Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by MixedMartialLaw, Jan 2, 2022.
Of course Ali, like Leon, won the light heavyweight gold.
I think Ali's camp wanted an "easy" defence and they figured Spinks would be easy; the match was sold to the network and the public on the basis of Leon being an olympic gold medallist (which carried a lot of weight).
Tonto is right that Spinks was Ring magazine ranked number 9, but, if memory serves,The Ring magazine ratings were still regarded as suspicious/spurious due to the "United States Boxing Tournament" scandal which was promoted by Don King and was using Ring Magazine ratings to "sell" undeserving fighters as bona-fide contenders in order to sell the "tournament" to the network & the (gullible) public.
In addition to the above reason, fighting Spinks effectively bought Ali further time in avoiding a 4th fight with Norton, which Ali wanted absolutely zero part of.
As shot as Ali was, and as light as he took Spinks, a third Patterson fight could have been interesting. You know Floyd would have been in amazing shape, and we also know now that “forty is not a death sentence.” Patterson always took care of himself. Who knows, he quite possibly could have put in a strong effort.
The point is back then being an Olympic gold medalist was a very big deal and an easy sell especially to the American public.
Their second fight was close until Floyd got cut.
I don't see Floyd being able to pull it off he age and ring rust would have been a huge factor.
That 1976 US team with 5 gold medalists including Ray Leonard and the Spinks brothers, won against the best of the Eastern European Bloc and the Cubans is probably still regarded as the most celebrated and best US boxing team in US Olympic history.
I doubt we will ever see an American team as good as that one was. Every single one of them was off the charts good. I'm pretty biased towards Leon because I'm from St Louis but his gold medalist win and the way he destroyed that Cuban certainly helped him get that title shot against Ali. Leon was an absolute beast when he was sober and had his head on straight.
He was, and I think that would've come across more had he been facing people how own size, too.
Ali wanted an easy fight as he was slipping and Spinks had the name recogition having won a gold medal
People forget but Leon was very talented.
Boxed in the service.
If he had discipline he would have gone so much further. But he hated training and basically fought only because of the money.
Thier are stories about how in the unpaid ranks Leon would pretend to do road work by splashing water on his face. It got to the point that if memory serves me correct he at one point was in danger of getting kicked off the team.
Patterson definitely woulda rose in ATG rankings if he took that Ali fight and won, imagine being BOTH the youngest and oldest champion at the time.
Although Leon Spinks was very talented, this title defense would have delayed a fourth fight against Ken Norton for Muhammad Ali, who repeatedly said he was tired of fighting Norton. As it turned out as great as Ali was, he did not have to fight Ken again, he lost to Leon, and Spinks refused to fight the no.1 WBC contender, Ken Norton. By refusing to grant Norton a title match and choosing to fight a rematch with Ali, Spinks was stripped of the WBC title. The titles would remain fractured until Mike Tyson united the titles in 1987.