Leon Spinks Biography
(American Professional Boxer)
Birthday: July 11, 1953 (Cancer)
Born In: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Leon Spinks is an American former boxer who became the world heavyweight champion in 1978 after beating Muhammad Ali in what was considered one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. He was also the winner of an Olympic gold medal in 1976. Born into poverty in Missouri, he had a tough childhood. His father abandoned the family when Spinks was a young boy and he was primarily raised by his mother. A weak and sickly child, he was often the target of bullying by the local gangs of tough boys. He dropped out of school as a teenager and destiny led him to boxing where he found considerable success as an amateur. International success followed when he won the light heavyweight gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics and paved the way for his boxing match with his childhood idol Muhammad Ali. He created boxing history when he won the undisputed world heavyweight championship by beating Ali in 1978. However he did not hold the title for long; he lost it after fighting Ali in an unapproved rematch just seven months later. Following this loss, Spinks’ career went downhill and the boxer became entangled in a life of drugs and alcohol. He returned to boxing a few years later and retired from the ring in 1995.