Michael Spinks

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Michael Spinks (born July 13, 1956 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a retired American boxer. Nicknamed Jinx, which spawned the nickname of his right hand: The Spinks Jinx, he is the brother of former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks, and uncle of Cory Spinks, a former welterweight champion and current IBF Light middleweight champion.

After compiling a 93-7 record as an amateur, Spinks won the middleweight gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics. As a professional, he was undefeated in his first 31 fights, beating such opponents as Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Marvin Johnson and Eddie Davis en route to becoming undisputed world light-heavyweight champion.

Following ten successful title defences, Spinks moved up to heavyweight and as underdog beat the long-reigning IBF heavyweight champion Larry Holmes; in doing so, Spinks became the first reigning light-heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight title. In his final fight, Spinks was knocked out by Mike Tyson, the only defeat of his professional career.

Spinks is an inductee of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.


Professional career

Spinks then turned professional with a win over Eddie Benson, knocked out in one round on April 17 of 1977 in Las Vegas. Spinks began with that, a 31 fight winning streak that would almost extend to the end of his career. After four more wins, Spinks finished '77 with the first fight that began a gradual ascent in opposition quality: an eight round decision over Gary Summerhays, a popular young boxer of the time.

In 1978, Spinks won two fights, including an eight round decision over former world Middleweight title challenger Tom Bethea, in the same undercard where his brother Leon dethroned Ali as world Heavyweight champion in Las Vegas.

1979 saw Spinks get less than three minutes of boxing action inside a ring, with his only fight ending in a first round knockout of Marc Hans, but in 1980, Spinks took his ascent towards the top to another level, when he beat future world Super Middleweight champion Murray Sutherland, David Conteh and fringe contenders Ramon Ronquillo and Alvaro Yaqui Lopez (who challenged for a world title four times). Of his five wins that year, three came by knockout, Sutherland and Johnny Wilburn being the only ones who lasted the distance.

By 1981, Spinks was already a top ranked contender, and after beating former and future world Light Heavyweight champion Marvin Johnson by a knockout in four rounds, the WBA made Spinks their number one challenger, and so, on July 18 of that year, he met WBA's Light Heavyweight champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, once again in Las Vegas. Spinks dropped Mustafa Muhammad in round 12 and went on to become world Light Heavyweight champion with a 15 round decision win. He defended the title once in '81, beating Vonzell Johnson by a knockout in seven.

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