Spinks vs Ali in 1978.
Spinks vs Ali in 1978.

Boxing legend ‘fighting for his life’

The wife of former world heavyweight boxing champion Leon Spinks has asked for prayers for her husband amid a media report that he is in a Las Vegas hospital in a serious condition.

"It's been a tough year for us," Brenda Spinks wrote in a Facebook post. "Leon has endured a lot of medical problems.

"Reaching out to ask you to kindly send some prayers out for my beautiful husband Leon.

"So that he may overcome the obstacles that have crossed his path.

"We love you all and appreciate your support."

Celebrity website TMZ says Spinks is "fighting for his life" with an undisclosed condition.

The 66-year-old will forever be known for beating Muhammad Ali in one of boxing's greatest upsets in their 1978 world heavyweight title fight.

Missouri-born Spinks had previously won gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. He has endured several health problems in recent years, and in 2014 underwent abdominal surgery.

Spinks fought 46 times throughout a 18-year professional career which saw him retire with a 26-17-3 record.

By far his biggest win came against Ali who he defeated via split decision to claim the WBC and WBA heavyweight titles in February, 1978.

Ali reclaimed his WBA title back with a unanimous decision victory over Spinks in September, 1978 and Spinks then lost his WBC title to Larry Holmes in June, 1981.

Spinks after shocking the world.
Spinks after shocking the world.

He was induced into Boxing's Hall of Fame in 2017 but has endured health problems over recent years.

In 2014 Spinks was hospitalised and suffered major damage to his intestines caused by a piece of bone from a chicken wing.

After several surgeries he then spent a number of weeks at a rehabilitation centre.

He is also a US Marine veteran, having served with them between 1973 and 1976.