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Leon Spinks

Full name: Leonard "Leon" Spinks, Jr.
Nickname(s): Neon Leon
Gender: Male
Height: 6-0 (183 cm)
Weight: 179 lbs (81 kg)
Born: July 11, 1953 in St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Country: USA United States
Sport: Boxing

Related Olympians: Brother of Michael Spinks.

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)


By the 1976 Olympics, Leon Spinks had already had 135 amateur bouts, but few would call him an accomplished boxer. Spinks was a brawler from the word go. He had won the 1975 AAU title and lost in the finals of the 1975 Pan American Games. At the Montreal Olympics he seemed awkward in comparison to the polished Europeans and Cubans, but he won all his bouts with ease, knocking out the Cuban world champion, [Sixto Soria], in the finals. Spinks turned pro as soon as he returned to the United States. He put on a few pounds and began fighting as a heavyweight. On 15 February 1978, after only seven pro fights, he took on [Muhammad Ali] for the heavyweight title, and upset him. In September of 1978, Ali again fought Spinks and regained the title, but in a close, controversial decision. Spinks' reign as heavyweight champion was the shortest in history – 212 days. Leon Spinks was small for a heavyweight. In the late 70s a new class was formed for fighters like him – the cruiserweight division. Leon Spinks continued to box professionally and made an attempt to win the cruiserweight championship, but never matched his early professional success. He fought until 1995, but was a punching bag later in his career, ending it with a record of 26 wins, 17 losses, and 3 draws.

Spinks suffered financial troubles after his retirement and, after a brief spell as a professional wrestler, lived in a shelter for the homeless. He later became a janitor at a YMCA in Columbus, Nebraska where he was reported as suffering from dementia. His son, Cory Spinks, followed the family boxing tradition and has held world professional titles in both the welterweight and light-middleweight divisions.


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1976 Summer 23 Montréal Boxing Men's Light-Heavyweight United States USA 1 Gold

Men's Light-Heavyweight

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result MR R T JF J1S J2S J3S J4S J5S TJP
1976 Summer 23 Montréal Boxing United States USA Final Round Match 1/2 1 1976-07-31 Spinks (USA) , Soria (CUB) referee stops contest 3 1:09
1976 Summer 23 Montréal Boxing United States USA Semi-Finals Match #2 1 1976-07-29 Spinks (USA) , Gortat (POL) decision 5 60 60 60 60 60 300
1976 Summer 23 Montréal Boxing United States USA Quarter-Finals Match #4 1 1976-07-28 Spinks (USA) , Sachse (GDR) decision 5 60 60 60 60 60 300
1976 Summer 23 Montréal Boxing United States USA Round Two Match #7 1 1976-07-26 Spinks (USA) , Klimanov (URS) decision 5 60 60 60 60 60 300
1976 Summer 23 Montréal Boxing United States USA Round One Match #13 1 1976-07-19 Spinks (USA) , Fatihi (MAR) knock-out 1 3:00
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