Forty-four years ago, Leon Spinks became the most inexperienced boxer to win a heavyweight championship.
Spinks, a 10-to-1 underdog, defeated Muhammad Ali by split decision at the Las Vegas Hilton, stopping Ali’s 11 successful title defense runs. Spinks became the new donner of the WBC and WBA heavyweight titles.
“I’m the latest, but he’s the greatest,” Spinks said at the time.
Spinks and Ali would meet exactly seven months later, on September 15, where Ali regained the titles via unanimous decision.
Their first meeting was named Fight of the Year in 1978 by The Ring. Spins landed 419 punches, which was more than any fighter who faced Ali.