Case 6

Mercer Davis Breland Spinks Spinks

Gold Medal Boxing Champs

mark breland  (1963  -          )
howard davis  (1956  -  2015)  
ray mercer    (1961 -           )
leon spinks   (1953  -          )
michael spinks  (1956 -        )


All these boxers won gold medals at the Olympics, but had other claims to fame.  Mark Breland won 5 Golden Glove titles.   Ray Mercer won his gold medal and became a  professional in boxer, kick boxer and mixed martial artist.  When Howard Davis won the gold medal in 1976, he also won the Val Barker Trophy, a special Olympic award for the most outstanding boxer of all the weight classes. 


Leon and Michael Spinks were brothers and inherited their interest in boxing from their father.  Leon was probably most famous for becoming heavyweight champ in 1978 by beating Muhammad Ali.  Though the match was undisputed via a split decision, Spinks was stripped of the title by refusing to defend it against Ken Norton, and instead agreeing to a return bout against Ali.


Michael Spinks competed from 1977 to 1988 and was two-weight world champion.  Spinks went undefeated in his first 31 professional fights,  en route to becoming the undisputed light heavyweight champion. Following ten successful title defenses, Spinks moved up to heavyweight, and as an underdog defeated long-reigning heavyweight champion Larry Holmes.  Spinks became the first reigning light heavyweight world champion to win the heavyweight title.  In his final fight (1988), Spinks was knocked out by Mike Tyson in 91 seconds, the only defeat of his professional career.