Archives | Premium | Feb 15 2019

On This Day: Leon Spinks shocks Muhammad Ali and the world

How the king of the ring – Muhammad Ali – surrendered his crown to the kid from St Louis in 1978 "I Couldn’t Have Lost To A Better Man" Leon's victory was the biggest upset in a heavyweight title fight since Ali forced Sonny Liston to quit on his stool
Muhammad Ali vs Leon Spinks

THE unheralded kid from the St Louis ghetto shocked the boxing world as Leon Spinks battled his way to a 15 rounds split decision victory over Muhammad Ali to become the new heavyweight champion of the world on February 15, 1978.

A crowd of 5,300 at the Las Vegas Hilton Sports Pavilion, and millions watching TV pictures throughout the world, saw a gruelling, exciting fight with the 24-year-old Spinks proving too young, too determined and too insistent for the 36-year-old champion.

Ali, his face puffed and swollen, cut inside the mouth, looked on the verge of exhaustion at the finish of the fight. But he traded punches with the younger man in a last round of unforgettable excitement and bravery.


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