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Leon Spinks, boxer lost after robbing Ali’s crown, dies at age 67

Leon Spinks, who recorded one of the biggest boxing turmoil when he defeated Muhammad Ali in February 1978 and won the heavyweight championship, lost his crown in a rematch seven months later and regained glory in the ring. It never happened, but he died on Friday night. He was 67 years old.

His death was announced by his leading public relations firm. The Spinks family announced in December 2019 that they were hospitalized for the treatment of prostate cancer that had spread to the bladder.

Spinks suddenly appeared when he won the Olympic light heavyweight gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and his brother Michael won the middleweight gold medal.

Leon fought only seven times professionally with six wins and a draw before playing Ali on February 15, 1978 in a match arranged by one of boxing’s leading promoters Bob Arum at Las Vegas Hilton. It was.

Ali holds the titles of the World Boxing Association and the World Boxing Council. But at the age of 36, he was an overwhelming betting favorite, but he was beyond prime. He weighed 227 pounds on Spinks 197.

The Sphinx was a fierce fighter, but when he put pressure on Ali in the ring, the champion aimed to tire his opponent with a punch that did little damage while Ali was resting on the rope. Relyed on the rope-a-doping strategy of.

The Sphinx Corner had its own strategy aimed at weakening ants.

“Jab, jab, jab, that was the plan,” Spinks trainer George Benton then said in the dressing room. “Hit him with his left shoulder all night in that jab.”

Ali rebounded in the 15th round, but Spinks chased him away and won the split decision.

At the end of the battle, Ali suffered purple bruise above and below his right eye. The forehead swelled near the left eye and blood drips from the lower lip.

“He had the will and stamina to win,” Ali said. “He hit pretty hard.”

A few days after the fight, Spinks appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, smiling at the familiar Gap Tooth.

The World Boxing Council stripped the heavyweight title from Spinks and crowned Norton for refusing to defend against designated challenger Ken Norton.

Ali envisioned a rematch with the Sphinx and promised to “keep moving, not go on the ropes, and get better.” The strategy worked.

In September 1978, Ali regained the WBA title and defeated Spinks in a unanimous decision at the Louisiana Superdome, attracting about 63,000 spectators. This time he tied the Sphinx when he charged him, and he danced and jabbed like an old ant.

By 1981, Larry Holmes held the World Boxing Council heavyweight crown. Spinks challenged him that June and lost in the third round of technical knockouts. He faced WBA cruiserweight champion Dwight Muhammad Kawi in 1986 and lost in a technical knockout in the ninth round.

His career has almost declined until then, and he has gained a reputation for having parties during training.

Prior to the Holmes fight, Sam Solomon, a Spinks trainer early in his professional career, recalled a few weeks at Catskill where Spinks was preparing for his first fight with Ali.

“He slept at night, turned on the music box loudly and locked the door,” Solomon told . “The only way I could find him was to follow in his footsteps in the snow.” At that time, Ali would soon find out that the escape did not hurt his chances.

The final battle of the Sphinx took place in December 1995 when he lost a unanimous decision to Fred Houpe in an eight-round match. Spinks was 42 years old. Houpe is 45 years old and hasn’t fought since November 1978.

Spinks retired with 26 wins (14 knockouts), 17 losses and 3 draws.

Leon Spinks Jr. was born on July 11, 1953 in St. Louis. St. Louis is the oldest of the seven children of Leon and Kay Spinks, who broke up as children. The family was poor and the neighborhood was hard. He would say he was hit hard by his father.

Leon, a frail young man suffering from low blood pressure and asthma, has become a target for bullies.

At the age of 13, he began boxing at the St. Louis Gym Program, which was created to keep young people away from the streets. He dropped out of high school in third grade, joined the Marine Corps, participated in boxing programs, and prospered as an amateur in games leading up to the Montreal game.

After retiring from the ring, Spinks lived a predominantly unstable life. He said he had lost the money he had earned, and he traveled all over the country looking for a job he could find. At the age of 52, he stopped in Columbus, Indiana, where he worked as a YMCA custodian and dropped a McDonald’s truck.

Spinks had a girlfriend, Zadi May Calvin, who grew up in the neighborhood, and three sons.

One son, Corey, became a welterweight champion and another Darrell fought 19 professional battles. His son, Leon Calvin, who used his mother’s name, won two professional games before being shot dead at the age of 19 while driving away from a violent St. Louis party. Leon Spinks III, son of Leon Calvin, fought in 16 professional games.

Survivors include his wife, Brenda (Guru) Spinks. His sons Corey and Darrell. His grandson. And his brother.

According to Spinks, the night he defeated Ali, he took advantage of his childhood adversity to arouse patience.

“My dad went around and told people I would never have anything,” Sports Illustrated quoted as he said. “It hurt me. I never forgot it. I decided to be someone in this world. I was going to succeed in something at no cost. . “

Leon Spinks, boxer lost after robbing Ali’s crown, dies at age 67

Source link Leon Spinks, boxer lost after robbing Ali’s crown, dies at age 67

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