Part of that multiple gold medal boxing team in the 1976 Olympics & that might’ve been his high point - including beating a washed up Ali Feb 1978, then losing it back to Ali 8 mos later, the two bouts being held over 30 fairly forgettable rounds
the tough KO loss in 3 rounds in 1981 to an in-his-prime Larry Holmes
Leon seemed to bring out the best in his opponents, he tried so hard in later bouts w/Carlos DeLeon & Dwight Muhammad Qawi, but TKO’d in both
had some friendly tomatoes thrown his way in that Richard Pryor show (“I knock motherfkrs out...”)
fought w/the heart of a lion every time
& had the deserved joy of his son Cory become a champion - indeed, he was born just 5 days after Leon’s win over Ali
RIP, Neon Leon Spinks
Yes I remember Leon. RIP. How old was he?
His opponents did seem to fight harder when against Leon. They knew uf they didn't train hard and put their A game in the ring they would loose.
I remember him holding up the belt and giving that big smile, missing some front teeth.
I was at a business conference some years back at a Columbus, Nebraska motel. During one of the breaks a guy I was chatting with pointed to a guy across the way. "Can you guess who that is?" He was a fair distance away. I said, "no, should I have an idea?"
It was Leon. He'd been a janitor/maintenance crew there for quite a few years. I spoke briefly with him, he was very polite. I wished him well. Didn't really have much more of a conversation with him than that.
"Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son." Dean Wormer
Leon was a machine in the Olympics! That was probably his peak (my opinion). It is not popular to even suggest that Muhammad Ali would even consider doing something shady. He has achieved athletic saint-hood - I'm cool with that.
Some suggest that perhaps ... maybe ... he - at the very least, chose to take Leon too lightly in their first bout. Maybe didn't train as hard ... maybe didn't TRY as hard in that first bout. This, in order to garner the historic status of being the first to regain the Heavyweight Championship THREE times. I don't know about all this - but Leon didn't fair that well as a professional afterward.
I have all the respect for Leon Spinks. But one of my least favorite memories was the pummeling he took from Larry Holmes. Round 3 - Leon was a pretty much out on his feet. Holmes looks to the referee and gestures that perhaps it is time to cancel the rest of this bout. Ref' signals to keep fighting, so Larry goes into his own version of "Wipeout" on Leon's head. Leon's corner - including brother Michael quickly throw in the rag. I don't think Leon was ever the same afterward.
boxing is among the shadiest of sports, but I agree w/you, outside of the Liston rematch Ali himself never fought dishonestly (Sonny took a dive imo)
that said I don’t feel Leon tried as hard in the rematch, but that’s a long-ago recollection
Yes in addition to Holmes, Leon took an awful beating in the Qawi fight too - one also recalls the summer 1979 TKO loss in the 1st round to Gerrie Coetzee
but yes, like the Spinks fight, the Holmes-Ali fight should’ve been stopped well b4 it was, it was obvious Ali had nothing & Holmes was holding back out of respect, in the later rounds
RIP Mr. Spinks