Leon Spinks, Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Dead At 67

Leon Spinks, Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Dead At 67

He defeated Muhammad Ali in 1978.

Published February 7th

Written by Paul Meara

Leon Spinks Jr. has reportedly passed away. He was 67.

According to ESPN through the Firm PR public relations firm representing him, Spinks died of prostate and other cancers. His wife Brenda and other close family members and friends were with him in his final days.

Spinks defeated Muhammad Ali in 1978 to win the world heavyweight boxing championship. He was born on July 11, 1953 in St. Louis, Missouri and discovered his passion for boxing while serving in the United States Marines Corps.

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Muhammad Ali (left) and Leon Spinks smiling at a podium at a press conference at the Americana Hotel to announce their upcoming fight, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Muhammad Ali (left) and Leon Spinks smiling at a podium at a press conference at the Americana Hotel to announce their upcoming fight, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Photo by Gary Settle/New York Times Co./Getty Images
Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks
Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks
Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Muhammad Ali backs away from a punch thrown by Leon Spinks during a match at the Superdome on September 15, 1978 in New Orleans, Louisiana
Muhammad Ali backs away from a punch thrown by Leon Spinks during a match at the Superdome on September 15, 1978 in New Orleans, Louisiana
Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images

“Leon became a fixture about town, always accompanied by his trademark smile,” a press release announcing Spinks’ death reads. “He loved spending time with friends and family, attending concerts and local shows, dining at local restaurants and signing autographs and memorabilia for fans at Inscriptagraphs and Field of Dreams on the Las Vegas strip.”

Spinks competed professionally as a boxer from 1977 to 1995. After defeating Ali and then losing to him in a rematch seven months later, he continued to fight heavyweight until the early ‘80s before moving into the cruiserweight division. Overall, Spinks won 46 of his 72 professional fights.

(Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

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