Profile of Leon Spinks

Spinks’ Years in Boxing

Born on July 11, 1953, in St. Louis, Missouri, Leon Spinks is an American notable in his career in boxing from years 1977 to 1995. He was a heavyweight boxerwho started his career as an amateur that won National AAU light heavyweight champion from the year 1974 to 1976. Following that, in a 1977 match in Nevada, he had defeated Bob Smith via knockout in the fifth round. Also, he then fought against Peter Freeman in Liverpool, England, and defeated him via knockout on the first round. Later on, he also defeated Pedro Agosto in a match in Puerto Rico.

When he was a lower-rank contender, Spinks had made a history after beating professional boxer Muhammad Ali on February 15, 1978. However, the match ended up in a fifteen-round split. The fight against Ali had been the peak of Spinks’s career since he was the only boxer who had taken a title from Ali. With that, Spinks’ gap-toothed grin was featured in the issue of the American magazine, Sports Illustrated, in February 1978.

However, the World Boxing Council (WBC) had stripped of Spinks’s world title after he refused to defend it against Ken Norton. The title was then awarded to Norton instead. Later in the same year of September, Spinks had his rematch with Ali at the Louisiana Superdome.In there, Ali had regained his title and defeated Spinks by a unanimous fifteen-round decision. Subsequently, after their fight, Spinks was not given a rematch since Ali retired after that. Nevertheless, after a few years, Ali went back to fight Trevor Berbick and Larry Holmes.

In 1979, Spinks was knocked out on the first round of a fight with the heavyweight Gerrie Coetzee at Monte Carlo. In the subsequent fights, Spinks had won against Bernardo Mercado and Kevin Isaac. He also had a draw fight with Eddie Lopez in 1980. With his winning match in the 1980s, Spinks had earned a title match against Larry Holmes. However, Spinks had lost his last opportunity to win the heavyweight title when he was defeated via TKOin Detroit, Michigan.

Afterward, Spinks had begun his boxing career in the cruiserweight division. In his first fight, Spinks defeated the contender Ivy Brown. Following that, he alsohad ascheduled fight against the world cruiserweight, David Pearce. Unfortunately, the fight was called off with a twenty-four-hour notice. In the year 1980, Spinks had also competed in New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), although he loses against Antonio Inoki. Six years after that, Spinks had his last opportunity to win a WBA cruiserweight championship against Dwight Muhammad Qawi.However, Qawi mercilessly defeated Spinks via TKO in the sixth round of the match.

Despite that, Spinks had still participated in boxing matches for the following eight years of his career. His years in boxing were mostly of mixed results. At the age of forty-two, Spinks had decided to retire after losing against Fred Hope in 1995.

Years Outside the Ring

Leon Spinks has a son named Cory Spinks, who also followed his steps as a boxer. Aside from Cory, his other son, Leon Calvin, was also an aspiring heavyweight boxer. However, Calvin died in 1990 after being shot on his way home from his girlfriend’s house. As well as that, Spinks’ grandson, Leon Spinks III, was also an aspiring lightweight boxer who had a pro record of 11-3-1, along with his seven knockouts. In October 2017, Spinks III’s last outing was a six-round draw with Robbie Cannon.

After Leon Spinks’s retirement in 1995, Spinks worked for the Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling. In the year 2009, he was featured in ‘Facing Ali,’ a documentary film about Muhammad Ali, a professional boxer that Spinks had once defeated. Two years after that, Spinks and his wife have moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. He then stated that he is living his life comfortably as he keeps a low profile.

In 2012, Spinks was diagnosed with shrinkage in his brain. According to his doctors, the cause of this was most likely because of the blows he had received during his years in boxing. In 2014, he was hospitalized twice and received an abdominal surgery. It was later revealed in 2019 that Spinks was battling with advanced prostate cancer.