LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks Jr. has died after battling prostate and other cancers. He was 67.
Spinks died Friday night, according to a release from a public relations firm. His wife, Brenda Glur Spinks, and a few close friends and other family members were by his side when he passed away.
Spinks won gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. He truly cemented his place in history on February 15, 1978, in Las Vegas, Nevada, when he shocked the world by beating Muhammad Ali, to become the undisputed World Heavyweight Boxing champion.
Spinks had only seven professional fights under his belt when he got into the ring with Ali. The St. Louis native also was outweighed by Ali by more than 25 pounds.
Leon fought 72 professional fights, winning 46 of them.
On the 39th Anniversary of Spinks defeat of Muhammad Ali, the formal announcement was made that Spinks had been chosen for induction into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.
At the ceremony, he stood up and simply said, “it’s about time!” In August 2017, along with his brother Michael Spinks, Thomas Hearns and Ken Norton, Leon was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.