Leon Spinks, who once surprised the entire boxing world by defeating Muhammad Ali, died at the age of 67 this morning. ESPN confirmed.

Leon Spinks died after suffering from prostate and other cancers for five years. Firm PR, the agency represents him, confirmed his death yesterday, describing that the former boxing champ passed away with his wife – Brenda Glur Spinks – by his side peacefully.

Spinks was once the biggest surprise of the entire boxing world. He managed to knock-out the toughest fighter back then, Muhammad Ali, in a world heavyweight champion fight in 1978. The Saint Louis native only participated in pro boxing for only 13 months before he battled against Ali. The fighter was light heavyweight gold medal winner of Olympic 1976 beforehand. Spinks, however, showed no fear about Ali.

Instead of, he beat the champion who was already 36 then. Spinks has never gone beyond 10 rounds, and he neither fought against any heavyweight fighter yet. But in the chaos of Feb. 15th, 1978, he went for 15 rounds and managed to grab a victory in the end.

Promoter Bob Arum recalled that Spinks stepped into that fight with clear game plan and wise mindset.

He came in with a game plan, and he beat Ali. It wasn’t that Ali wasn’t at his best, but Leon shocked everybody with how good Leon was.

Promoter Bob Arum.

But the victory over Ali was the only rare spotlight in the career of Spinks. He was stripped off from the belt for refusing to defend it against contender Ken Norton. Spinks rather to have a rematch against Ali, and it was pointed out to be a wrongdoing action. Ali acclaimed the belt and had his last win in the career over Spinks.

Spinks then dropped to the cruiserweight and kept fighting until the year 1995 when he retired at the age of 42.

The former champion of boxing heavyweight belt then had a struggling financial life. But after all, Spinks remained to be an iconic figure of the boxing world who was then inducted into the Hall of Fame of WBC.

Leon was nutty, but you couldn’t get angry at the guy. He never meant any harm to anyone. You couldn’t help but love him even though you shook your head at how he acted.

Promoter Bob Arum.

In the end, goodbye Spinks and rest in peace legend. Your legacy will live on.


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