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Leon Spinks, former heavyweight boxing champ, dies at 67

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Leon Spinks, former heavyweight boxing champ, dies at 67

, USA TODAY
Printed 7: 13 p.m. ET Feb. 6, 2021 | Updated 10: 06 p.m. ET Feb. 6, 2021

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Boxing memoir Leon Spinks died at the age of 67 on Friday night in a Henderson, Nevada, health facility advance his home after battling with prostate most cancers for several years, in accordance with household friend Joe Bernal.

Spinks served within the Marine Corps sooner than he rocketed to international reputation in 1978 when he beat Muhammad Ali in a spoil up resolution to develop the undisputed world heavyweight title in what became regarded as no doubt one of many greatest upsets in boxing historical previous.

“It became regarded as a mere shaggy dog story,’’ fellow boxing great George Foreman advised USA TODAY Sports activities when reflecting on that historical bout. “Why on this planet would they build (Spinks) within the ring with Muhammad Ali with this type of transient boxing profession?

“He beat the devil out of Muhammad, from pillar to post, even Muhammad became stunned.

“(Spinks) became legitimate, and he has his rightful station within the historical previous of heavyweight boxers.’’

Spinks’ gap-toothed smile changed into his trademark as he burst on the scene as an amateur. Combating alongside his brother Michael and a charismatic gentle welterweight by the establish of Ray Leonard, they changed into most a hit U.S. Olympic boxing team in historical previous.

All three fighters received gold at the 1976 Summer season Games, as did countrymen Howard Davis and Leo Randolph. Teammates Charles Mooney received silver and John Tate bronze.

Leonard, who got to dangle Spinks after they were contributors of that 1976 U.S. Olympic team, recalled their time collectively fondly.    

“In my thought speaking, he became no doubt one of many nicest guys,” Leonard advised USA TODAY Sports activities. “He became a great man to be spherical. Humorous and though-provoking working. He became all these items.’’

Unique off his Olympic success, Leon Spinks grew to change into genuine the following one year. In factual his eighth genuine bout, he squared off in opposition to the legendary Ali for the undisputed heavyweight title.

Spinks, then 24, pulled the upset in a spoil up resolution to purchase the title. Then again, he misplaced a rematch with Ali seven months later by unanimous resolution.

He had one extra heavyweight title combat – in 1981 – but misplaced to Larry Holmes in a third-spherical TKO.

Spinks retired in 1995 with a narrative of 26-17-3. He became named to the Nevada Boxing Hall of Status in 2017.

REWIND: Spinks fought most cancers like an opponent within the ring

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Leon Spinks, who in 1978 defeated Muhammad Ali to purchase the heavyweight world championship, is preventing prostate most cancers that has spread to his bones.

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Leon Spinks, former heavyweight boxing champ, dies at 67