On This Day: Leon Spinks shocks Muhammad Ali and the world

THE unheralded kid from the St Louis ghetto shocked the boxing world as Leon Spinks battled his way to a 15 rounds split decision victory over Muhammad Ali to become the new heavyweight champion of the world on February 15, 1978.

A crowd of 5,300 at the Las Vegas Hilton Sports Pavilion, and millions watching TV pictures throughout the world, saw a gruelling, exciting fight with the 24-year-old Spinks proving too young, too determined and too insistent for the 36-year-old champion.

Ali, his face puffed and swollen, cut inside the mouth, looked on the verge of exhaustion at the finish of the fight. But he traded punches with the younger man in a last round of unforgettable excitement and bravery.

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