Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali (2nd meeting)

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Program Cover

1978-09-15 : Muhammad Ali 221 lbs beat Leon Spinks 201 lbs by UD in round 15 of 15


Sports Illustrated Cover
  • The fight was televised live on ABC, which estimated an audience of 90 million.
  • Attendance at the Superdome was 63,350. It was the largest indoor attendance ever for a boxing match.
  • Pat Putnam of Sports Illustrated wrote: "The plan was simple. Ali would jab, jab, throw a right and grab. When Spinks came flailing in, Ali would hook his left hand around the back of Spinks' head and pull him into an embrace, effectively limiting Spinks to one or two punches or pulling him off balance. And Ali would dance, baby, dance. He would tie up Spinks and then dance away from him on the break, circling to the right, circling to the left. And the fight went as plotted."
  • Ali regained the WBA title and avenged his split decision loss to Spinks from seven months prior. He also became the first man to win the World Heavyweight Championship three times.
  • Ali sent an official letter of retirement to the WBA in June of 1979. Promoter Bob Arum said he paid Ali $300,000 to announce his retirement because Ali's reluctance had delayed the scheduling of a fight between John Tate and Gerrie Coetzee for the vacant WBA title. "We knew Muhammad Ali was going to retire," Arum said, "but as long as he delayed, I couldn't make definite plans."


  • "I know this will be my last fight. I'll be three times champion" - Ali before the fight
  • "I killed myself to get ready for Spinks. I suffered and sacrificed more than I ever did. There's nothing left for me to gain by fighting" - Ali after the fight