fastest ascent ever. This would be the pinnacle of his success, and he became the only fighter to take a title belt from Ali. After his success against Ali, Spinks traveled with a huge entourage - Mr. T was one of his bodyguards - and boxing seemed to take a back seat to parties and clubs. Spinks was eventually stripped of his title by the WBC for refusing to defend it against Ken Norton. He opted, instead, for a return bout with Ali for the WBA title. This time would be different: Ali defeated Spinks with a unanimous decision to become the first three-time heavyweight champion.
Spinks' career continued to go downhill. In 1994, he lost a bout to John Carlo, the first time a former heavyweight champion would ever lose to a boxer making his first pro appearance. Not only did he lose - he lost by knockout without ever landing a single punch. The final humiliation was a 1995 loss to Fred Houpe, a fighter returning to the ring after 17 years away. Spinks retired at age 42.
As of 2005, Spinks was working at a local YMCA in Columbus, Nebraska and volunteering at an after-school youth program. He told a reporter that his life is "comfortable" and he keeps a "low profile".