History | Sep 15 2018

On This Day: Muhammad Ali became the first man to win the heavyweight title three times

Marc Gatford recounts the story of Muhammad Ali's final win
Muhammad Ali
A heavyweight who fought like a welterweight The Courier Journal/USA Today Sports

MUHAMMAD ALI, in the twilight of his glittering career, avenged his defeat to Leon Spinks, in front of a record breaking crowd at the Superdome, in New Orleans, on September 15, 1978.

In 1978, Ali, the much decorated champion, squared off against Spinks on two separate occasions, which both went the distance. Father time was quickly catching up on the self proclaimed “Greatest”, and with nothing left to prove in the sport, the controversial Kentuckian would soon after retire.

The signs of a physical decline were evident during a bout with the stoic Earnie Shavers, the previous year. Absorbing concussive punishment against an inferior fighter, the 36-year-old laboured to a unanimous decision.


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