Leon Spinks, who won Olympic gold and then shocked the boxing world by beating Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight title in only his eighth pro fight, has died. He was 67.
Spinks won the light heavyweight division at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, beating Sixto Soria of Cuba in an upset to become one of five U.S. fighters to win gold. His brother, Michael, who would later become heavyweight champion himself, won the middleweight gold, and Sugar Ray Leonard took the welterweight title.
On Feb. 15, 1978, in Las Vegas Spinks won a 15 round split decision to become the heavyweight champion, becoming the only fighter to take a title from Ali in the ring.
Spinks, who lived his later years in Las Vegas, died Friday night, according to a release from a public relations firm. He had been battling prostate and other cancers.
His wife, Brenda Glur Spinks, and a few close friends and other family members were by his side when he passed away.