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Opinion

How Tyson Fury-Wladimir Klitschko compares to the biggest upsets in heavyweight history

James Slater ranks the division's greatest surprises and considers them against Fury's win over Klitschko

5. Leon Spinks WS15 Muhammad Ali. February 1978, Las Vegas.

Muhammad Ali was badly out of shape and nearing the end of his career when he met seven-fight novice Spinks. Taking advantage, a relentless and fearless Spinks pounded on a lazy defending champion, refusing to fall for Ali’s famous Rope-a-Dope tricks. Spinks was almost as big a betting underdog as Buster Douglas would be some 12 years later against Mike Tyson; with only one betting outlet in Las Vegas taking any bets on the fight. Of course, an in-shape Ali got his revenge later the same year, but Spinks’ win remains special.

Fury beat an even older defending champion than Spinks did in dethroning a 39-year-old Klitschko. However, Klitschko was in far better physical condition than Ali was. Can Fury go one better than Spinks and win the rematch?

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