1983-03-18 Michael Spinks w pts 15 Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA - WORLD

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1983-03-18 Michael Spinks w pts 15 Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA - WORLD. Referee: Larry Hazzard. Scorecards: 144-141, 144-141, 144-140. In a contest to unify the title, Spinks (173) came out on top as he kept his left jab going against the much smaller Qawi (174) despite being dropped in the eighth by a right to the body. Most of those watching thought it was a slip as Qawi was standing on Spinks’ foot before the latter fell down. Qawi was always in the fight as he rumbled forward, but never able to get close enough to do any real damage even in the last two sessions when he tried to turn the fight his way Spinks was unruffled. Although the match was made at the WBA's scheduled distance of 15 rounds, as opposed to the WBC's 12, it was fully supported by the latter.

Booked to make his first defence of the title against Eddie Mustafa Muhammad at The Armory, Washington DC on 15 July, Spinks was furious when his opponent came in two and a half pounds overweight and flatly refused to shed the excess, claiming the scales had been tampered with. With the show being called off, Muhammad was suspended indefinitely by the District of Columbia Boxing Commission as well as being dropped from the WBA and WBC ratings.

Spinks had been seen as the champion by USBA/I when they were formed in April, but in late October at their first ever convention, and now renamed the International Boxing Federation (IBF), they stated that they were recognising Eddie Davis as their title-holder.