Connect with us

Before Buster Douglas Leon Spinks Shocked the World

Before Buster Douglas Leon Spinks Shocked the World

Boxing News

Before Buster Douglas Leon Spinks Shocked the World

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Before Buster Douglas Leon Spinks Shocked the World

On this day in 1978, long before Buster Douglas stunned Mike Tyson, a 7-0-1 fighter from Saint Louis called Leon Spinks shocked the world and defeated the legendary Muhammad Ali by a 15-round split decision at the Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. to become the new heavyweight champion of the world. At Big Fight Weekend, we love our nostalgia and want to take you back to a loss for the great Muhammad Ali.

Leon Spinks Inflicts Memorable Muhammad Ali Loss

Spinks Shocks the World

Just over 5,000 spectators were packed into the Las Vegas Hilton Sports Pavilion to see a young Spinks prove to active and fresh for the ageing 36-year-old Ali.

“The Greatest” looked underprepared – and it showed at the closure of the fight, with Ali looking battered and bruised. Despite his age, he showed bravery in the final round and traded with Spinks. The challenger was the deserved winner, and Ali had no complaints and felt he could do much better despite his advancing years. Despite being a former Olympic light-heavyweight champion, Spinks exceeded most expectations in defeating Ali. “The Greatest” was a 10-1 on favourite, and the loss was shocking to the thousands in attendance and the millions watching at home.

Read More: Muhammad Ali’s 5 Losses Explained

Ali was much bigger than Spinks, weighing 27lbs heavier, which was an indictment of how out of shape the champion looked. Spinks never looked intimidated by his opponent – simply outworking him – controlling the tempo. He used his jab effectively, controlling the distance and showcased impressive head movement, making Ali miss on multiple occasions. When the champion landed, his opponent responded impressively every time.

Read More: Forgotten Stories of Muhammad Ali: Insights for New Generation

The final bell sounded, and Spinks knew he had done enough as his corner and he celebrated wildly, whereas Ali looked like a defeated man. Despite Spinks being the winner in many eyes, the judges came to a split decision, with Art Lurie scoring the bout 143-142 for Ali. Judge Lou Tabat scored the contest 145-140 for Spinks, with Harold Buck scoring the fight 144-141.

The Announcement was made – “The new Champion – Leon Spinks.

Hear Dan Rafael and T.J. Rives discuss the magnitude of Leon Spinks’ upset of “The Greatest” on our newest “Big Fight Weekend Preview Podcast” by clicking play below,

What Came Next for Ali

Before the defeat to Spinks, Ali lost to Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. After the split decision defeat to Spinks, “The Greatest” defeated him in their rematch and previously avenged the March 31, 1973 loss to Norton.

Read More: Boxing’s Biggest Betting Upsets

After the two fights with Spinks, “The Greatest” lost to Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick, with the defeat to Holmes being the only stoppage loss on Ali’s record.

Continue Reading

Freelance Writer and Digital Marketer, spending most of his time waiting for the Tyson Fury vs Usyk announcement. Also watches YouTube videos of Lennox Lewis fights on a daily basis.

More in Boxing News

To Top