Mixed Martial Arts’ stranglehold (pun intended) on today’s combat sports world makes it easy to forget how larger-than-life boxing’s personalities were in the 1980s and 90s.
It also makes it easy to forget the first two brothers to each hold heavyweight titles weren’t Russia’s Klitchko brothers, but the St. Louis-born Leon and Michael Spinks. Today’s go-to clip features the latter and younger Spinks brother positively full of post-fight endorphins after winning a 15-round decision over Larry Holmes.
Spinks’ victory added the IBF and lineal heavyweight titles and to his already-acquired WBC light heavyweight gold, thus becoming the first two-weight world champion. Most picked Holmes to take their 1985 bout, which may explain why Spinks is in such high spirits:
We’re also willing to bet punch-drunkeness had something to do with Spinks’ joviality here, as anyone who went 15 with Larry Holmes likely had their synapses stop firing at some point. Nonetheless, Spinks went on to beat Holmes in their 1986 rematch in another 15-round decision.
He’d go on to knock Gerry Cooney out in a 1987 bout to move his record to 31-0, but was stripped of his IBF title due to his fighting Cooney instead of top IBF contender Tony Tucker. However, he still help the lineal championship.
Boxing aficionados know what happened next, as Mike Tyson knocked Spinks out in round 1 of their 1988 bout to unify heavyweight championships. The Tyson fight would be Spinks’ last, retiring with a 31-1 record.
And who can really fault the guy for being KO’d by the 10-years-younger “Iron” Mike? We sure don’t. It was a pretty nice little career for arguably the best of many St. Louis-bred prize fighters.