Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali II

Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali II, was a professional boxing match contested on September 15, 1978, in New Orleans for the WBA and The Ring heavyweight championships.

Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali II
DateSeptember 15, 1978
VenueSuperdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Title(s) on the lineWBA and The Ring heavyweight titles
Tale of the tape
Boxer United States Leon Spinks United States Muhammad Ali
Nickname Neon The Greatest
Hometown St. Louis, Missouri Louisville, Kentucky
Purse $3,750,000 $3,250,000
Pre-fight record 7–0–1 (5 KO) 55–3 (37 KO)
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm) 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 201 lb (91 kg) 221 lb (100 kg)
Style Orthodox Orthodox
Recognition WBA and The Ring heavyweight champion Two-time undisputed heavyweight champion
Ali won by 15th round unanimous decision.

Background edit

After his shock win over Muhammad Ali to become Heavyweight champion, Leon Spinks was stripped of the WBC belt for not facing its number one ranked contender Ken Norton; instead he agreed to a rematch with Ali. Ali entered the rematch as a 2½ to 1 favorite. The fight was held at the Louisiana Superdome, with ringside seats costing $200 (equivalent to $934 in 2023)[1]. The card contained three other world title fights: WBA Bantamweight Champion Jorge Luján vs. future WBC champion Alberto Davila; WBC Featherweight Champion Danny Lopez vs. Juan Malvarez; and WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Víctor Galíndez vs. Mike Rossman.[2]

ABC paid $5.3 million ($22.24 million in 2021 dollars) for the rights to televise the fight live in the United States. The broadcast was blacked out in the entire state of Louisiana and markets within 200 miles of the Superdome, which included Jackson, Mississippi, Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.[3][4]

Fight edit

Pat Putnam of Sports Illustrated wrote:

The plan was simple. Ali would jab, jab, throw a right and grab. When Spinks came flailing in, Ali would hook his left hand around the back of Spinks' head and pull him into an embrace, effectively limiting Spinks to one or two punches or pulling him off balance. And Ali would dance, baby, dance. He would tie up Spinks and then dance away from him on the break, circling to the right, circling to the left. And the fight went as plotted.

Referee Lucien Joubert took the fifth round away from Ali for holding. The Associated Press scored the fight 12–3 for Ali, while the three judges had the bout 11–4, 10–4–1 and 10–4–1 all in favor of Ali giving him a unanimous decision win.

Attendance and viewership edit

The Superdome attendance was 63,352, which, at the time, was the largest indoor attendance ever for a boxing match. Ticket sales of $4,806,675 ($20.168 million in 2021 dollars) was the highest live gate for a sporting event at the time.[3][5] The average ticket price was $75.87 ($318.34 in 2021 dollars).

An estimated audience of 90 million viewers watched the main event in the United States, with 46.7% of TV sets in the nation tuned in—a record for the time.[6][7][3] The fight was estimated to have been watched by a record 2 billion viewers worldwide.[8][9][10]

Aftermath edit

Ali regained the WBA heavyweight title and avenged his split decision loss to Spinks from seven months prior. He also became the first man to win the World Heavyweight Championship three times.

In June 1979, Ali sent an official letter of retirement to the WBA. Promoter Bob Arum said he paid Ali $300,000 to announce his retirement because Ali's reluctance had delayed the scheduling of a fight between John Tate and Gerrie Coetzee for the vacant WBA title. "We knew Muhammad Ali was going to retire", Arum said, "but as long as he delayed, I couldn't make definite plans." However, in October 1980 Ali returned to face WBC Champion Larry Holmes but was stopped by TKO in the 10th round. He then retired for good after a lackluster loss to Trevor Berbick in December 1981, the final fight of Ali's career.[11][12][13][14][15][16]

References edit

  1. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  2. ^ "Friday 15, September 1978". BoxRec. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali (2nd_meeting)". Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  4. ^ "Inflation Calculator | Find US Dollar's Value from 1913-2021". www.usinflationcalculator.com. 2021-09-14. Retrieved 2021-09-28.
  5. ^ Written at New Orleans. "Ali-Spinks, $4.8-Mil; Deadhead Tix, 1,838; Still Rates Biggest". Variety. New York. September 27, 1978. p. 1.
  6. ^ "ABC Captures Huge First Week Ratings". The Indianapolis Star. September 20, 1978.
  7. ^ "Fight Viewers Second Only To TV's 'Roots' Series". Jet. Vol. 55, no. 3. Johnson Publishing Company. October 5, 1978. p. 55.
  8. ^ Riccella, Christopher (1991). Muhammad Ali. Holloway House Publishing. p. 178. ISBN 9780870675744.
  9. ^ "Ali maps plans to retire with cameras running". Detroit Free Press. February 1, 1979.
  10. ^ "Leon Spinks, who beat Muhammad Ali in historic upset in 1978, dies at 67". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 29, 2022.
  11. ^ "Read Peter Finney's column on Ali vs. Spinks 2 at the Superdome in 1978". The Times-Picayune. 4 June 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  12. ^ Felix Dennis; Don Atyeo (2003). Muhammad Ali: The Glory Years. miramax books. pp. 254–258.
  13. ^ Hugh McIlvanney (1982). McIlvanney on Boxing. Beaufort books. pp. 163–71.
  14. ^ Ferdie Pacheco (1992). Muhammad Ali: A View from the Corner. Birch Lane Press. pp. 153–58.
  15. ^ Thomas Hauser (1991). Muhammad Ali:His Life and Times. Simon & Schuster. pp. 350–60. ISBN 9780671688929.
  16. ^ "One more time to the top". Sports Illustrated. 25 September 1978. Retrieved 7 October 2016.