Leon Spinks (born July 11, 1953) is a former American boxer who made a name for himself in the international heavyweight championship; he has an overall record of 26 wins, 17 losses as well as three draws as a professional- he made 14 of those wins via knockouts. Spinks is known to have created one of the most unsettling records in boxing history when he beat world-famous champion Muhammad Ali on February 15, 1978.
In 1974, before the start of his professional career, Spinks won a bronze medal at the inaugural Amateur Boxing Championship in Hanover in 1974. In 1976, two years later, Spinks won the a gold medal in the Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada; along with his brother Michael Spinks who had won at middleweight; he was awarded the gold medal. Spinks first made a name for himself professionally when he beat Bob Smith via a knockout in 5 rounds on the January 15, 1978. The next fight that Spinks had, was against Peter Freemen in the same year when he beat the former in a first round knockout; this was in Liverpool, England.
In his second match with Muhammad Ali, Leon Spinks lost at the Lousiana Superdome on September 15, 1978. This was because Ali, who was now in shape, and had better and sharper sparring tactics than ever before, had won back his title by a unanimous 15 round decision. Yet again however, Spinks made a comeback when he beat Mercado and won the title match against Larry Holmes as well. However, this would be Spink’s last heavyweight match for some years; Spinks beat Ivy Brown by a decision as well as winning against another contender; Jesse Burnett in 12 executive rounds.
In 1980, Leon Spinks competed in several matches pertaining to wrestlers vs. boxers. In 1986, Spinks earned his last ever championship opportunity; he fought against Dwight Muhammad Qawi for the WBA cruiserweight championship. Spinks had defeated Qawi for three consecutive years however finally in 1986, as Qawi cornered Spinks in the ring, he beat him mercilessly, taunting him at the same time and finally defeating him. In the 1990s, Spinks even won the World Title of Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling in 1992 however since then, Spinks has lived a quiet life in Columbus Nebraska.
He has taken part in a documentary that was shot in 2009; ‘Facing Ali’ which describes his experience, and those of other boxers and wrestlers who were up against the famous world champion boxer and how the experience changed his life. However rather than aiming for a taste of the limelight, Leon Spinks has preferred to keep a low profile; in an interview with a reporter, Spinks recently stated that this life is ‘comfortable’ and that he enjoys ‘helping the kids’. Spinks has a son, Cory Spinks who has apparently also followed in his father’s footsteps; since 2006 to 2008, Cory Spinks has held the title of the International Boxing Federation Middleweight Champion.