Former heavyweight champion, Olympic gold medalist Leon Spinks hospitalized in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 16:  Former boxer Leon Spinks attends his birthday celebration at the Chocolate Lounge at Sugar Factory American Brasserie at the Fashion Show Mall on August 16, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
Former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks, shown in August at his 65th birthday party, is hospitalized in Las Vegas and his wife, Brenda, has asked for prayers. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

Leon Spinks, who along with his brother won an Olympic gold medal for the U.S. as part of the legendary U.S. Olympic boxing team and then defeated Muhammad Ali in just his eighth pro fight to become heavyweight champion, is hospitalized in Las Vegas and his wife took to social media to ask for prayers.

Brenda Glur Spinks posted on Facebook that her husband has endured numerous medical issues and asked for fans to pray for him.

She did not specify his medical issues.

Leon was part of the loaded 1976 U.S. Olympic boxing team that produced five golds and a silver. He won the gold medal bout by knocking out Cuban Sixto Soria in the third round. His younger brother, Michael, earlier had won the middleweight gold medal by defeating Rufat Riskiyev of the Soviet Union.

Just under 18 months after winning gold in Montreal, Spinks stunned the world by outworking the legendary Ali and winning the heavyweight title. Spinks entered that bout with a 6-0-1 record and was a massive underdog. Ali, though, was near the end of his legendary career and didn’t come into the fight in great shape.

An ex-Marine, Spinks went hard for 15 rounds and defeated Ali to become the champion. The rematch seven months later in New Orleans was broadcast by ABC in primetime and drew an audience in excess of 90 million.

His son, Cory Spinks, was the undisputed welterweight champion briefly and was a two-time junior middleweight champion.

Leon Spinks finished his boxing career with a 26-17-3 record and was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2017.

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