Boxing legend Leon Spinks dies at 67 after battling cancer

Leon Spinks won light heavyweight gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics before upsetting Muhammad Ali to become heavyweight champion in 1978. 

By Sven Busch ·

Boxing legend Leon Spinks has died at the age of 67.

Spinks won light heavyweight gold at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal before stunning the boxing world in 1978 by dethroning Muhammad Ali in only his eighth fight as a pro to become heavyweight champion.

He passed away Friday night, according to a release from a public relations firm after fighting against prostate and other cancers.

Spinks was one of five gold medallists on the 1976 U.S. Olympic boxing team, surprising Cuban Sixto Soria in the final. His brother Michael and 'Sugar' Ray Leonard were also members of that memorable squad. Michael clinched middleweight gold in Montreal while Sugar Ray took home the welterweight title.

Spinks' monumental win against Ali by split decision is still considered one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. Spinks was unranked at the time.

Ali got the better of him winning the rematch by decision seven months later in front of record indoor boxing crowd of 72,000 fans.

Spinks retired with a professional record of 26-17-3 (14 KOs.) and was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2017.