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International Boxing Hall of Fame   1 Hall of Fame Drive   Canastota, NY 13032  P: 315.697.7095 F: 315.697.5356

CANASTOTA, NY – FEBRUARY 7, 2021 - The International Boxing Hall of Fame joins the worldwide boxing community in mourning the loss of 1976 Olympic gold medalist and former heavyweight champion of the world Leon Spinks, who passed away Friday at the age of 67 after a lengthy battle with cancer.  

​“Leon Spinks was one of boxing’s most colorful personalities and a real fan favorite,” said Hall director Ed Brophy. “From Olympic gold to the top of the heavyweight division, he provided fight fans with many memorable moments over the course of his career. We were saddened to learn the news of his passing and we offer our condolences to the entire Spinks family.”

Spinks captured light heavyweight gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. He turned professional in 1977 and, on February 15, 1978, in only his 8th pro bout, defeated Muhammad Ali for the world heavyweight championship. The bout was deemed “Fight of the Year” and “Upset of the Year.” Known as “Neon Leon,” during his career Spinks scored wins over Alfredo Evangelista, Bernardo Mercado, Jesse Burnett and drew with Eddie Lopez and Scott LeDoux

Spinks was a frequent visitor to Canastota for the annual Hall of Fame Weekend.

“Whenever he came to the Hall, he was so great with fans, always willing to take time for a photo or autograph request and reflect on his career,” said Brophy.


Spinks poses by his fist impression on display in the Hall of Fame.
Leon and Michael Spinks are the only brothers to win both Olympic gold medals and the world heavyweight championship.
1976 Olympic team on their 30th Anniversary reunion in Canastota (back row l to r) Spinks, Howard Davis Jr., Chuck Walker, Sugar Ray Leonard. Front row (l to r) Leo Randolph, Louis Curtis, Davey Armstrong & Charles Mooney. The team also reunited in 2016 for their 40th anniversary.
Leon and his wife Brenda enjoy one of their many visits to the Hall of Fame.
Spinks points to his fight-worn boxing robe on display in Canastota.
Spinks sings a tune at Graziano's restaurant in Canastota during the 1999 Hall of Fame Weekend
Spinks and Arizona Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald meet up in Canastota during the 2018 Hall of Fame Weekend.
Spinks raises a fist next to the Muhammad Ali exhibit.
Spinks poses by the Hall of Fame logo.
Spinks enjoying time in Canastota.
Spinks and Tommy "The Duke" Morrison square off in Canastota in 2010.
Spinks and "Buddy" McGirt enjoy a playful moment during the 2012 Hall of Fame Weekend
Heavyweight champions Michael Moorer and Spinks meet up in Canastota.
Spinks in Canastota for the 2012 Hall of Fame Weekend.
Michael Spinks, "Bonecrusher" Smith and Leon Spinks gather for a photo at 2013 Hall of Fame Weekend.
1976 US Olympic Boxing Team reunites in Canastota for 40th Anniversary in 2016  (l to r) Spinks, Michael Spinks, Chuck Walker, Sugar Ray Leonard, Charles Mooney, Leo Randolph and Louis Curtis.
John H. Stracey, Micky Ward, Leon Spinks and Dicky Eklund during the 2017 Hall of Fame Weekend.
Spinks celebrating the 30th anniversary reunion of the 1976 Olympic team at the 2006 Hall of Fame Weekend.
Click on thumbnail to view images of Spinks