History

On This Day: Muhammad Ali unleashes his magic for the last time as he gains revenge over Leon Spinks

Muhammad Ali boxing history
Leon Spinks cannot stop Muhammad Ali from making history as ‘The Greatest’ wins the world heavyweight title for the third time

MUHAMMAD ALI w pts 15 LEON SPINKS
September 15, 1978; Superdome, New Orleans, LA
THOUGH it has been suggested that Ali should have retired after beating Joe Frazier in 1975 – or even after the win over George Foreman the year before – to save himself from the punishment endured in the final years of his career, this revenge victory over Leon Spinks enhanced his already substantial legend. The feeling that something magical was in the air was shared by the 70,000 fans who crammed into the New Orleans Superdome and Ali, 36, did not disappoint. He was sprightlier than he’d been in years while winning a clear decision in a better fight than one might remember. Spinks’ career went into a nose-dive after this bout but that shouldn’t take anything away from Ali’s achievement of winning the world heavyweight title for the third time.

DID YOU KNOW? Legendary BN editor Harry Mullan made his first trip to the US to report on this fight. It started something of a love affair between Mullan and America.

WATCH OUT FOR: The corner of Leon Spinks was utter chaos, with screams of conflicting advice coming between rounds. After the sixth, disgusted strategist George Benton had enough of trying to make his point and stormed off.

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