American boxer Leon Spinks died on Friday evening. He was 67 years old, reports The New York Times. Spinks took his biggest win in 1978 when he defeated then world heavyweight champion Mohammad Ali.
More than a year ago, his family announced that Spinks had been hospitalized for metastatic prostate cancer. He died on Friday in the presence of some friends and relatives because of the corona measures, reports the news agency Reuters.
“Leon took a resilient fight against a variety of diseases. He never lost his signature smile,” a family spokesperson said. Reuters. “He didn’t throw in the towel.”
Spinks won Olympic gold in the light-heavyweight class in 1976. After only seven professional matches, he took on Ali on February 15 and won on points. Seven months later, they faced each other again and Ali recaptured the title. Spinks tried again in 1981 and 1986 to win the world title, but both times pulled the short straw against Larry Holmes and Dwight Muhammad Qawi respectively. His boxing career was largely in decline by then, and he had built up a reputation for partying during his training.
His last fight was in 1995. He then lost on points against Fred Houpe. Spinks was 42 years old at the time, his opponent 45. Houpe had not boxed a match for seven years.