*In the end, it was an opponent he couldn’t beat. Leon Spinks, the former undisputed heavyweight boxing champ has succumbed to cancer after a 5-year battle. Spinks passed away Friday evening at the age of 67. He was surrounded by his wife Brenda and several other close friends and family, reports TMZ.
As we reported previously, Spinks’ health had been in decline. For the last five years, he had been battling prostate cancer.
For those not old enough or just don’t know his history, Leon Spinks commanded one of the biggest upsets in sports history. In February of 1978, he shocked the world by defeating the one and only Muhammad Ali in a 15-round, split decision in Las Vegas.
Here’s more via TMZ:
In defeating Ali, Spinks — the new heavyweight champ — became the only fighter to ever take a belt from The Greatest.
The Ali fight was the most memorable moment of Leon’s career … but definitely not the only highlight.
In 1976, Spinks won a gold medal as a light heavyweight fighter in the Summer Olympics in Montreal.
Spinks — born in St. Louis in 1953 — developed a passion for boxing while in the U.S. Marines.
Pugilism ran deep in the Spinks family … Leon was the older brother of boxer Michael Spinks — a former 2-weight class world champion, and Olympic gold medalist (both brothers won gold in ’76).
Leon was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2017.
Rest in peace, Leon Spinks