Leon Spinks

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Name: Leon Spinks
Alias: Neon Leon
Born: 1953-07-11
Birthplace: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Hometown: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 6′ 1″   /   185cm
Reach: 76″   /   193cm
Boxing Record: click

Trainers: Sam Solomon, George Benton, Emanuel Steward
Managers: Mitt Barnes, Butch Lewis
Leon Spinks Gallery

Amateur Career

Preceded by:
D.C. Barker
Light Heavyweight Champion

Succeeded by:
Larry Strogen
Preceded by:
Mate Parlov
Olympic Gold Medalist
Light Heavyweight Champion

Succeeded by:
Slobodan Kacar

Professional Career

In 1978, in just his eighth professional fight, with a professional career that included a total of 31 rounds, Spinks won the Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship with his shocking split decision victory over the legendary Muhammad Ali. The fight was named Upset of the Year and Fight of the Year by The Ring. Spinks also received The Ring Progress of the Year Award.

In their rematch, seven months later, Ali regained the title in a listless bout by a decision.

In 1981, Spinks attempted to regain the Heavyweight Championship when he fought Larry Holmes, but was stopped in three rounds.

Spinks's last known appearance in a boxing ring was on August 29, 2001. He boxed an exhibition with Rick Wilson for charity in the Chicagoland area.

Life After Boxing

Spinks, who now suffers from dementia pugilistica, worked as a greeter at Mike Ditka's restaurant in Chicago, and in recent years, has lived in Columbus, Nebraska, working as a weekend custodian at a YMCA and sometimes unloading trucks at McDonald's. Spinks also volunteers to help the homeless. (Riches To Rags: [1])


  • Leon Spinks is the brother of former Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion Michael Spinks, grandfather of Leon Spinks III and father of former Welterweight and Junior Middleweight Champion Cory Spinks and Leon Calvin.
  • He served in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam era.

Preceded by:
Muhammad Ali
WBA Heavyweight Champion
1978 Feb 15 – 1978 Sep 15
Succeeded by:
Muhammad Ali
Preceded by:
Muhammad Ali
WBC Heavyweight Champion
1978 Feb 15 – 1978 Mar 18
Succeeded by:
Ken Norton