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    Spinks stuns the boxing world with a split-decision upset victory!

    1978 Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks Judges' Scorecards & Official Scoring Sheet. It was just the eighth professional bout of the underdog contender, who had claimed 1976 Montreal Olympics Gold in the same Light Heavyweight division that Ali had conquered in Rome sixteen years earlier. The Champion, by contrast, was making his eleventh title defense against the novice professional, and few gave Spinks any chance in solving the cagey veteran, who mocked the challenger as "The Beaver" and "The Vampire" for his famous gap-toothed grin. Though Ali had been dethroned once before, that title was not lost in combat, but rather for his opposition to it as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War draft.

    As the fight opened, Ali showcased his patented shuffle and jab style but quickly retreated into a replica of the "rope a dope" strategy that had been the key to victory in the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" four years earlier. Spinks' assault may have been only marginally effective in inflicting damage, but Ali was doing almost nothing offensively, and the judges' scorecards bear this out. After five rounds, judge Art Lurie had awarded two to Ali, Harold Buck only one. Lou Tabat had Spinks pitching a shutout.

    The middle rounds saw the Champion awaken from his offensive slumber, working his famous jab to outpoint the young challenger, and it appeared that the tide had shifted to the prohibitive favorite for good. But as the fight entered the Championship rounds, the two decades of top-level amateur and professional mileage on Ali began to show, with Spinks claiming the thirteenth, fourteen and fifteenth on each judge's card. As the results were read, both Buck and Tabat had Spinks by three or more rounds. Lurie had Ali by a point, but the split decision went to the challenger, setting the stage for a rematch and what would prove to be Ali's final professional victory seven months later to become a three-time Heavyweight Champion.

    Presented here is the thoroughly comprehensive assembly of documents from the scoring table at Las Vegas' HIlton Hotel on February 15, 1978. Each of the individual score cards--pink, white and blue--from all three judges appear, all filled out and initialed by the men who monitored the historic upset at ringside. Each card measures 3x5" in size, with 9/10 or better ink throughout. Finally, we have the Nevada State Athletic Commission full-sized score sheet that compiles the tally (7.5x12"). All pieces are free of any condition issues beyond typical handling wear.

    More information about Muhammad Ali.

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    31st-1st Thursday-Friday
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